My mother-in-law gave me what is possibly the greatest book ever written: 10,000 Snacks by Cora, Rose, and Bob Brown. This is a 1937 masterpiece that reads like it could’ve been written today (but hopefully minus the problematic stereotypes/naming conventions that were popular in 1937).
This book is less about the snacks—most of which sound terrible, to be he honest—and more about the writing. The section on Equipping the Home Snack Bar is especially fun:
One of the greatest appeals of snacking is that it requires neither equipment nor etiquette. All that’s needed is appetite and a lusty interest in proving that fingers really were made before forks.
Yet your beginner, after being thwarted by an obdurate sardine can and finding it still soldered against him, though he’s whacked it on the stove and jumped up on and down on it, finally weakens, give in to civilizing science and buys a ten-cent combinations can opener, bottle cap remover and corkscrew.
The habit of acquisition creeps up subtly on him. […] After that he’s sunk and goes in giddily for hardwood cheese boards and wire baskets in which to swing his salad lettuces bone dry in the French fashion.From 10,000 Snacks by Cora, Rose, and Bob Brown
I bet you didn’t know a salad spinner dried your greens “in the French fashion.” 😂
There’s also a whole section on popular snacks from countries around the world, including Hawaii which wasn’t yet part of the US, but my absolute favorite entry is from Vatican City:
Wine and holy wafers.
That’s it; that’s the entire entry. :dies laughing:
And, of course, the book doesn’t forget your pets. After all, it takes a lot to get to 10,000 snacks.
Though dogs should be seen and not heard, they will occasionally yap for a little between-meal surprise. A bit of toast or pretzel from your tray, and if it’s a dachshund, and occasional sip from your mug of beer or a pull at your pipe will be appreciated.
Why do only dachshunds get beer and tobacco? No one knows! It was stated as a universal truth and then they moved on to some new pet, like snakes, ant eaters, and lady water buffalos. I sense maybe this section was a little tongue-in-cheek. 😉
There’s also a section with favorite snacks of famous people. I didn’t recognize a lot of the names, but Eleanor Roosevelt prefers hot dogs, Betty Grable prefers Spanish hash, and Ruth Zuckerman (listed as “the gal who typed this book”) prefers southern fried chicken with sautéed sweet potato slices. I’m with you, Ms. Zuckerman.
While the snacks don’t sound great, they are a fascinating look into life in 1937—at least life in NYC, because I doubt the rest of the country was eating fresh oysters with any regularity. I’ve very much enjoyed thumbing through the pages and finding some new turn of phrase or type of snack pretty much every time I pick it up.
Finally, before you go, the final round of the Swoon Awards is open for voting for a few more days. Thanks to you all, both Chaos Reigning *and* The Queen’s Triumph made it into the semi-finals! Thank you so much! 💕 If you feel like voting again, you can vote for up to three books this round, which makes a very difficult SFR category (so many good books!) a little bit easier. :)