Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Do Make Delicious Smorgasboard

Gunilla Knutson was a famed Noxema Girl and an outdoorsy sex kitten. I'll allow her to introduce her own cheerful little yellow beauty book:

"Recently, while waiting in a TV studio for the lights to be set up, I played a word-association game with some of the crew. When my turn came I spoke the word 'Scandinavian.' They quickly answered 'Smorgasbord'... 'Snow'...'Ski'...'Sexy.' At that last one somebody laughed and said, 'Gunilla's blushing!' Well. I doubt it, because I've heard the word 'sexy' used to describe Scandinavian girls again and again ever since I came to America.
All those words are true. We do make delicious smorgasbord. We do have lots of snow, which makes for marvelous skiing, and we are very forthright when it comes to sex..."

All that plus, bookish. Here Gunilla approaches reading with bounce and vigor:

"Place two books on the floor about 5 feet apart. Stand in the center between them, hands on hip, feet together.
Jump from one book to the other, keeping knees and feet together. Both feet come in full contact with the floor on each jump. Remember, the books are your outer boundaries-- stay within them."

Gunilla cannot seem to stress enough just how fundamental exercise
is to the Scandinavian (sexy!) way of life.

Next, Gunilla brings equal spunk to the task of drying her hair:

"If at all possible, dry your hair in the fresh air. Squeeze the excess water out with a Turkish towel. Then step outside and swing your hair dry. I try to combine hair-swinging with some torso-swinging so that I can whittle away at my waistline while the fresh air is drying my hair. By the time my hair is dry, I feel refreshed and my hair carries the nicest perfume I can think of-- the scent of fresh air."

The beauty section of the book is pretty standard soap-and-water stuff. I'd rather skip ahead to the remarkable recipes. One reason I so looked forward to receiving this book was that I had heard it included a recipe for Oatmeal Soup. Indeed:

1 cup oatmeal
2 quarts water
2 dozen prunes
prune juice

Boil the oatmeal until it is well cooked. Strain it and keep the liquid. Throw the oatmeal away. Add the prunes, a little prune juice, salt and sugar to taste. Serves immediately. Serves 6.

Here Gunilla looks down at the six full bowls of pruney soup and wonders why on Earth she'd try to serve such a thing to her guests. But the rascal redeems herself with another recipe, this one more curious than repulsive:


1 can unthickened rosehip soup
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups heavy cream

Combine the soup and lemon juice. Whip the cream and fold in the soup. Pour into a mold and freeze. When it has set properly you will be able to slice it.

I'd never heard of such a thing until tonight. But my mother was big on rosehip tea when I was a kid. It's high in vitamin C. We used to make it from a bush in our yard and drink it with honey. I found some photos of instant rosehip soup and chose a nice vintage-y one for you, at left.

Gunilla mentions the natural beauty of her Swedish friend, Britt Eckland, several times in this book. And that reminded me, I have yet to share Ms. Eckland's beauty book with you. It's one of the sexiest in my collection. When I went to get it off the shelf, I realized that I've just scratched the surface. Everything in my book, plus everything I've blogged about, is just a fraction of the material I have. I'll be vintage-beauty blogging until I die, and we know when that will be.