So long, Peg & thanks for the casserole

2 11 2007

Peg Bracken died October 20. Renee Enna noticed and made sure Chicago Tribune readers did too (October 31, 2007). Bracken wrote “The I Hate to Cook Book” at the start of the 1960s. She did it come hell or high water. The campaign was still on to move that zesty generation of World War II gals out of their wartime jobs and into the domestic gulag, suburban tract housing (build a road and they will escape).

The national propaganda atmosphere still tended heavily towards housewives in ironed aprons and high heels with a slightly Miltownian glaze over the eyes, martini pitcher in one hand and iron in the other. Somehow it all made sense or was supposed to.

Peg Bracken breezed through all that smoke and mirrors with cooking instructions that finally started making sense: “Let it simmer while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink.” Peg wrote about real life before many of the women who made names and mealtickets out of feminism.

Peg did it when the witch hunt was still on. McCarthy may have been down but his government still had a taste for whatever might be re-heated as “anti-American.” Did certain intelligence branches stuff files named Peg?

So long Peg, plan “b” had forgotten you, Renee Enna corrected that and now plan “b” misses you and has a taste for your “polite-tasting canned-bean recipe” (with cottage cheese AND grated Cheddar)!




One response

3 11 2007

I hadn’t heard that Peg Bracken had died. Just within the past couple of months, I had been talking about her to my 30-something daughter and she immediately got one of Peg Bracken’s book out of the library. It fit in perfectly with her ideas on cooking and housekeeping.

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