Book review: Hyvän ruoan keittiö

Our book of the month is Hyvän ruoan keittiö, which is strictly speaking more of a collection of leaflets than a book. It was published by margarine manufacturer S.W.Paasivaara in 1965.

The accompanying letter tells us you apparently had to join the Club of good food to get hold of this collection of recipes. One guesses they presumably would have been sent over one by one, over a period of time.

It probably comes as no surpise that a lot of the recipes encourage the use of margarine. This scary chef gives a few pointers.  

We also get a brief lesson on how margarine is made. Looks very scientific, but not necessarily to appetising.

The illustrations and layouts are however brilliant. The leaflets are a bit vague on who made what, but it seems like Anneli Qveflander is behind most of the illustrations, and layout as well.

She’s clearly a genious person. Each and every spread of the book is a feast for the eyes.

According to Wikipedia Anneli Qveflander used to design for Marimekko and Arabia in the 60s, and in retrospect that must have been a good choice. I’d hire her.

The use of colour is bold and fearless. For instance, Anneli Qveflander will mix pink and orange like it’s no big deal. And when confronted about it she’ll go: “damn right I’ll mix pink and orange. I’m Anneli Qveflander.”

Then that chef with the scary yellow eyes will go: “Fine, Anneli, you do whatever, I guess pink and orange is groovy. After all, it is the 60s.” And then what does Anneli Qveflander do? Does she follow up with antoher colour combination? Hell no. She’ll go and make a vegetable illustration using only tore-up slices of fabric. Booyah!

The squares at the margarine factory will then squint their eyes, but eventually they’ll give in and everyone has to admit this is a kick-ass carrot. It’s a fact that cannot be denied.

At some point the editor of the book will then go: “People! Too much illustration! We’ll have to go with full colour photographs of our tasty 60s food!” Then they’ll put in a picture of a meaty stew and everyone starts dry heaving.

The editor is furious. “You did that on purpose!”, he’ll hiss. Now give me a picture of something more appetizing! The chef will quickly throw together some canned mushrooms and peas.

And it’s back to illustration. Boom! And quite rightly so. This is an instruction for making your children’s party more fun.

Wish I was at this party. The labels on the Viri chocolate drinks look surprisingly contemporary for being fifty years old.

If I actually were to be at this party I would be the one to the left. Yes, I know I look slightly sad, but that’s just because I had too many pancakes. “Ai ai ai, mi stomacho”, I would complain in mock Spanish, for no apparent reason. 

Anneli Qveflander won’t mind all this though. Her work is done. The 60s housewives are happy about the recipes, the margarine factory sells a ton of margarine and Anneli Qveflander moves on to another project to illustrate.

Like a boss.

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