Saucepans & the Single Girl


By Jinx Morgan

By Judy Perry

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around May 10, 2006. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Deliciously retro, beautifully funny, and completely practical, this book is an updated edition of the lighthearted cookbook that made waves in the ’60s. Illustrations throughout.


Warner Books Edition

Copyright © 1965 by Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry

Introduction copyright © 2006 by Jinx Morgan and Judy Perry

All rights reserved.

Warner Books

Hachette Book Group USA

237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at

First eBook Edition: May 2008

ISBN: 978-0-446-54381-1

Reviews for the first edition of

Saucepans and the Single Girl . . .

published in 1965!

"Practical . . . witty."

—Los Angeles Times

"Take a tiny leap from crêpe suzettes to a home of your own. This cookbook of calculating menus . . . tells how to succeed in the business of romance right off the kitchen range."

—New York Herald Tribune

"An entertaining little tome . . . deals with all the problems that beset the wide-eyed girl graduate making her way in the big city."

—San Francisco Chronicle

"Delightful . . . lighthearted manual explains how to move from filing cabinets to flaming desserts. Contains imaginative ideas and kitchen hints for every occasion from posh picnics and midnight snacks for two to big bashes for the gang."

—St. Paul Dispatch

"Written in the bright and breezy style of its namesake, this cookbook should be put on every Christmas gift list which contains the name of a career girl."

—Library Journal

To the cadre of single young women who've braved big cities, small apartments, big dreams, and small salaries . . .

And to the men, young and old, who've succumbed to their culinary and winsome wiles. Bless 'em all.


A dozen red roses to Leila Porteous, our intrepid editor, who believed that Saucepans was as good to go for young women today as it was for the girls of yesterday.

And hats off to Leila's godmother Marian Albee, who first suggested resuscitating the book.

Our special thanks go to Carl Brandt, who has been friend as well as agent for all these years. What can you say about a guy who feeds you scrambled eggs and fine wine during a New York blackout?

Sheila Greenwald's illustrations are as charming as when they appeared in the first incarnation of the book. All the best things are ageless.

A bow to Kallie Shimek, who took our manuscript with its scribbled and scrambled footnotes and pulled it together into a comprehensive whole.

And last, but scarcley least, hugs and kisses to our husbands, Jeff and Jack, who have shared this wonderful journey with us.

Nouvelle Introduction

Many years past on a sunny summer afternoon, Saucepans and the Single Girl was but a chuckle and a whim, sketched out on yellow pads on the beach at Malibu. Just a whim. But that whim wouldn't go away, and before we knew it, we had a book! An honest-to-God hardcover book! We were twenty-four years old.

Fast-forward to 2006. We never dreamed that a new edition would be in demand some forty years later, but we're shamelessly happy to oblige. We've had a great run in the interim and are still taking life in big servings. You get more that way.

Between us, we can lay claim to:

25 houses

Countless dogs and cats of various generic brands

3,267 successful dinner parties

19 just okay dinner parties (blame it on the guests)

2 downright disasters

0 kitchen fires

3 husbands (not simultaneously)

2 perfect children, 3 fabulous stepchildren, and 11 grandchildren (world-class adorable)

Millions of travel miles, not all first-class

12 hurricanes and 7 earthquakes

1 Caribbean hotel

Here's what wasn't on the scene when we wrote the book:


Bread machines

Fusion food

Panini makers


Espresso machines


The Food Network



Casual Fridays

Casual sex

. . . and hooking up was just something you did with a rainbow trout.

Here's what single girls have now that we didn't:




Double lattes

Choo's shoes


Personal trainers


. . . and, best of all, the Wonderful World of Takeout.

We blush at the thought of a few things we endorsed in Saucepans:

Canned everything—from white sauce to wild rice

Dried everything—from chives to parsley

Instant potatoes, tea, coffee—you name it

Meat tenderizer

Cooking wine (well, we were on the cheap back then)

So, forgive us our trespasses. Throughout the new Saucepans, we'll redeem our past and recommend how to use the real thing instead of those pantry pretenders by using these road signs:

Historical update

Pantry/kitchen update

Even better!

What were we thinking?

But if you're miles from your closest fresh-food emporium, your Manolos are killing you, and you've impulsively issued some kind of dinner invitation, go ahead. Fall back on dried, instant, canned. We'll close ranks; count on it.

What's still amazingly seductive:

An elegant meal prepared at home by you, for you and someone whose socks you'd like to knock off.

