NOTE: This conversation runs backwards. For the benefit of regular readers, the newest comments are put at the top.
NOTICE: Rosie's Diner will be closed for the fourth of July weekend. Come in Monday morning for a free cup of coffee and a chat about the holiday.
You ask us to "Name the three songs alluded to in our index." But I think I have found four.
First of all "dear hearts and gentle people" obviously alludes to the song of the same name sung by Mr. Bing Crosby; then "A guy is a guy wherever he may be," which refers to a song sung by Miss Doris Day. I cannot recall the title but I think it begins:
I walked down the street like a good girl should,
He followed me down the street like I knew he would...
Of course "like" should be "as" in both lines, but popular songs often seem to speak a language slightly different from English. I recall an Elvis Presley song which has the line "I'll never know the reason why you love me as you do," which I have always regarded as a sort of minor miracle. Though of course purists may argue that "reason why" is a tautology.
But enough of this pedantry. "A kiss is still a kiss" is of course from As Time Goes By - the song of which Mr. Bogart is widely reputed to have said "Play it again Sam," though in fact those words are not actually spoken in Casablanca.
And finally, "Put a nickel in the Nickelodeon" is surely a reference to Music, Music, Music:
Put another nickel in,With love to all from Aristasia and,
In the Nickelodeon,
All I want is loving you
And music, music, music...
Well, here is sweet, darling Alice, giving away the answer to
the ten questions in the Romantian Quiz,
but there are still
nine more to test your up-to-date knowledge. So, don't fret. You can
still take the quiz, send in your answers, and get your name put in our
fishbowl for the Grand Prize drawing! ROSIE
I have just been adoring all these SPAM recipes and pictures. Really, it must be some old Pit training that hasn't quite been washed away yet, but I've had the worst sort of prejudice against SPAM even though I see recipes for it in all of my magazines. Rosie, your recommendation goes a long way with me, and I love your Diner food, so I think I am going to rustle up some courage and buy a tin next marketing day.
Speaking of marketing, we've found a way to ease the awfulness of marketing in the Pit. We are very lucky to live about a half an hour away from an Amish grocery store in the country. They even sell SPAM! But best of all, most of the products there are bought in large quantities and then put in bags with handwritten labels. I can stock up on all of our pantry supplies and not feel poisoned by the hideous advertising of a bongo store. Plus, the clerks are polite and friendly, the girls are always in dresses and hats, and the adventure leaves us feeling refreshed and racinated.
I know Susan will pop in and say, "But darling, I just go down to Ivan's Greengrocers and pick up everything thing I need, including SPAM. White apron-wearing Ivan is always very friendly, though a bit rough around the edges the morning after poker night." Alas, we can't all be as lucky as Susan, who has never even heard of the Pit.
Dearest Patronettes, or, as Susan likes to say, Dinettes (Patrons and Diners are welcome as well, if they happen to have a culinary bent), here, as promised last week, are four mouth-watering SPAM dinner recipes to cure your family of the Hot-Dog Habit. While you might not want to whip up any of these delectable dishes for the in-laws (on the other hand, perhaps you might), just remember -- SPAM will never break your budget. The secret is to imagine you are using the finest baked Virginia ham, but at one-third the price!
For a light summer dinner treat, try SPAM 'n' hot potato salad, a real budget meal. Slice half a whole SPAM, dice the rest. Brown SPAM lightly in 2 tbsp. lard. Remove. Combine the diced SPAM with 4 cups boiled, cubed potatoes, 1 onion chopped, 1/2 cup sliced radishes. Heat to boiling point 2/3 cup your favorite French dessing, pour over SPAM-potato mixture and blend well. Top with SPAM slices and garnish with onion rings and curly endive. Six generous servings. This makes a great al fresco meal out on the patio when it's too warm to eat indoors, and at just pennies a serving, too!
Next is a hearty, down-to-earth dish you can serve hubby and kids on a chilly evening, or perhaps after an ice-skating party. This'll put meat on their ribs for sure: SPAM 'n' beans casserole! This authentic New England dish is a real prizewinner, it's easy to prepare and will please the whole family. Here's how to make it. Mix 1 tbsp. molasses and 1/4 tsp. dry mustard with a one can of Hormel Pork and Beans and place in casserole. Top this with meat from one tin of SPAM cut into 6 cubes and spread with a little molasses. Bake in 350° F. oven for about 30 min. Serves 3 or 4 -- with hot steamed brown bread and cabbage and apple salad. SPAM's so good-tasting served this way -- or any way you would serve ham.
