Magically shaped food

Hostess Magic coverHostess Magic
Recipes for Great Entertaining

I actually thought this book was much older than 1984, given the black and white photos and the squared off kebob on the cover. (Personal bias: I like food to actually look like food, not a demo of solid geometry.) Aside from the fruit bowl, everything else featured is odd looking or just unappetizing because of the photography. Modern cookbooks are all about the photography and the instruction.  I also can’t imagine anyone buying specialized tools to cut a sandwich. This particular cookbook is all about using the speed press, a magical tool that can shape your food.

There are some classic/disturbing recipes, including: Creamed chipped beef on toast (My mom served that a couple of times when I was growing up. Not a happy memory.) and a fruited chicken mold (made with lemon gelatin!).

I am sure all of you will be racing to your local library to make some of these recipes.

Bon Appetit!


Using the speed press

square skewered sandwiches

fruit bowl

tea and scones


  1. Hey, I LIKE SOS (= creamed chipped beef on toast) ! I get it in frozen pouches at the supermarket, microwave it, toast and butter an English muffin, and wa la, a 5-minute meal! Only problem is scooping the remaining creamed beef out of the pouch and into a bowl to store in the fridge

  2. I don’t think they have chipped beef here in Canada. I looked up the creamed chipped beef on toast on wiki, and it looked repulsive. If someone gave me this stuff I’d ask, “Can a have a new slice of toast? Somebody puked on this one”.

  3. The kebab on the front cover looks like neapolitan coconut candy, which should not be eaten with olives.

  4. Given the tacky “as seen on TV” sticker on the cover of this one, I’m going to guess it’s just a user’s manual/promotional material for the square syringes shown, rather than a serious cookbook.

  5. Check out for wonderful kindred “recipes” – inspiration for May more appetizing books! Sadly discontinued but still in the Ethernet.

  6. The bread (?) with the square hors d’oeuvre-like things sticking out of it looks oddly like an electron micrograph of a flu virus. Just in case anyone happens to be catering a virology or epidemiology conference.

  7. I loved creamed chipped beef on toast as a girl! The beef came (still does, Armour, Hormel both make it) in a jar, in thin pieces. My mother would tear them up into a cream sauce, and pour over white bread toast. It was one of my favorite dinners in the 60s. I will take leftover chicken or turkey and do the same now.

  8. The…thingy on the cover looks like SPACE FOOD from a 1950s sci-fi. Surely this must be reprint of a book that would have been 20 or 30 years older? If it was from 1984, it would be all shrimp cocktails and pesto.

  9. I’ll join the SOS lover’s club. Now I want some and it’s after 9:00 at night. (sigh) I don’t keep a stock of chipped beef. I’ll have to change that.
    Now that I don’t have children at home I can eat all the things I love and they hated. Wait…Mom also made it with Tuna and I DO have that on hand. It’s Saturday night and I’m contemplating creamed tuna on toast. My life has taken a strange turn.

  10. My mother never served chipped beef on toast but she did have that Royal Albert china featured in the last picture (tea set). It’s the pattern that looks like cross-stitch or petit point.

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