So! Life is like a sumptuous feast: beautiful to behold, plenty for everyone, and second helpings are even better. Enjoy the banquet as much as we've relished ours and never stop planning the next one. Godspeed!

Jinx Morgan

Judy Perry

Why We Bothered

Three years ago we packed away the proverbial sheepskins and our Chaucer translations and left the ivied halls to become independent and salaried. Since we had managed to maintain our friendship as roommates in college, we had high hopes that the arrangement would prosper off campus as well.

We succeeded in finding jobs, although our dreams of wearing hats to the office faded as we each learned that degrees in English qualify one for a limited realm of responsibility in the business world—usually confined either to preparing the coffee for the office staff or watering the rubber plant.

We also managed to find an apartment, although it, too, fell somewhere short of our ambitions. While it did not have white wall-to-wall carpeting, a sunken Roman bathtub, or even an antique French phone, neither did it have rats, cockroaches, or faulty plumbing. In this life, one learns to grasp at even these small blessings.

Our gay young life all but died aborning. Everything was blissful until we discovered that for all his talent, old Geoffrey Chaucer couldn't help us much when it came to running a domicile artfully with a modicum of money and knowledge. Pride we had; proficiency we had not.

TV dinners or hearty bowls of soup were enough to fill our inner needs, but entertaining caused us many a migraine. We had had visions of divine BBD&O men and intimate little dinners complete with candlelight and wine, but it wasn't long before we realized that it would take more than a fallen soufflé or a sticky fondue to give us the bravado one needs to entertain with ease and rakish glamour.

Things have improved since the days when a boiled egg was too formidable to contemplate, and now we can face a dinner party or a recipe for pâté without blanching. As a result, we feel duty-bound to pass our shoddy little secrets along to other girls who have been pitched unceremoniously into the world of paychecks and pot holders. However, when two rank amateurs invade the exalted realm of haute cuisine, a word of explanation is in order.

This book began to take shape on a warm California day as we sat slothfully reminiscing about those days of near-starvation we survived as fledgling career girls. It occurred to us that there had been cookbooks written for people who love to cook, people who hate to cook, bachelors, gourmets, wolves, and just about everyone but the poor working girl. And so, after begging our friends for all of their battle-scarred recipes and rummaging through our own meager files, we began.

Surrounded by oceans of 3 x 5 cards, we sat down to fill in the one gap still existing on the shelves of cookbook literature. Bearing in mind that most career girls are on strict monthly budgets ($200 for clothes, $20 for taxis, $30 for hairdresser, $50 for rent, $10 for food), we have tried to keep our recipes and menus realistically geared to this type of financial chicanery.

We can't boast gleaming test kitchens with shining aluminum sinks and flameless cooking as do those wonderfully capable and starchy ladies who edit your big fat cookbooks. More often than not, one of us was drying her hair in the oven or our elephantine dog was shuffling about chewing up chapters as fast as we could reel them out. You'll notice, in the chapters we managed to rescue, that we have developed a secret code that is the envy of the CIA. But once the code has been broken, it's really quite simple: a recipe marked * can be found in the index, and a recipe marked † can be refrigerated at that point for later warming.

With the mechanics out of the way, what else can we say except that we've been through it too? We know these recipes work, for we survived. And so can you.


Left-Handed Gourmet OR: Your Right Arm

It's easy enough to delude a male Saturday dinner guest into believing that he has discovered a real jewel of a gourmet, but what about that inevitable night when old Charlie, who fixes your flat tires, repairs your sink, lends you money, and occasionally is caught giving you an adoring glance, buys you a drink after work, God bless him, and you forgetfully invite him up for an intimate little dinner? Hmmmm.

Now if you have been flat-footed and budget-minded, you have nothing but that dreary pound of ground round that you put out this morning, and your larder boasts a dandy box of instant rice and some dehydrated potatoes. This is fine for an evening of soul-searching with Dr. Kildare, but you just can't do it to Charlie.

Your pantry will be a godsend at a time like this when you're hearing the death knell of your reputation as a cook. You'll feel a lot better about the fifty cents you spent on marinated artichoke hearts last week. Our first apartment didn't afford us the luxury of a pantry, and we were forced to keep our goodies in old Macy's boxes under the beds. It was a bit embarrassing if we forgot to get them out before our guests arrived, for we felt slightly silly saying, "Excuse me, I'm just getting the wild rice," as we groped around under the bed. To this day, we have friends who swear that we had our own paddy under there. But no matter where you stash them, you'll need these items at least for emergency purposes; so find a good hiding place, and keep it a secret that wild mastodons couldn't drag out of you.