Easy does it -- when you're serving SPAM. Good big dinners are easy to prepare -- and it's so easy to please the whole family with them. To prove both points, just try this classic baked SPAM dinner -- your guests'll have a hard time telling this is not the real thing! Score one SPAM, by cutting the top lightly with a knife to make a criss-cross pattern. Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. each prepared mustard, vinegar and water. Spread over SPAM. Stud with whole cloves. Bake in moderate oven (375° F) 20 minutes, basting twice. Serve generous slices with sauce poured over ... buttered green beans and carrots from your garden for good companions. And carving's a snap, because there are never any bones!
Finally, we have the Crown Jewel of SPAM cuisine, a dish that'll give your guests new respect for your cooking abilities: SPAM upsidedown pie, or SPAM soufflé, if you will. This SPAM dish is a little tricky, so you might want to try it out on the family before serving it up at a dinner party. Here's the secret: 1. Line greased ring mold with SPAM slices. (SPAM cooks to a golden brown, adds its own special flavor). 2. Cut more SPAM in small cubes and add to dry ingredients of baking powder biscuit recipe. 3. Add liquids to make dough, form mold. Bake 40-45 minutes at 425° F. Turn on platter. Fill center with.... 4. Tart Cheese Sauce and top with a sprig of parsley -- and, Presto! A gourmet delight not often found even in the best restaurants of Paris or New York!
So remember, girls, just because your food budget's only $16 a week is no excuse not to put fancy meals on the table, not when you know all the secrets of SPAM! And if any of you have a special SPAM recipe of her own, send it in to Rosie and she'll publish it here.
Dearest Diners and Dinettes, today was such a perfect June Sunday that Bob and I decided to take the kids to Memorial park, which opened just this season. It used to be the old Nafziger pig farm, but when poor Mr. Nafziger died two years ago and Mrs. Nafziger took the twins and moved to Arizona (she never did get used to our Midwestern winters), Sam Warner and some of his army buddies bought it up and turned it into a lovely park, with gently rolling lawns, new-planted trees, picnic tables, brick barbecues and a little midway with carnival rides all year long. There's an artificial lake, too, with pedal boats shaped like swans. It's really a wonderful family place. It costs four dollars to get in, but because Bob is a vet, we got in for half price.
Of course, after seeing the recipes just now posted, you can guess what kind of picnic lunch I packed .... that's right, SPAMwiches! But Junior and Sis would have none of them, not because they were SPAMwiches, but because they just couldn't be as good as a plain old boiled hot dog from a hot dog stand, one with a big red-and-white striped umbrella, of course. And cotton candy for dessert. Mom's cooking is fine most of the time, except when she's up against carnival hot dogs and cotton candy!
But the high point was the midway. Bob took Junior on the roller coaster (this was thankfully before the hot dogs), but Sis was frightened and refused to go, especially after she saw some green-faced girls her age getting off and smiling wanly as they lied about what a good time they had just had. So she and I went on the carousel instead, much more our speed. Here we are in our brand new cotton summer frocks.
Does anyone want a couple of pretty fresh SPAMwiches?
Our hard-working Rosie does not spend all her time in the Diner, of course. More than half of each day she is also a very busy housewife, bringing to her family those Special Culinary Skills which make the Diner the only Five Star Eatery in the entire tri-county area.
So let us peep in at Rosie's Quirrie Kitchen -- the one in her very own Hestia, of which she is the undisputed queen -- and learn a couple of her favorite recipes.
Now don't tell our husbands, anyone, but we houswives know all that talk about our Post-War Prosperity doesn't put steak on the table every night of the week! What with buying a new washer and dryer, a new Ford, a new bike for Junior, a new portable record player for Sis, a table saw for Dad, not to mention back-to-school wardrobes..... well, sometimes even in 1953 a mother has to exercise her imagination and ingenuity to put a dollar-stretching meal on the table which she won't have to pay for on the installment plan! And Rosie's going to tell you how to do just that, with genuine Hormel SPAM.
