I recently picked up some excellent books from the library sale cart and the local antiques mall. Old books are among my favorite things, the covers, the advice and the illustrations. I love the books which were obviously very fashionable and cutting edge in their information at the time of publication. Of course some of the writing is out of date and sometimes hilarious but a lot of it is still relevant and timeless.
‘New Bodies for Old (Why, Where and How to Exercise for Figure, Beauty and Health)’ by Dorothy Nye was written as a guide to exercise written in 1936 and it has some sage advice for would be exercising ladies.
On the first page, second paragraph we are treated to the following wisdom about the ideal body shape.
“It is, primarily, a figure of bone and muscle over which a silken skin stretches in taut perfection. ” No pressure then….
They use the Rockette dancing chorus from Radio City as an ideal, citing measurements to aim for –
Top tips from Ms Nye in a question and answer style.
“Will walking reduce? No, not unless you do a great deal of it. Walking is mainly a leg exercise. It’s real benefit is that it induces deeper breathing of fresh air and increases the circulation, and this helps to throw off the body’s poisons. However, if done in cities it is oftentimes more harmful than beneficial because of the crowds, the traffic and the stale, dust filled air. If you mush walk in the city, go to the park or open spaces and walk there.”
“Can women do the same exercise as men? No. A woman wants flexibility and grace rather than strength. She wants long, lean muscles rather than bunchy muscles. Therefore she should take exercises which include the whole body rather than those which concentrate on chest and arms such as are generally given in men’s gymnastics.”
“What sports do you recommend for women after forty? Swimming, horseback riding, golf, bowling, fencing and tennis – if one has played them before or starts them very gradually. Also rhythmic dancing, if not too strenuous at first.”
Best go and grab my rhythmic dancing shoes then!
Finally and one of my favorites just for the wonderful metaphor –
“Should I continue to exercise all of my life? Yes; one bath doesn’t keep you clean more than a few hours”
The next book of wisdom for today is ‘The Glamour Magazine After Five Cookbook’ by Beverly Pepper which was published in 1952.
In the introduction we are advised – “This book was originally planned, when it first appeared in magazine form, as a chart to aid the working girl who comes home, tired and spent, from her office only to face the insurmountable problem preparing an original meal for her husband or companion.”
Each day has a meal plan along with the recipes and the book is split into months and weeks of the year. Every single meal is finished with a drink – coffee, black, iced or coffee with lemon peel, tea, chilled tea, cold milk or even ice cream cupcakes.
Here is the page which would be for today, Friday of the first week of August. Sherried strawberries anyone?
Some recipes include –
Porcupine apples – Cover mounds of canned sliced apples with whipped cream. Pierce all over with blanched sliced almonds.
Avocado with sherry – Halve a ripe avocado. Remove pit. Pour sherry into each half.
Broccoli with grapes – Cook as directed. Drain. Garnish with 1/2 cup halved grapes in 2 tablespoons butter.
Tropical hamburgers – add 1 mashed banana to your regular burger ingredients.
Luxuro cakes – Fill 4 sponge shells with vanilla ice cream. Top with chocolate sauce and salted almonds. Sounds luxuro indeed!
“So deck your table with flowers, or maybe just leaves and candlelight. Sit down with a smile and a happy heart. It’s your victory-enjoy it. Remember, however you slice, bake or casserole it-it’s food, it’s fun, and like life at times, it can be out of this world!”
Words to live by there from Beverly Pepper herself.
Happy Friday x