Julia of Hooked on Houses wrote this wonderful post about Gladys Taber being the inspiration for Barbara Stanwyck's character, Elizabeth Lane, in Christmas in Connecticut.
I thought that since many of you are Gladys Taber fans, as I am, you might enjoy seeing these clippings I saved from from the one of the women's magazines circa 1940s or 50s. Here's a picture of Gladys with her family on Christmas Eve:
And here is her menu for a Christmas Eve Supper:
Lime Cottage -Cheese Ring
Sugar Cookies ~ Lebkuchen
Your friend and mine, Gladys Taber, is about as good and example of the woman who writes herself into her work as any woman I know. Her integrity is intact, her product is uncracked and unchipped. And she proves it by every word she writes, simple, direct, a word you wouldn't change, for no better word exists. She's as modern as yesterday's new moon. If it is new, Gladys has one modern streak that stands out like a sore thumb. She has such delicacies for Christmas Eve as seafood. And she named her dish after her home - "Sea Food Stillmeadow"
She goes in for cottage-cheese ring, I'm glad. I love cottage cheese. Fancy fruit compote and cookies, the old-time Lebkuchen, (What can you do with a girl like that?) Well, it's supper, not dinner. That's the modernity, I spoke of. If there's a turkey around, it's being saved for Christmas dinner. But I've picked out a receipt or two for you from Gladys' menu for Christmas supper. (Planned for 6-8.) My blessings be upon you.
Sea Food Stillmeadow
Remove any pieces of bone from 6 1/2-ounce can crab meat. Take 2 cans of shrimp, drained or 1 1/2 pounds, shelled, cooked and cleaned fresh shrimp. Pour 2 cans mushroom soup into a saucepan, add the crab meat, the shrimp, one 10 1/2-ounce minced clams and one 4-ounce can mushrooms. Add 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. The liquid in the mushrooms and the clams will dilute the soup, but if it is still too thick, add a little cream. Have it a little thicker - only a little - than heavy cream. The kind we used to skim off the old tin milk pans. Do you remember such? Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Simmer until well heated and smooth. Serve hot on curry rice.
Have ready a big bowl of rice with a drift of curry and chunks of butter on top.
Lime Cottage-Cheese Ring
Dissolve 2 packages lime-flavored gelatin in 3 3/4 cups boiling water. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar as soon as gelatin dissolves. Cool to syrupy consistency. Add 2 cups cottage cheese and 1/2 cup silvered blanched almonds. Pour into a ring mold. Chill until set. This fills a 1 1/2 quart ring mold. When turned out, arrange a lettuce cup in the center and fill with mayonnaise. Cut slices of pimento into petal shape. Make a poinsettia on top of mayonnaise with pimento.
Provide your handsomest glass bowl (china one would do). The one Great-aunt Mehitabel gave you, with sighs of regret, the time you took off and got married. Remember? Arrange a variety of fruits to fill the bowl - say, 2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned; 2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced; 3 oranges, peeled and sectioned; a package of frozen pineapple chunks and a can of apricot halves, juice and all; and 1/2 pound of red grapes, seeded. Let the fruits marinate in the fruit sirups [sic] several hours in the refrigerator. Serve with Christmas cookies.
I hope you enjoyed this blast from the past. Isn't it amusing how things, such as lime cottage-cheese rings, were considered modern? And how daring it was not to serve turkey for Christmas eve? I adore Gladys, but personally I think I would have been a little queasy after her Christmas Eve supper. But if you would like to serve this for your Christmas Eve supper, Bon Appetit!