Why not give your family a real fresh start tomorrow morning at breakfast? Try "SPAM cakes," fun both in the making and the eating. The folks'll love these tender golden Bisquick pancakes ... each one centered with a sizzling slice of SPAM. Here's how you do it: First, make Bisquick pancake batter (directions on the box). Next, brown SPAM slices on griddle ... 2 to 3 inches apart. Turn SPAM slices ... pour batter over each slice. Turn again ... And there you are, with big hungry-size pancakes ... a savory SPAM slice baked right in the middle! Dad and the kids'll sure ask for triple helpings of these! You'll be sending them off to work and to school bursting with health and energy, all for just pennies, too!
On her afternoon off -- Tuesdays -- Rosie hosts the Bridge Club at her house, and she is never at a loss about what to serve the girls. Last Tuesday she whipped up a dilly of a dish -- sliced egg SPAMwiches. You don't have to be Einstein to figure out how to put this one together. Just take two slices of Wonderbread, slather one with mustard and plop down two thick SPAM slices. On the other, put some lettuce and several slices of hard-boiled egg gussied up with a few shakes of paprika. Add tomato slices and crisp green pepper sticks on the side ... and Voila! Almost a meal in itself! And what a meal, too -- those rosy, tender SPAM slices offer a wealth of good eating because they're cut only from sweet, juicy pork shoulders, tender and superbly seasoned.
Is your family tired of hot dogs served sixty-five different ways? Well, come back next week, when Rosie will show you how to break that old frankfurter habit with a few smashing dinner recipes using SPAM.
Stopped by Rosie's for a cuppa on the way back from the Wednesday Flower Club meeting, and heard sweet Amy talking about how exhausted she became "fleeming" for treasures. And such everyday treasures, too, as: "a Kadorian puzzle, a Quirrie deck of Crazy Eights cards, a 'charming' rotary phone and three Kadorian dresses that fit ... perfectly and look brand new, as if the Iron Curtain didn't do a bit of damage to them! Plus, twenty new up-to-date books to add to our library. What delights!..."
My goodness, Amy, do we live in the same town? Whatever are you chattering on about? Are we both speaking the same language? Why should you have to work so hard to find such ordinary items? Just pop over to Kresge's on Walnut for the cards and the puzzle, to Klopman's on Main for the dresses, where everything is brand-new, so of course it looks brand-new! And to the Book Nook right next door for the up-to-date books. You make it sound as if all these things are hard to find! You sound like one of those Eclipse sillies yourself. Please get a grip on and skip The Twilight Zone every once in a while, or you'll get a complex.
Everything you mentioned is always in stock and can be had for the asking, and one needn't haggle as if one is in the bazaar in Casablanca or something, because prices are always fixed and fair. As for a "rotary phone," whatever do you mean? Is there any other kind of telephone that I should know about? And what's all this about the Iron Curtain? We all know that the Iron Curtain is what divides us from the Red Russians and their satellites, so I do not see at all how it applies to buying things for one's family! Why make a mountain out of a molehill? Sometimes, Amy, I simply can't figure out what you are saying!
Look, if you want the latest in up-to-date appliances, such as fridges and ranges and TV's, just drop by the Monkey Wards (the new one, on Second and Poplar) -- they have all the latest of everything..
Just last week Bob and I and the kids went shopping for one of those new-fangled, big 15-inch table-top TV's -- we want a new one for the next Honeymooners season, and mean to get it before they all get snapped up. (We've already saved up sixty-five dollars!) These new TV's warm up in less than a minute and have Phon-o-matic sound. Here we are listening to Harry, the Assistant Manager, tell us all about the newest models for 1953. We have our eye on a Philco or a Dumont, which Harry says are the most reliable.
My name's Priscilla. I come to Rosie's a lot. It's a very social place, you see, and swell for meeting other kids my age, although sometimes I wish a few older boys (i.e., men) would drop in once in a while 'cause I find boys my age (I'm sixteen and-a-half) to be quite immature a good part, well, actually most of, the time. Twenty-year olds are much more to my taste, and, besides, they always have cars.
