Tuesday, October 23

'I Hate to Cook Book' took on snobs, sexism

Peg Bracken, author of the I Hate to Cook Book, which sold more than three million copies, died last Saturday. She was 89.

First published in 1960, “The I Hate to Cook Book” was the perfect accompaniment to the Rice-A-Roni era, ushered in two years earlier. (The inventor of Rice-A-Roni, Vincent M. DeDomenico Sr., died last Thursday.)

Two recipes were her favorites: "Aggression Cookies" (credited to a mental health center in Lansing, Mich.) and "Mayonnaise Lamb Stew." Another was "Stayabed Stew," which included the instruction, "Mix all ingredients in a casserole, cover tightly and place in a 275-degree oven. Now go back to bed." For "Skid Row Stroganoff": "let it cook five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink."

Satirical or social protest cookbooks were unheard of, and the manuscript was a tough sell to publishing houses — and even to Bracken's own husband, who, she said, was "totally discouraging." She later boasted that "he had to eat a huge platter of crow" and the book went on to sell a reported 3 million copies.

She co-wrote a syndicated cartoon called "Phoebe, Get Your Man" with Homer Groening, an advertising colleague and the father of "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening.

Bracken went on to create a franchise out of strategies for coping with domestic dystopia, including "The I Hate to Housekeep Book" (1962), "I Try to Behave Myself"(1964, a book of etiquette) "Appendix to the I Hate to Cook Book" (1966), "The I Hate to Cook Almanack" (1980) and "The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book" (1988)., and "A Window Over the Sink" (1981, more observations on home life).

She was close to 80 when she published her last book, "On Getting Old for the First Time" (1996), which, like her other books, bore Bracken's comical outlook. "Mom considered herself a humorist first," her daughter said.

LINK:New York Times

1 comment:

Miss Vicky said...

I LOVE the I Hate to Cook Book! Cockeyed Cake is a family staple (and it's vegan to boot!)