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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sadie! Sadie! Sadie Hawkins!

"I am certain that as we come more and more to depend on visual aids in our daily lives cartoon strips will promote the concepts of good food and good living in a fashion hitherto undreamed of."~James Beard~ The Cartoonist Cookbook (1966)

Traditionally, Sadie Hawkins Day is an occasion when women take the initiative in inviting the men of their choice on a date, typically to a dance attended by other bachelors. Sometimes, Sadie Hawkins' Day is also celebrated in a Leap Day. It all began with the "Li'l Abner" comic strip, created by Al Capp on November 15, 1937. Sadie Hawkins is one of Al Capp's most memorable characters. Until the mid-50s, November was known as Sadie Hawkins Month and became an unofficial collegiate holiday. Life Magazine reported over 200 colleges holding Sadie Hawkins Day events in 1939. When Al Capp created the Sadie Hawkins event, it was not his intention to have the event occur annually on a specific date because it inhibited his freewheeling plotting. However, due to its enormous popularity and the numerous fan letters Capp received, the event became an annual event in the strip during the month of November, lasting four decades.

Whenever I get ready for Sadie Hawkins Day, I can't help listening to that little voice in my head. "Sadie, Sadie, married lady." According to some of the baby naming websites, the name Sadie is derived from the Hebrew name Sarah, meaning lady or princess. Some websites say the name originates from the bible and means princess who laughs. Now besides thinking about Barbra singing "Sadie Sadie married lady," I'm remembering Shirley Temple in the Little Princess. "Sarah, Sarah where's my little girl?" Okay, on to the real purpose of this page.

I wanted to share a menu from Al Capp which I found in the Cartoonist Cookbook. Published by the Newspaper Council in 1966, The Cartoonist Cookbook offers a collection of menus and recipes from cartoonist such as Neal Adams (Ben Casey), Dik Browne (Hi & Lois), Tony Di Preta (Joe Palooka), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), Fred Johnson (Moon Mullins), Lank Leonard (Mickey Finn) and many more. Most of the cartoonist in this cookbook, I am not familiar with but, I do have some recollection of Al Capp's Li'l Abner. I thought it might be fun to include his menu and recipes with a few additions. I would also like to note the introduction by James Beard,

...One of the reasons I'm happy to write a word about this book is that I have always felt that a cartoon strip cookery column would be quite successful. As a matter of fact, Alfred Andriola has taken such an idea and incorporated it in the present volume...

As I was digging out this book once again, I came across another bunch of characters found in Mammy Yokum's Fav'rite Cream of Wheat Recipes. This little advertising booklet was published in 1946. It also appears to be illustrated by Al Capp and offers Cream of Wheat Recipes including one for Sadie Hawkins Fried Cream of Wheat.  It also has a recipe for Available Jones' Barbecued Hamburgers. Other recipes in this booklet include Earthquake McGoon's Orange Tea Muffins, Grandma Scraggs' Cream of Wheat Dumplings and a few more. Below, I have included Li'l Abners Cream of Wheat Apple Pudding.

Li'l Abners Cream of Wheat Apple Pudding
1-1/2 cups cooked Cream of Wheat
1/2 tea. vanilla
1-1/2 cups scalded milk
1 cup sliced apples
3 eggs, beaten
2 tbs. sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tea nutmeg
1 tbs. butter
Combine cooked Cream of Wheat, scalded milk, beaten eggs and 1/4 cup sugar. Add vanilla. Place sliced apples in a well greased baking dish (1-1/2 quarts). Pour Cream of Wheat mixture over apples. Combine nutmeg and 2 tbs. sugar and sprinkle over the top. Dot with butter. Bake in moderate slow oven (350) for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve hot or cold with cream if desired. Serves 6.

Resources
1. The differences between Leap Year Day & Sadie Hawkins Day
2. Sadie Hawkins Day, an American folk event
3. What's the origin of the Sadie Hawkins dance?
4. More from the Cartoonist Cookbook