But today is a Very Special Day, so I hope I don't actually meet any boys, sixteen or twenty, 'cause I'm frightfully nervous and would just stammer or giggle or both. That's because I am on my way to my very first job interview, at Peabody's Florist. Mom has always said I have a knack for arranging flowers (at the Junior prom I made all the corsages for my girlfriends, and boutonnieres for our dates). So I suppose it's quite natural I should choose a career in horticulture. Charlie Peabody -- that's Mr. Peabody's son, who's a senior -- got one of those boutonnieres and showed it to his father, who Charlie said was very impressed. I suppose Mr. Peabody would much rather have me working making these sorts of things in his shop than my staying freelance and competing with him! So I guess what I am is being bought out. That's Free Enterprise!
But I must ask Rosie's opinion about my outfit.... D'you think it's too off-the-shoulder? And should I leave off the hat? I think the hat makes me look at least twenty-seven, but of course I can't fool Mr. Peabody because he knows how old I really am, but I'll feel twenty-seven. Of course, it'll all look a lot more sophisticated when I pull on my gloves. But, Rosie, d'you think I should take my gloves off for the interview? That way my nails will show, and Mr. Peabody will notice how very carefully I put on my nail polish. I only changed the color three times before I settled on Passionfruit Pink! Can you smell my Madness in the Moonlight perfume? It just came out last week and no one else has it yet because it's six dollars an ounce!
But gosh, I have to be there at three-thirty, and it's already three and I have to get all the way over to Maple and I don't want to rush and get heated 'cause a girl's supposed to look as cool as a cucumber for a job interview. So I need something to settle my nerves...I need a drink! So, please, Rosie, whip my up my Usual. That's it, a black raspberry ice cream soda, that'll hit the spot. I promise not to slurp it, even though I'm in a dreadful hurry. Wish me luck!
It's always nice to see the bobby soxer crowd in here. Good luck with your interview, dear.
I have just visited your site and I found it very nice.
Please return as often as you'd like. Did I hear you order a Cherry Coke?
Hello, thanks for inviting me. I had a fabulous time. Most excellent job. Keep up the great work.
Thank you, Sir, for your kind words. Have you taken our Romantian Quiz and Challenge yet? I think you might like to.
I thought I would just come out here and take a break for a minute to welcome everyone to my diner and to Romantia. A friend who stopped in here the other day and is new to Romantia commented on how soothing the images in Romantia are to her and yet how stylized everything seems. Another newcomer stated that Romantia and even all of the movies, television programs, and magazines from the up-to-date world aren't real-to-life, and are too perfect and idealized to be genuinely interesting to her.
To those comments, I would say that the entertainments we allow to help form our psyche should be soothing, stylized, and idealized, for in being thus, they orient our souls toward perfection. It is interesting to note that the images created by the Pit do not reflect life-as-it-is-lived either. Thousands of families sit down together around a table and say grace before eating a home-cooked meal every single day of their lives (even in the Pit this is still happening, though less and less every year), but do you see this scene in any bongo movie or television show? Of course not. And why not? Because while entertainment in the Real World always strives to depict life as better than it really is, as more wholesome, more beautiful, and more just, the Pit entertainments strive to depict life as much uglier and more sinister than it is lived by most people, thus, in effect, orienting the souls of its denizens toward degradation, disintegration, and atomization.
But, never fear, dears, you have found your way out of that madhouse and into a sane world where our battle cry is "Excelsior." Visit here often, take refuge from the Pit, watch our movies, read our magazines, talk with other Romantians, and in time you will find yourself looking up once again, always seeing the next step you might take to purifying your psyche and enjoying your reclaimed innocence.
Phew. May I rest my weary feet under this table and could you bring me a Dr. Pepper and an order of onion rings? I have been fleeming all day and have found such treasures for my family, including an adorable Quirrie high chair for six-month-old Henry. You know the kind, sturdy and wooden, with the sweetest little design on the back.
I also found a Kadorian puzzle for his big brother, a Quirrie deck of Crazy Eights cards, a charming rotary phone (the only kind we'll have in our home, of course), and three Kadorian dresses that fit me perfectly and look brand new, as if the Iron Curtain didn't do a bit of damage to them! Plus, twenty new up-to-date books to add to our library. What delights!
I am always amazed at how the sillies outside the Empire sell treasures from the Free World and use their money to buy the Pit's cheapity-slickity products. But it helps build the Empire, so I'm not complaining.
