Balanced between the ends (the finished spread) and the means (steps in the making) there is an almost endless variety of drawings and photographs related to food in the back issues of Sunset Magazine.The settings range from the homely to the sophisticated.
Left: “Familiar soft ‘Hachiya,’ cut, and in front in basket; rarer soft ‘Tamopan’ at left in basket; and two firm persimmon varieties. Honey and lime are complementary flavors.” Spotlight on a less-common fruit easily grown in California. November 1968, p. 175. (photo: Glenn Christiansen)
Center: Children helping out in the kitchen; a recurring theme, one that makes explicit the relationship of food and family. December 1968, p. 132. (photo: Darrow M. Watt)
Right: “New-wave chef’s salad: toss in cactus strips, tomatillos, hominy, and smoky citrus dressing.” The salad may be new, the chef may be new wave, but the inspiration for the trans-border mixture is classic Sunset. February 1997, p. 90. (photo: Geoffrey Nilsen)
Left: “You can have pork with orange-cranberry sauce, couscous, and broccoli on your table in less than 30 minutes.” One can imagine that the first plate to bear couscous and cranberries at the same time may well have been in Sunset’s West. February 1997, p. 124. (photo: Norman A. Plate)
Center: “Gently, carefully, daughter rolls the dessert. Mother has a plate ready to slip under it. The cheese filling tends to push ahead when rolled, so it is spread more thickly at the starting end. Smooth the filling well out to the sides before rolling it into a log.” April 1958, p. 182. (photo: Esther Litton)
Right: “In electric frying pan beef and bean sprouts can cook on the dining table. Meal’s first course is avocado halves and mandarin oranges. Tray holds bowls of flank steak strips, fresh bean sprouts, green onions, sliced mushrooms, consommé-soy sauce, cornstarch mix.” June 1958, p. 120.
Left: “Rich with the scent of cinnamon, this Mexican custard is a refreshing dessert” - November 1968, p. 204. (photo: Darrow M. Watt)
Center: “You can serve this creamy fruit “cheesecake” with a clear conscience -- it’s made with tofu and it’s high in protein, low calories.” Note emphasis on nutrition consciousness, a long-term focus. February 1978, p. 134. (photo: W. D. A. Stephens)
Right: 1939 May cover. There is an almost abstract feeling to this cover’s table setting. “Give a garden breakfast party! It’s easy, it’s informal, it’s Western.” (photo: Henry Seuter)