The Final Chapters: MAY with Bettina


Meal Planning with Bettina

Scrub and polish,—sweep and clean,——
Fling your windows wide!
See, the trees are clad in green!
Coax the spring inside!
Home, be shining fair to-day
For the guest whose name is May!


[Note: Spelling is original to book, and pictures come from a truncated book, so chapter numbers do not align]


“GOODNESS gracious, Ruth!” said Bettina. “Surely it can’t be half-past five already!”

“Yes, it is, Bettina. Exactly that!” said Ruth, glancing at her tiny wrist watch. “But Bob won’t be home till six, will he?”

“No, but I want to have dinner ready when he arrives. You see, as I told you before, I simply shouldn’t have gone to Mary’s this afternoon. My curtains are down and my rugs are up, and my house isn’t an attractive place for a man to come home to, to say the least. And then to come straight from a party and give Bob a pick-up lunch instead of a full meal, will be——”

“The last straw? What had you planned for lunch?”

“Well, I have some soup all made, ready to reheat. Then I think I’ll have banana salad, tea, and hot baking-powder biscuits.”

“De-licious!” said Ruth, with a Teddy-fied grin. “I believe I’ll invite myself to stay!”

“Good! You can make the salad while I’m mixing the biscuits. I also have some chocolate cookies, and I’ll open a jar of canned peaches——”

“And I’ll be so bright and scintillating that old Bobbie won’t even miss the curtains and the rugs!”

That night Bettina served: Bettina Soup, Oyster Crackers, Banana Salad, Hot Biscuits,
Canned Peaches, Chocolate Cookies, Tea



“I MUST hurry home to get dinner,” said Mrs. Dixon. “See, Bettina, I’ve been to the market! Isn’t this a fine big cantaloupe? I have two more just like it. Frank is very fond of them, but——” she added ruefully, “I like them cold, of course, and after I’ve fixed them and had them in the refrigerator a while, everything in it—milk, butter and eggs—has the cantaloupe taste!”

“I’ll tell you how you can prevent that, Charlotte. Of course they must be very cold when served, but I never prepare them till just before the meal. I put them in the ice box whole, in a paper sack, taking care that the mouth of the sack is closed. They become very cold that way, and at the same time can’t affect the other food.”

“I’m so glad you told me that, Bettina. I’ve learned a great many things from you, haven’t I? Oh, yes, another thing puzzles me. I like chipped ice served in and with the cantaloupe, and I don’t own any tool for preparing the ice. I do fix it somehow, of course, but I’ve wondered how other people manage.”

“Well, there are regular ice shavers, you know; but I haven’t one, either. I keep a salt sack that I use for that purpose whenever I need just a little chipped ice. It isn’t hard to break off a piece small enough to go in a salt sack; in fact, you usually have one in your ice box already. I put it in the sack and break it fine with the flat side of a small hatchet.”

“Well, I’ve learned something more, and I’ll use the knowledge tomorrow evening. I must be going now. How lovely those asters are on your dinner table! They seem to prophesy an especially good meal! Do tell me what you are going to have! I never can think of a variety—simple meat dishes are my bugbear.”

“We have veal chops for tonight—just plain veal chops and boiled new potatoes and carrots with Bechamel sauce.”

“Gracious me! Here comes Bob. I must hurry along or Frank will be home before I am.”

Bettina’s dinner that evening was made up of: Veal Chops, New Potatoes, Carrots, Bechamel Sauce, Bread, Butter, Peaches, Custard Sauce

Another advertisement at the back of the book (I think it should read “Not as good as Bettina’s“)



“RUTH has had some of the loveliest engagement presents,” said Bettina to Bob across the dinner table. “And some that are so practical and sensible!”

“Did you see her this afternoon?”

“Yes, and we walked over to the new house. She has had Fred put up a shelf in the kitchen for her cook-books and recipe card box, and she finds that she really has quite a library! And the various engagement gifts are all put away. In fact the bungalow is nearly ready for use. I’ve told Ruth that she might write a magazine article on ‘Engagement Presents’ using her own for illustrations.”

“What does she have?”

“Well, a dear old Aunt of Bob’s presented her with some wonderful kitchen scales—an aid to economy. Then it seems to me that every friend who has some favorite kitchen device has given one to her—she has egg-beaters, waffle-irons, cream-whippers, silver-polishers, cases for linen and silver—oh, everything you can think of!”

“What did you give her?”

“The cards and card box for her indexed recipes. I included many of my own recipes, you know. That is to be my own particular engagement gift to all my friends.”