Rosie, I love your place. It does feel all homey and comfy, like a well-made bed.
I hear that Romantia-in-elektraspace is almost complete and that instead of a Cocktail Bar there will be Rosie's Diner! I hope it will be all stainless steel on the outside, like the real Kadorian diners, even if it is pure Quirrie inside.
Here's how I picture the place:
Every table is covered in formica, edged in ribbed stainless steel trim, and on the wall above each table, just above the ketchup, mustard and napkins in a black-and-chrome napkin holder, is a heavy chrome-and-clear-plastic jukebox controller that takes coins, with all the rows of square red letter-and-number buttons on the face for picking the songs, and flip cards with all the songs written on them that a girl can flip around a sort-of-an-axle by moving a little chrome tab that sticks down out of the bottom of the controller. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, but I am sure you know just what I mean!
At the end of the diner are two pinball machines that take nickels; one is decorated with pirates and the other with space cadets, and winning scores (which give a free game) must be at least six billion.
Brunettes know innately how to handle the flippers and can slap the sides of the machine just the right way, and can put English on the ball without causing "tilt." Blondes sink their five balls down the side alleys in 30 seconds with scores in the low hundreds of thousands and can never find another nickel.
And Rosie is a brassy brunette about 42 and wears her short blonde hair under a net, and she sounds like Eve Arden, and the waitresses are all local high school girls (juniors are best) and are blondes of course. Rosie cracks eggs onto the griddle with one hand while pouring coffee from a Silex with the other, and never wrecks a yolk. In the summer she hangs long curls of flypaper (the kind that comes in a tube and you pull out and hang one end on a hook) in strategic locations, and of course there is no air conditioning but there are oscillating fans with chromed wire guards up near the ceiling in all the corners.
The whole diner looks like a well-made bed, all rounded and tucked in and comfy. And a burger-and-fry lunch with a Coke (or a Dr. Pepper if this is in middle-western Culveria) is 59 cents, and everyone complains about how prices keep going up. And the diner is where a girl can find out about everything of importance that has happened in town in the last 12 hours, so that no one's reputation is safe if she fools around, 'cause it all gets discussed at the diner, and should the Girl Under Discussion actually walk in during such a discussion, well, suddenly everyone is talking about hairstyles or the weather, and when she orders there is actually an echo.
Our friend Ariadne guessed all this about Rosie's Diner before ever
visiting or meeting Rosie herself! Much of it is quite accurate, don't
you think? A word of explanation for our visitors: Ariadne is from
all-feminine empire of blondes and brunettes, and so
naturally she pictured Rosie's place without any men. But of course we do
have men here. Look over there, Nick Charles with his darling wife Nora.
A real chef d'oeuvre.
Well, thank you very much. Everyone does seem to like my
aren't chefs supposed to be men? (And if you recognize that as a genuine
Gracie Allen joke, you've come to the right place!). But please do tell
us your name, kind sir.
I love your new website!! It's beautiful, and gave me excited butterflies!
Thank you ever so much. You are very kind to say so. Come back
do tell us your name. I know I won't make any money this way, but here,
hon, have a burger and some fries on the house.
Hello Romantian Friends! I am so glad this place finally opened. I have been standing outside, eager to try one of those burgers I've heard so much about for the longest time. I love that Kadorian neon jukebox over in the corner. Here, hon, a nickel to play my favorite: Three Coins in the Fountain.
I dropped in to try the hamburgers and fries, yes, and to see the new place, of course, but also to tell you all about the most wonderful man we've just met. He's a refrigerator repairman who hates the Pit almost as much as we do, and who learned to repair up-to-date appliances from his own father (who learned from his father). Our lovely Kadorie refrigerator has been on the blink for some time now, but this delightful man took it to his garage, tinkered around on it for a few days, and brought it back to us with the boast that it will run better than a new bongo one!
Delightful discoveries like this one happen all the time to us. We found a barber shop where the boys in the family get their hair cut by a man who began cutting hair 45 years ago in the same building. The best part of the experience? He hasn't changed a thing in the shop since he began his business, so it's as real as one could ever find in the Pit.
Better run for now. Rosie, you've got a real nice place here, real nice, as Marshall Matt Dillon might say. So long friends!DEBORAH
|Send in your comments to the diner.|