January with Bettina


Meal Planning with Bettina
Shortest month of the series!

Simpler meals and wiser buying,——
More of planning,—less of hurry,——
More of smiling,—less of sighing,——
More of fun, and less of worry,
In this New Year’s Resolution,
Trouble finds a swift solution.



“I  DO love to cook!” exclaimed Alice enthusiastically.

“And we have had such delicious meals since we began to keep house, if I do say it! But oh, the bills, the bills! Bettina, isn’t it terrible? But you can’t get any meal at all without paying for it, can you? I really do dread having Harry get the first month’s grocery bill, though.”

“You ought not to have to say that, Alice,” said Bettina, laughing nevertheless. “Why don’t you have an allowance, and pay the grocery bill yourself?”

“Because I know I could never manage to pay it,” said Alice, making a little face. “I do love to have perfect little meals and cooking is such fun, but you just can’t have things right without having them expensive; I’ve found that out. Last night we had a simple enough dinner—a very good steak with French fried potatoes and creamed asparagus on toast. Then a fruit salad with mayonnaise and steamed suet pudding and coffee. Harry said everything was perfect, but——”

“I’m sure it was, Alice. You are so clever at everything you do. But wasn’t that expensive for just a home dinner for two? Steak and creamed asparagus! And mayonnaise is so expensive! Then think of the gas you use, too!”

“I didn’t think of the gas,” said Alice ruefully. “I thought of Harry’s likes, and of variety, and of a meal that balanced well. But not much about economy. I’ll have to consult you, Bettina. I’ll tell you: Couldn’t I plan my menus ahead for a week, and bring them over to you to criticise? That would be fun, and I’m sure you could teach me a great deal.”

“I’d love to have you, Alice,” smiled Bettina.

For luncheon Bettina served: Chicken Loaf, Creamed Potatoes, Baking Powder Biscuits, Cranberry Jelly, Caramel Custard, Whipped Cream, Coffee



“SEE, Ruth, it’s snowing harder—a perfect blizzard. That means that you’ll have to stay to dinner.”

“I’m only too glad to find an excuse, Bettina, but you must remember that I’ll have to get back some time, and I suppose that now is best.”

“Well, Bob will take you after dinner. See, I’ve put on a place for you.”

“That’s fine, Bettina, and I suppose I may as well stay. I’ve been anxious to ask you what you were putting in the oven just as I came in.”

“A dish of tomatoes, cheese and rice baked together; Bob is fond of it. You know I almost always plan to have two or more oven dishes if I am using the oven at all, and tonight I was making baked veal steak.”

“I learned something new yesterday, Bettina, that I have been anxious to tell you. Mother was preparing cabbage for cold slaw (she always chops it, you know), and it suddenly occurred to her that she might easily use the large meat grinder. So she did, and the slaw was delicious. I would have supposed that the juice would be pressed out in the grinding, but it wasn’t.”

“I must remember that. I suppose that other people may have thought of it, but I never have, and I’m glad to know that it works so well.”

“I believe I hear Bob, Bettina. He must be cold, for it is snowing and blowing harder every minute.”

“Well, I’m glad I started the fire in the fireplace. There’s nothing like an open fire.”

For dinner that night Bettina served: Baked Veal Steak, Baked Tomato, Cheese and Rice, Bread,  Butter, Tapioca and Date Pudding, Cream, Coffee

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



“I   RAN over this morning,” said Alice to Bettina, “to get your candy recipes. That was such delicious Christmas candy that you gave Harry! Wasn’t it a great deal of work to make so much at a time? Perhaps I can’t manage it, but I’d like to make a box of it for Harry’s brother; it will be his birthday in a few days.”

“It is very easy to make candy for Christmas boxes,” said Bettina. “That is, it is no harder to make a large quantity than to fill one box. Bob helped me one evening, and we made four kinds at once. I had already stuffed some dates and made some candied orange peel, so you see when the candy was made, it was fun to fill the boxes with a variety of things. I always save boxes throughout the year for Christmas candy, and then I fill them all at once. Of course, until this year I didn’t have Bob to help me; he enjoys it, you know, and two people can make it so much more quickly than one.”

“Next year,” said Alice, “I think I shall make Christmas candy—a quantity of it, so that I can put a box of it in every family box that I send. Meanwhile, I’ll practise and experiment, and perhaps I can improve on the good old recipes, or think of clever ways of arranging and wrapping. Now will you let me write down some of your best recipes? I’ll try them for Harry’s brother.”

