About Dinner is Served!

Dinner is Served is a plastic, guacamole-colored box that contains cards that provide the menu for entire meals: entrees, side dishes and desserts. Sometimes there are even appetizers. They also supply a handy time-line so dinner can be served at 6pm (when your husband arrives home from work).

In my set there are 118 cards total.

1-90 are complete meals

91-98 are supplementary cards (sides and desserts)

99-118 are salads, brunch dishes, assorted snicky-snacks and more complex desserts.

The set that I have belonged to my Gramsy and she never, ever, made a single meal from them. That is according to my mother.

From what visitors to my site have told me, the cards were available through gas stations. And they were most definitely right!

Here is an advertisement from The Prescott Courier, February 16, 1972

courier

So obviously they were available at Standard Stations and Chevron Dealers in Arizona, Southern Nevada, and South Eastern California. Here’s a closer look at the sweet artwork. I love that it’s a drawing and not a photograph:

chevron2

Miss Surly over at Vintage Recipe Cards actually got her hands on some unopened sets and was kind enough to send over some pictures. Check these out!

dinnerisservedwrapped2 dinnerisservedwrapped

Although I had heard online rumors that recipe cards above 118 existed, I could never confirm it. Well, not until August 2011. They do exist. They were published in 1973. I can’t get my hands on the actual cards, but there is a helluva guy named Danny in northern Alabama who is going to scan me the cards from 118 to 205. TWO-OH-FIVE! I have seen the first few cards and they are something to behold.

Here is a preview:

184-187a

Number 187 looks like a real winner.

*Dinner is Served was published in 1972 by Marjon Promotions, Inc. All images/recipes/whatnot belong to them. Please don’t sue me (if you still exist).

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31 Responses to About Dinner is Served!

  1. Kerry Kelty says:

    This is a great idea, Emily. That box struck a nostalgic chord and gave me a chuckle. “Avocado” (along with gold) was the kitchen color of the ’70′s! Did your Gramsy have appliances to match? I look forward to reading how your dinners turn out.

    • Yinzerella says:

      Yes, my Gramsy had “goldenrod” appliances in her house in Lawrenceville.
      My mother also told me that she remembers this box sitting on the counter for over 20 years, untouched.

  2. Dillon says:

    Hell Yes! This is awesome…

  3. Pingback: 112. Souffles | Dinner is Served!

  4. Michelle says:

    Having lived through the awful Seventies, I know … you are one brave girl. Love the blog! And, oh, that avocado box brings back so many (yeah, mostly bad) memories!

  5. susannye says:

    Emily – Not a huge fan of mid-century cooking but I love your story. There was no green box at our house but these were the kinds of recipes that my mom often made. Lot’s of fun to see them! Take care, Susan

  6. Cameron Close says:

    #9 Lentil Soup still in use at our house – the only recipe remaining. You go girl!

  7. Joyce Matthews says:

    Emily, I was searching for the recipe for stuffed green peppers, having lost most of my original cards long ago in one of many moves. And I found you!! Talk about memory lane – my cards were free with a fillup of gas at Chevron in the early seventies (for $1.49 you could get the green box). As a young mum, the timeline was really helpful, as was the menu planning. My kids are now in their thirties, but still have memories of those peppers, pepper steak, beef stroganoff and many more yummy productions. And the plating!! You know, we really loved those times, I have to admit, and my husband loved my novice attempts at all the new creations. Thanks for your blog – and your great Project!

  8. Kathy says:

    I received these from my dad, who was a fabulous cook, when I was 17 years old (1972). He collected them at the local gas station and gave them to me as a gift. He probably never thought I would use them. That summer, my mom traveled to Europe for several weeks so I was left to cook every night for my dad and three brothers and sisters while my mom was away. Wow. What an experience. I made about thirty of these recipes and they were all great. Most notable was the lasagna and the Filet of Sole a la Lindor. I always wanted to make #5 Stuffed Crown Roast of Rib, but I was tjust oo intimidated at the age of 17. I found a seller on ebay who had all these great recipe cards and I just recevied them in the mail. I have an opportunity to tackle card #5 now that I am a more expereinced cook. My aunt still jokingly recalls when I called her in a panic one evening asking her to describe a “roasting pan.” I had no idea what one looked like and my roast was ready to go into the oven. Emily – I love your project. Enjoy!

