Poppy Cannon (nee Lillian Gruskin) was a food editor at the Ladies’ Home Journal and House Beautiful who also wrote a few cookbooks, including this one – behold, The Can Opener Cookbook!
You’ll be relieved to know that of course Poppy does not wish us to saute our can openers, but to open up the wonderful array of cans we have got on our shelves and voila! Gourmet dishes aplenty!
She asks: Have you a chafing dish? a crepe suzette pan? a cut-glass punch bowl? [No ma'am...not really, no. My mother had a cut-glass punch bowl but it is in storage. Not here in my house. I guess that's a no.]
Keep them in mind when you begin to think about “what shall we have to eat?” and don’t be self-conscious about repeating your specialties or even your menus. [Oh, believe you me - I am not self-conscious about repeating my - specialties. Not even an 'OMG, not this again' can deter me when it's 5pm and I am desperate.]
You see, if you put canned things in fancy dishes – and sprinkle them with toasted almonds or India relish (or both! why not both!) – they will be gourmet. And delicious!
Here is one of Poppy’s gourmet recipes, featuring our old friend, Underwood’s Devilled Ham Spread. Because this is well after the war, and you don’t need to spread it thin. Glop it on, discerning diners!
That’s “crock” just above, not “croc” by the way – you’ll be glad to know.
I thought that Smithfield hams came in one piece in their cans, and Poppy never explains what you would do with a whole ham. I know, I know, you’re supposed to grind it up. But she ought to say so.
And just look at the gorgeous cover! That must be one of Poppy’s gourmet menus – brought to you today by the color red! Tomato aspic ring, red punch with lemon slices, and red other stuff with pastry leaves on top. And cans of cherry pie filling and tomato sauce.
Oh, also a can of tuna and some canapes which have levitated, swami-like, just over the Westinghouse can opener.
The pink Devilled Ham glop will color-coordinate just perfectly with all of that.