The candies that Bettina made were: Chocolate Fudge, White Fudge, Peanut Brittle, Peanut Fondant



“AND so, Bettina,” said Ruth, sitting down on the high stool in Bettina’s neat little kitchen, “Fred says we will begin the house early in the spring—as early as possible—and be married in May or June.”

“What perfectly splendid news!” said Bettina. “I’m just as glad as I can be!”

“We’ve waited so long,” said Ruth, wistfully. “Of course, if it hadn’t been for the war—it did interfere so with business, you know—we would have been married last spring.”

“I know,” said Bettina, sympathetically, “but you’ll be all the happier because you have waited.”

“I’ll want you to help me a great deal with my plans,” said Ruth. “I’ve had time to do lots of sewing, of course, but I haven’t thought anything about the wedding except that it will be a quiet one. And I want to ask you so much about house furnishings—curtains, and all that.”

“I’d love to help!” cried Bettina with enthusiasm. “There isn’t anything that is such fun. Oh, Ruth!”

“Gracious me! What?” cried Ruth, for Bettina had jumped up suddenly.

“Poor Ruth,” laughed Bettina, “I didn’t mean to frighten you. I forgot my cake, that was all, and I was afraid it had burned. But it hasn’t. A minute longer though—you know a chocolate cake does burn so easily. But it’s all right. However, you must admit that I did pretty well not to burn it while I was listening to wedding plans!”

That night Bettina served for dinner: Swiss Steak, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Creamed Cauliflower, Bread, Butter, Chocolate Nougat Cake, Coffee

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



“OH, Bettina, what a perfectly charming table!” exclaimed Alice, while her guest from New York, in whose honor Bettina was giving the little luncheon, declared that she had never seen a prettier sight.

“But it’s your very own Christmas gift to me that makes it so,” declared Bettina, with flushed cheeks. For Alice’s deft fingers had fashioned the rose nut cups (now holding candied orange peel), and the rose buds in the sunset shades in the center of the table. “They are almost more real than real ones! I can scarcely believe that they are made of crêpe paper.”

The square luncheon cloth on the round table was of linen, decorated with a cross-stitch design in the same sunset shades, so that the table was all in pink and white. A French basket enameled in ivory color held the rose buds, and another Christmas gift to Bettina was the flat ivory basket filled with light rolls. The luncheon napkins matched the luncheon cloth, as the guests noted, and “The menu matches everything else!” exclaimed Alice.

“I’m glad you like it,” said Bettina. “I have eaten chicken a la king often at hotels and restaurants, but until recently it never occurred to me to make it myself. And it isn’t difficult to make either.”

“You must give me the recipe,” said Alice. For luncheon Bettina served: Chicken a la King, Toast, Light Rolls, Butter, Bettina Salad, Salad Dressing, Cheese Wafers, Strawberry Sherbet, Hikory Nut Cake, Coffee, Candied Orange Peel



“SHALL I open this jar of grapefruit marmalade?” asked Charlotte, who was helping Bettina to prepare dinner.

“Yes, Charlotte, if you will.”

“How nice it is, Bettina! How long do you cook it before you add the sugar?”

“Well, that depends altogether on the fruit. Sometimes the rind is so much tougher than at other times. You cook it until it’s very tender, then add the sugar and cook until it jells.”

“There’s another thing I’d like to ask you, Bettina. How on earth do you cut the fruit in thin slices? Isn’t it very difficult to do?”

“Not with a sharp knife. I place the fruit on a hardwood board, and then if my knife is as sharp as it ought to be, it isn’t at all difficult to cut it thin.”

“Well, perhaps I haven’t had a sharp enough knife. Oh, Bettina, what delicious looking cake! Is it fruit cake?”

“It’s called date loaf cake. It has nuts in it, too, but no butter. I always bake it in a loaf cake pan prepared with waxed paper. Bob is very fond of it. I think it’s very good served with afternoon tea.”

“I should think it might be.”

“Tonight, though, I am serving just sliced oranges with it.”

“That will be a delicious dessert, I think. Listen! Is that Bob and Frank coming in?”

For dinner that night they had: Roast Beef, Browned Potatoes, Gravy, Bettina’s Jelly, Pickles, Bread, Grapefruit Marmalade, Date Loaf Cake, Sliced Oranges, Coffee


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