That night Bettina served: Salmon Loaf, Salmon Sauce, Baked Potatoes, Bread, Butter, Marble Pudding, Whipped Cream, Iced Tea

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



“BROILED steak and French fried potatoes! Whew!” said Bob, strolling into Bettina’s shining kitchen. “Why so festive?”

“Because I’ve just finished house-cleaning, Bob, and I want to celebrate. Doesn’t everything look splendid?”

“Well, it looked good to me before, but now that I think of it, I believe there is an extra shine on things. What makes that nickel there look so bright and silvery?”

“I cleaned it with a damp cloth dipped in powdered borax. That always makes nickel bright and clean.”

“I might have done that for you, Betty. Why didn’t you suggest it to me?”

“Oh, this house is so small and dear that I enjoyed every minute of my house-cleaning. And I didn’t want to bother you with it at all.”

“Well, I’ll help now with dinner. What can I do?”

“Will you cut the bread, dear? There’s the steel bread knife; doesn’t it look bright and shiny, too? I cleaned all my steel knives by dipping them into the earth in a flower pot I keep filled for that purpose. Well, I think dinner is ready now, Bob.”

For dinner they had: Broiled Steak, French Fried Potatoes, Stuffed Onions, Bread, Currant Jelly,
Orange Tapioca, Whipped Cream, Coffee

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



“I’VE been to the market, Bettina,” said Charlotte, “and I thought I’d stop here just a moment to rest.”

“Come in,” said Bettina, “and set that heavy basket down. Why didn’t you leave it for Frank to bring?”

“Because I needed the things for dinner.”

“What did you get?”

“Oh, the same old fresh vegetables,” said Charlotte wearily. “A month ago they seemed so wonderful—strawberries, asparagus, new potatoes and all—but there are no new ways to cook them! One day I cream the asparagus and the next day I serve it on toast.”

“Do you ever make asparagus salad?” asked Bettina. “We are very fond of it. Cold cooked asparagus is good with any kind of salad dressing, but we like best a very simple kind that I often make—oil and lemon juice and cheese.”

“Cheese?” echoed Charlotte in surprise.

“Yes, cottage cheese and Roquefort cheese are equally good. And, Charlotte, if you want some delicious strawberry desserts——”

“Oh, I do! We’re so tired of shortcake and plain strawberries!”

“I know several good strawberry dishes. Come, let me show you one that I made today!”

Bettina’s dinner consisted of: Veal Steak, New Potatoes in Cream, Bread, Butter, Asparagus, Salad, Salad Dressing, Strawberry Tapioca

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



“OH, Bob!” cried Bettina, “don’t you hope it won’t rain?”

“Rain? When? Tonight?” asked Bob, absent-mindedly, for he was busily eating the first cherry cobbler of the season, and enjoying it, too.

“No, stupid! I’m thinking about the wedding—Ruth’s wedding.”

“And Fred’s wedding, too,” added Bob. “You talk as if Ruth were the only one who is vitally interested.”

“Fred’s wedding, then. For, you see, the ceremony is to be in that darling summer house if it doesn’t rain. If it does it will have to be in the solarium. The bridesmaids and matrons (if it is an outdoor wedding) are to carry the prettiest green silk parasols that you ever saw. They will be Ruth’s gifts to us. Over our arms we’ll carry plain soft straw hats filled with pink peonies, and lots of trailing greenery. Won’t that be lovely? For you know we are all to wear short white dresses and white shoes.”

“And what am I to do?”

“You’re to be an usher and help carry the green ropes that form the aisle.”


“Yes, plain ropes covered with greenery. Will you have some more cherry cobbler, Bob?”

That night for dinner Bettina served: Pork Tenderloin, Creamed New Potatoes, Cauliflower with Butter Sauce, Vegetable Salad, French Dressing, Cherry Cobbler, Cream, Coffee

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



“IF you girls only would, my dear,” Ruth’s mother had responded to Bettina’s suggestion that she and Alice entertain Ruth’s house guests the entire day before the wedding, “you have no idea what a load would be taken off my mind!”

“And Alice and I would so enjoy helping you,” Bettina had replied. “And remember, we mean the whole day, breakfast and all!”

Luckily, the day before the wedding dawned warm and clear At eight o’clock Harry and Bob drove them all in automobiles to a lovely country spot in which the girls served an outdoor breakfast. The morning was spent in motoring and luncheon was eaten at a charming downtown tea-room. Then they were whisked off to Bettina’s little home for an informal afternoon, and Harry and Bob, feeling that they had indeed been model husbands, departed for their respective offices.

