Anyway, in preparation got tomorrow's Oscar party (where I am rooting wholeheartedly for Catalina Sandino Moreno for Best Actress because, dammit, she deserves it), Angela brought up an electric serving tray that we think her grandmother may have had. We haven't used it yet, though we've had it for ages. So imagine our surprise when we find an article taped underneath it. Called "Dinner Can Wait: The Electric Tray's the Secret" by one Helen Furnas and written in 1958, just listen to the tone of voice in this excerpt which Angela perhaps rightly associated with Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross) on DH:
I want to tell you about a new way to live with three meals a day and no
help. New to most people, that is, but not to us because years ago we were
lucky enough to have a badly wrecked evening which led to a new discovery.
A series of small emergencies obliged me to leave a just-cooked dinner waiting for one solid hour. It was rare-broiled steak, mashed potatoes, new garden peas. Resentfully, I put the pattered steak and the vegetable dishes on a white elephant of a thing I called a "hot tray" -- a long glass-topped tray heated from within by a thermostatically controlled electric unit that I occasionally used for hot hors d'oeuvres. I covered these waiting foods with an old-fashioned roasting pan and thought, Well, at least they'll keep warm, even if they do overcook and dry out.
When we finally got back to them, they were warm all right and the steak was still rare and juicy, the potatoes still fluffy, the peas sweet and not overcooked, but just the way we like them. We hadn't known what hot trays -- and sister gadgets - could do.
What an absolute miracle!! I swear, without Helen Furnas, what would we all do? There's a great picture and accompanying recipe for the porterhouse steak dinner -- so appealing to my vegetarian wife. The whole "article," if you want to call it that ends with: "And so I say to you, wives of commuting husbands, mothers of adolescent dawdlers, all other slaves to time, tide, train schedules and baby formulas, what you need in your life is a hot tray."
This sounds so kitschy and totally made up, I wouldn't believe that anyone could fall for this line. Except, of course, we actually have the hot tray, with the aforementioned article. Of course, since I study magazines, I'm curious where this was actually published and who, is everyone, was meant to read this and try it. As for us -- well, it'll be heating those aforementioned hors d'oeuvres just fine.