"Guess who!" said a voice behind Bettina, as two hands blinded her eyes. "Why, Bob, dear! Good for you! How did you get home so early?"
"I caught a ride with Dixon in his new car. And I thought you might need me to help get dinner; it's nice to be needed! But here I've been picturing you toiling over a hot stove, and, instead, I find you on the porch with a magazine, as cool as a cucumber!"
"The day of toiling over a hot stove in summer is over. At least for anyone with sense! But I'm glad you did come home early, and you can help with dinner. Will you make the French dressing for the salad? See, I'll measure it out, and you can stir it this way with a fork until it's well mixed and a little thick."
"I know a much better way than that. Just watch your Uncle Bob; see? I'll put it in this little Mason jar and shake it. It's a lot easier and—there you are! We'll use what we need tonight, put the jar away in the ice-box, and the next time we can give it another good shaking before we use it."
"Why, Bob, what an ingenious boy you are! I never would have thought of that!"
"You married a man with brains, Betty dear! What is there besides the salad?"
"Halibut steak. It's Friday, you know, and there is such good inexpensive fish on the market. A pound is plenty for us. The potatoes are ready for the white sauce, the beans are in the fireless cooker, and for dessert there is fresh pineapple sliced. The pineapple is all ready. Will you get it, dear? In the ice-box in a covered jar."
"Why didn't you slice it into the serving dish?"
"Because it had to be covered tight. Pineapple has a penetrating odor, and milk and butter absorb it in no time."
"What else shall I do, Madam Bettina?"
"Well, you may fix the lemon for the fish. No, not sliced; a slice is too hard to handle. Just cut it in halves and then once the other way, in quarters; see? You may also cut up a little of that parsley for the creamed new potatoes. That reminds me that I am going to have parsley growing in a kitchen window box some day. Now you can take the beans out of the cooker, and I'll put butter sauce on them. No, it isn't really a sauce,—just melted butter with salt and pepper. There, Bobby dear! Dinner is served, and you helped! How do you like the coreopsis on the table?"
"You always manage to have flowers of some kind, don't you, Betty? I'm growing so accustomed to that little habit of yours that I suppose I wouldn't have any appetite if I had to eat on an ordinary undecorated table!"
"Don't you make fun of me, old fellow! You'd have an appetite no matter when, how or what you had to eat! But things are good tonight, aren't they?"
Bob had helped to prepare:
Halibut Steak New Potatoes in Cream String Beans Butter Sauce Bread Butter Tomato, Cucumber and Pimento Salad French Dressing Sliced Fresh Pineapple
(All measurements are level)
Halibut Steak (Two portions)
2/3 lb. Halibut Steak
Wash one pound of Halibut steak and wipe dry. Cut in two pieces. Roll in flour, and cook ten minutes in a frying pan in hot fat. Brown on one side, and then on the other. Season with salt and paprika. Serve very hot.
String Beans with Butter Sauce (Two portions)
1½ C-string beans
Remove ends and strings from green beans. Add water and cook over a moderate fire for twenty-five minutes. Drain off the water, add butter, salt and paprika. Reheat and serve.
Tomato, Cucumber and Pimento Salad (Two portions)
1 tomato sliced
½ C-sliced cucumbers
1 T-pimento cut fine
2 pieces lettuce
Arrange lettuce on serving dishes. Place portions of tomato, cucumber and pimento on the lettuce. Sprinkle with salt and paprika. Serve with French dressing.
French Dressing (Two portions)
4 T-olive oil
Mix ingredients, which have been thoroughly chilled, and beat until the mixture thickens. Pour over the vegetables.
Pineapple Sliced (Two portions)
Remove the skin and eyes from the pineapple. Cut crosswise in half-inch slices, and the slices in cubes, at the same time discarding the core. Sprinkle with sugar and stand in a cold place for an hour before serving.