“The girl from Kentucky has volunteered to sing,” whispered Alice to Ruth. “She’s a dear. Do you suppose we can keep Aunt Jenny from talking for half an hour?”

That afternoon the following refreshments were served on trays: Fruit Salad, Bettina Sandwiches, Orange Sherbet, Bettina’s Cake, White Mountain Cream Icing, Coffee, Nuts, Candy

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



RUTH’S wedding colors were to be pink and green, and pink and green were, therefore, the colors which decorated the charming dinner table laid for the wedding party and close relatives the night before the wedding. A bud vase holding a half-opened pink rose bud stood before every two places. A large, low dish in the center of the table held pink roses, while at either end was another low arrangement of the same flowers.

Tiny paper slipper nut cups at each place held the pecans, and at the places laid for the best man and the ushers, silver pencils, Fred’s gifts to the groomsmen, were found.

“They are cunning, of course,” chattered Bernadette, Ruth’s cousin and maid-of-honor, “but you men just wait till you see the green parasols that we bridesmaids are to carry! Ruth is giving them to us, you know!”

The dinner menu was as follows: Watermelon Balls, Celery, Bouillon, Bread Sticks, Veal Birds,
Creamed New Potatoes, Buttered New Beets, Rolls, Butter Balls, Mint Frappé, Blackstone Salad, French Dressing, Thin Bread and Butter Sandwiches, Brick Ice Cream, White Cake, Coffee, Salted Pecans

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



AFTER the solemn and beautiful ceremony had taken place in the rose-embowered summer house, there was the usual hush for a moment, and then Ruth and Fred were engulfed in a sudden rush of chattering friends, eager to offer congratulations. Bettina and Bob were swept off with the others to the house, where the wedding breakfast was waiting to be served.

“The morning is after all the happiest time for a wedding,” whispered Ellen to Bettina, as they found their places at the bride’s table. “Everything seems so fresh and new and green and hopeful! Isn’t the table lovely, Bettina?”

And indeed it was. Rose-decorated again, with the graceful flowers in baskets, and the white bride’s cake in the center of the table, Bettina felt that it made the proper setting for the flushed and smiling little bride.

“And the wedding cake is to be passed in darling little baskets,” continued Ellen. “Little baskets with handles—and the cake in tiny packages tied with white ribbon! Pink and green candy all around them, too!”

The wedding breakfast consisted of: Watermelon Balls in Halves of Cantaloupe, Chicken Croquettes, Creamed Potatoes, Mushroom Sauce, New Peas, Butter Sauce, Parker House Rolls, Loganberry Jam, Fruit Salad, Wafers Bettina, Brick Ice Cream, White Cake, Coffee, Nuts, Candy

Susan Wheeler, Illustrator



“AND a whole year has gone since then,” said Bob, as his eyes met Bettina’s across the little table set for two.

“That’s the queer part of it,” Bettina replied. “That year seems unbelievably short in some ways and unbelievably long in others, and stranger yet, I don’t feel that it is really gone. I feel as if we had it, captured, held forever, with all of its fun and all of its little sad times. We own it, even more than we own a collection of snapshots in a camera book—because that year is a part of us now.”

“And the little hard places only make the bright spots all the brighter by contrast. Do you know, Bettina, that I’ve found you wiser than I ever imagined a young wife could be?”

“Bob,”—and Bettina laughed and blushed at the same time.

“Don’t interrupt. This is our anniversary and I’m making a speech. You are wise because from the first you’ve realized that we get out of life just what we put into it. You’ve faced things. You’ve realized that marriage isn’t a hit-or-miss proposition. It’s a business——”

“A glorified business, Bobby. Dealing in materials that can’t all be felt and seen and tasted, but that are, nevertheless, just as real as others. More truly real, I sometimes think. I know that the more love we give the more we receive, but we can’t forget that we were given intelligence, too. So we mustn’t turn the rose-colored lights of romance too beautifully low to let us see the wheels go round. And after all, romance is really in everything that we do lovingly, and intelligently. I find it in planning and cooking the best and most economical meals that I can, and in getting the mending done on time, and in keeping the house clean and beautiful. And—in having you appreciate things.”

“If you knew how I do appreciate them!” said Bob. “Let’s make our second year even happier than the first. If that is possible!”

For that anniversary dinner Bettina served: Broiled Steak, New Potatoes in Cream, Hot Biscuits, Butter, Currant Jelly, Tomato Salad, Charlotte Russe, Coffee

I hope you have enjoyed this book!

May God bless you!



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