  9. Cameron Close says:

    I came very close to buying these myself about a month ago. Your story is much better than mine, I am glad you were able to buy them! Bonne appetite!

  10. Dan Macey says:

    I hated Julia and Julie and so did Julia (as you know from the book). I knew Julia Child and I think she would have loved your project — especially combining the memories — or this case, non-memories — of the recipes and the retro-cooking aspect. I belong to a history foodways group that concentrates on Colonial cooking but love what we are now calling “vintage” recipes — that is recipes from the last 50 years.
    I too had a recipe box “helper” but it was orange. You got new recipes every month. After my father left my mother to raise us alone, I become responsible for cooking and that orange box was a lifesaver. Spaghetti Pie, was a big hit. After each meal, my brother and sister and mother would rate the meal and whether we would make it again or not. I still have it and am now going to haul it out and place in right on the counter — maybe even put a spotlight on it — maybe not for actual dinner but at least inspiration.
    Dan Macey, professional food stylist, dantasticfood

    • Yinzerella says:

      Dan, I haven’t read the book but saw the movie. And every time Amy Adams was on screen I’d think, “put Julia back on!” Julia (and Meryl’s portrayl) were a 1000 times more interesting. By saying that you think the legendary Julia Child would love my project–well, you just made my September.
      I’m very happy that you found yourself here. Thanks for reading and thank you for sharing your story. I hope you do bring out the orange recipe box. Sometimes a dish like Spaghetti Pie hits the spot!

  11. Cameron Close says:

    Nice story, Dan!
    It sure is interesting how a confluence of various unrelated “happenings” make us who we are!

  12. Sara Mattson says:

    The orange box survived a major kitchen remodel 10 years ago, at the time I wasn’ sure why I was keeping it when many things went to Good Will. In 1975 I received the Betty Crocker cards as a wedding present. One set arrived each month. Many of them became favorites of my family, the most popular was the Good Beef Stew #451. I found this site when I could not locate the Frank Fiesta card. It also was a favorite of my children’s so I wanted to make it for my visiting grandson. Many happy family dinners were created by the recipes in that orange box I don’t think it will be put back on the counter but I may pull it to the front of the cupboard in which it’s stored. FYI this week is our 37th wedding anniversary.

  13. Eric R says:

    Oh my gosh. Until I just saw this blog, I had absolutely no idea that this green box was supposed to come with pre-printed recipes. My Grammy used one to keep her own recipes in, and I just assumed it had been made as a recipe holder! She must have gotten it from somebody and said “are you kidding, I’m not making any of this” but decided to keep the box anyway. Wow. Wow. Also, having been born in 1972, when people apparently made stuff like this, I’m astonished I survived to adulthood.

    • Yinzerella says:

      Eric, thanks for the heads up on the GuyFieri blog. OH MY.
      I’m glad that you came upon my blog–I hope that you come back to see more of the recipes that your Grammy unceremoniously tossed to make room for her (most likely infinitely better) personal dishes.

  14. Eric R says:

    Also, if you haven’t seen it, there is another funny food blogger doing a Julie and Julia type thing, only with the godawful Guy Fieri cookbook. It is highly amusing. http://gwyneddandguyproject.tumblr.com/

  15. kathy says:

    …Well I loved it all… julie and julia the book and the movie and the blog….so there…!!!
    How could anyone not like any of it. In fact I have the dvd and I even pvr’d it one day and it’s my goto movie lateatnightwhennothingelseisonat 2am…..or else it’s steel magnolia’s or fried green tomatoes.
    I gotta say…that I personally think that julia child became toooooo much of a diva in the end, if she didn’t find any sort of enjoyment in the project before it became a book. If she wasn’t such a “………….” (fill in the blank) perhaps the blog would have been even better than it was. The original project was nothing short of a fan letter than probably did wonders $$$$ to her (julia child’s) bottom line in the end. I always thought she was a bit of a bitch about the whole thing.

