Humor of Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway wrote a column -- I've Been Thinking -- that was published in many newspapers. This is from April 22, 1950. Enjoy.
I've Been Thinking
by Cab Calloway

Spring is definitely in the air. Milady's hats are getting frisky and she's getting that look in her eye . . . the one that says, "I've been wasting away in this house all winter and now that fair weather's here again, I'm going to take a week off and visit mother."

No doubt about it, the man of the house is going to find himself left to his own resources one of these weeks very soon. That's why I thought this column would be especially apropos. These are handy household hints for the bewildered male so that he will be able to take care of himself while his better half is away.

Recipe for Toast
Ingredients: Bread . . . dull knife.
Place the bread in the oven and turn the fire up high. There's no need to tend it, so go ahead and shave while it cooks. When through shaving, open oven and remove. Take bread to sink and scrape with dull knife. When golden brown color appears, butter and eat

Wholesome Dinner Menu
Pork and Beans (canned)
Spaghetti (canned)
Toast (see recipe above)
Bread if the kiddies are still hungry.

Women may object to this recipe, but then, they make a lot of unnecessary work for themselves, so don't pay them any mind. This business of making beds for instance. Don't do it! Beds need airing anyhow, so just throw the covers back until you're ready to go to bed again.

Bathing the kiddies. Waste of time. They just get dirty again anyhow. Try this scheme. Once a week, turn them loose on the front lawn and let them play with the garden hose. They'll squirt each other until they're pretty clean. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the bathroom.

Cleaning house isn't as hard as the wife would have you believe. Put accumulated papers, letters, magazines, etc. into neat piles every few days. Sweep dirt under rugs. Don't let empty tin cans pile up where the kiddies can reach them.

When flies gather, wash dishes. This is easily done by piling them in the sink or a large tub and letting them soak for a few days. When they have soaked until fairly clean, turn on hot water full force and hold dish under it until clean.

If you have friends over for poker, try to discourage them from throwing cigar butts on the floor or rug. This practice not only clutters up the house but also may be the cause of small fires from time to time.
Alcohol stains fine furniture finishes, so do your imbibing in the kitchen. If the drainboards are cluttered with dirty dishes, you can lay your glasses on the floor since alcohol does not stain linoleum.

Don't bother putting up lunch for the kids. Give them a dime to spend on candy bars. Candy is full of energy.
Now, don't thank me for these hints. I like to be helpful and it's been a pleasure. I know you'll fare swimmingly!


  • What a riot!

    And I'm going to try that toast recipe.
  • That is absolutely awesome. Thanks, mommio!

    I agree with the bed advice, too.

  • Kids love grilled cheese sandwiches and they're easy to make. Leave the pans alone - that's a sissy way to make them and it just makes another pan you'll have to soak. Prepare 2 slices of toast for each sandwich. Assemble with two slices of american cheese and microwave till the cheese melts. You should let them stand for a minute before handing them over because the cheese can get very hot in places. If you don't have a microwave (seriously? you some kind of Luddite?) you can put the bottom half with the cheese under the broiler to melt but that's awfully close to sissy cooking.
  • Geez, Dr. Mu, I have to confess that I make my own grilled cheese that way. And even worse, I have been known to use some of Mr. Calloway's household hints. There are no Martha Stewart clones in my house.
  • edited March 2013
    What's American Cheese? I've heard of/eaten Brie, Gruyere, Cheddar, Monterey, Jarlsberg, Parmesan etc but not American Cheese - some enlightenment please as I need to expand the cheeses I eat!!
  • americancheese.jpg

    American Cheese is a processed cheese substitute, often sold in individually wrapped single slices, usually yellow, sometimes white, although I won't touch the white stuff, except on a cheese-steak. It is soft and bland and melts very well. It is the only acceptable cheese for grilled or toasted cheese sandwiches and it is the only acceptable cheese for a Philly cheese-steak ( certain old school Philly types will tell you Cheez Whiz is more authentic, but there's a huge difference between authentic and acceptable.) It also works well on cheeseburgers - if you've ever eaten a burger from any American fast food chain, you've probably had American cheese.

    I'll admit that I make grilled cheese the sissy way - I like it best with a panini maker. The best grilled cheese uses Monks' white bread, heavily buttered, on the panini maker, 3 slices for mine, 2 slices for kids. Oh, and if there's any left over bacon in the fridge, I throw that on too.

    Do other people know Monks' bread, or is that a local thing?
  • Thanks amc - I understand now, We do get that kind of cheese here, I just didn't recognise the name. Now I prefer something like Gruyere or Edam in a toasted cheese sandwich, and Brie is also great, especially with ham or bacon too! But actually I'll use whatever happens to be in the fridge.
  • Oh, grilled cheese sandwiches are definitely best made the sissy way. Even a manly man such as myself makes them in a frying pan from time to time, especially if I'm making several. On the other hand, if you want one fast without any fuss or mess, the toast + microwave method produces a decent sandwich. I've tried putting some butter on the toast to make it more like the fried variety, but it comes off as buttered toast with cheese. It's more like a regular grilled cheese if you leave the butter off it. Sometime when I'm cooking I'll have to lightly scorch a few tablespoons of butter and test it on a toast-method sandwich. If it works I could keep some in the fridge.

    The more I think about it the more ironic my choice of the term "sissy" seems. It's clearly more work to make the sandwich the traditional way, and it produces a better result. The toast is the slacker way.
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