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Retro Recipe: Little Anadama Loaves

By Becky Rosenthal
A classic spread right out of Betty’s Party Book, this taste of the past, starring an easy-to-make yeast bread, is perfectly fit for today.

Brunch buffets were slightly different in the 1960s. You might find sliced cheddar cheese on a single plate instead of an array of cheeses on a cheese board and people may request a Hot Mocha Java (half coffee half hot cocoa) instead of the modern mocha. The Betty Crocker Party Book, published in 1960, gives the perfect description for a 1960s-style holiday brunch, one that was so enticing, as I read through the description and menu, I knew it was something I had to recreate.

Everything unexpectedly comes together perfectly in this vintage spread: Sharp cheddar cheese, juicy green grapes, mocha javas and sugar cookies. Not too much sweetness and plenty to choose from without having too many items to purchase. In fact, you could probably make a similar spread with what you have on hand at home, well except for the bread.

The Anadama bread was the true gem among the spread. It's not overly sweet and is perfect served with jam, or if you're feeling really old-school, with apple butter! Anadama bread is a yeast bread made with cornmeal and molasses. There’s a bit of folklore surrounding the bread, but it was hard to find a solid story... something about a fisherman whose wife Anna made him bread instead of porridge and he replied with "Anna, damn her!"  Not sure if I'm getting that right but look into it for yourself if you’re curious! Any food with a good story is worth trying in my opinion.

Next time you’re in charge of hosting brunch, try this vintage-inspired spread; a good story and a good spread go a long way!