  16. Sanv Stuff says:

    I still hacve this box of recipes and (still) make a lot of them. I started as a teenager in the 70′s and continued to use it until I got married (and then my wife wanted to cook her own stuff). Everything came out well I have every card in the set except for card 80: Tuna on Toasted English Muffin (my favourite dish as a teenager). If anyone has that card, i will trade it for all the other ones (cards 1-96, which includes the supplements) which I have scanned as color PDF files). snavstuff2@yahoo.com

  17. Gail S says:

    I too still have this wonderful box of recipes with one missing now, I believe it is #93 Cherry Crisp. If anyone has this please email it to me. This box of recipes is still a favorite of mine and my family………which I’m sure one of whom has my #93

  18. My ol’ man and I married in ’72 and also acquired his two little girls, almost 5 and almost 3. Somewhere I got this wonderful green treasure chest of recipes! These great recipes were regulars in our house. Our girls grew up on them. Many changes over the years, and the green box took a back seat to Jacques Pepin, James Beard, Julia, Pierre Franey. I’m a pretty good cook now, but getting a bit lazy. Though I’ve always stuck with the old green box for its lasagna. Wonderful. Otherwise, it just sat. Only recently have I returned to it when I want something yummy, easy, and fun.

    My set has 90 recipe cards with main dish and suggestions of stuff to go with it, plus timetable, and six more cards with small recipes, several to a card, for veggies and extras.

    I would LOVE to see those new recipes. Any chance of putting them online?

    Peace & cheer,
    Margot

    • Yinzerella says:

      Margot–I love it when people share their happy memories of Dinner is Served!

      Yes, they will definitely be online. I just have to finish the original dinners first! I am definitely closing in on it–I am hoping to get it all finished by the end of winter and then I can unleash the insanity that is the second set!

      And believe me, some of them are INSANE.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. tschodowski says:

    My sister just pulled out the green box and is at this very moment cooking #24 Hungarian Goulash. It smells wonderful! She said that back in the 70s, she used to make #20 Meat Sauce for Spaghetti and #47 Mexican Chili Con Carne, and they came out so good that they gave her the confidence to do more cooking. I noticed that a lot of the recipes use wine and mushrooms, which were not all that commonly used back in the 70s. My sister is now a great cook, and she credits these cards with getting her started.

  20. TidiousTed says:

    Annie in NOLA has been kind enough to nominate me for a Libster Award and now I’m nominating you

    There are some rules to being nominated: • Answer the questions you were given by the person who nominated you • Keep the ball rolling and nominate 11 new blogs with 500 followers or less • Post 11 new questions for your nominees to answer • Tag your nominees and be sure to leave a comment on their blog letting them know they’ve been nominated.

    My questions to you is:
    1 Country side or city, what do you prefer?
    2 Cats or dogs, what do you prefer?
    3 What were your hobbies when you were a kid?
    4 Why did you start to blog?
    5 Favourite holiday destination?
    6 Favourite kind of music?
    7 Favourite kind of food?
    8 Favourite book of all times?
    9 Wine or beer, what do you prefer?
    10 Hiking or luxury hotel, what do you prefer?
    11 Watching TV or surfing the net, what do you prefer?

    If this has no interest for you just forget the whole thing, if it sounds interesting start answering the questions and find 11 blogs you like to nominate

    Greatings from Ted at Recipereminiscing

  21. Pingback: 56. Sukiyaki | Dinner is Served 1972

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