If you're half as innocent as we were when we left those ivied halls for the Big Life, you'll need the following lists to start your shopping. If, after reading them, you're feeling very smug because, of course, you didn't need someone to tell you all those silly old things, then forget it. This book is for domestic fledglings who are either not afraid to admit it or just plain can't hide it.

The following dull little items are just that, but we'll bet you won't be able to live without them.

Baking Powder

Baking Soda

Bouillon Cubes (Chicken and Beef)

Coffee (Instant and Ground)


Cracked Black Pepper (There is a difference)

Dried Milk Concentrate

Dry Mustard

Egg Noodles



Garlic Powder

Instant Minced Onion

Instant Potatoes


Lemon Juice (Bottled)


Meat Tenderizer




Plain Gelatin


Precooked Instant Rice

Salad Dressing (Dehydrated)

Salad Oil



Soups (You'll use gallons of cream of mushroom, possibly onion)


Sugar (Granulated White, Brown, and Powdered)

Tabasco Sauce

Salad Oil

Salad oil is really sort of a generic term. Actually, there are two kinds of oil that should interest you. Use canola oil for times when you don't want the richness and flavor of olive oil. Don't know when that might be? A salad dressing is excellent with olive oil, unless it's Asian in nature. Then we'd use peanut oil and rice wine vinegar. Sauté meats in olive oil. Keep them both on hand and buy in small amounts; oil can turn rancid. Eeeuw.

Tea Bags


Wine Vinegar

Worcestershire Sauce

One last pantry update. Check out the Asian section of your supermarket. Experiment with hoisin, plum sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, and black bean sauce. These are great to smear on chicken, ribs, and fish and will add to a killer salad dressing.

The most mundane cook uses herbs and spices, even if it be only paprika; but if you're going to feign the role of a gourmet, your reputation will increase in proportion to the number of mysterious jars and cans on your shelf. We have a friend whose shaker-topped spices have long since plugged up (the nasty little things have a way of doing that), yet she still wields those bottles with furor—says it fools her guest and makes her feel better.

Use them lavishly and experimentally. The list may seem long when you consider that there are only two days out of the week that you'll be taking the time to whip up Chicken Cacciatore or a tempting Herbed Roast Leg of Lamb, but remember that even you and your roommate are going to get awfully bored with string beans melted down every night, and you never know what you can pitch in the pot with them if you have plenty of herbs. It's a good idea to buy them in airtight containers, as they dry up easily.


Bay Leaves

Beau Monde

Cayenne Pepper

Chili Powder


Curry Powder

Dill Weed



Minced Parsley Flakes



Onion Salt







Here's a subject we want to deal with and be over it. Most often, fresh herbs are a bright note in your dish, one that dried herbs can't attain. But! You'll soon learn which ones are stellar in their virgin, fresh state and which ones can stand being dried and confined to a little glass prison. Ones we think are quite okay in jars (try, a fantastic source):

Assorted Chile Powders: Ancho, Chipotle, Adobo


Garlic Salt

Herbes de Provence

Italian Herb Seasoning




Be sure to keep them in the dark—literally. They'll keep longer away from light and heat.

Ones that aren't as pungent when dried and therefore not as effective (most supermarkets now carry fresh herbs, but if you have a green thumb, try growing your own on a windowsill):





Just remember that there's an important exchange rate when swapping fresh for dried. You'll need to use two to three times the amount of dried when substituting with fresh.

You're going to have to break down and buy the following staples for your refrigerator, but best to buy in niggling little amounts for weekday needs, as they spoil. Since they're not wickedly high in calories or imagination, we hate to waste money on them.




Cheeses (Gourmet departments offer wheels of delightfully stinky cheeses that will supplement the usual cheddar and provolone or Monterey Jack)


Green Onions




Obviously, if you have inherited the usual apartment refrigerator with a freezer that would give a single drumstick claustrophobia, you'll have to forgo most of the following. Whatever you do, don't give up ice cubes; you need them after a long day over a hot typewriter.

French Bread (Cut in serving size and then freeze)

Frozen Chives

Frozen Fruits

Frozen Juices

Frozen Vegetables


The next list is one from which you can pick and choose as you will, and it's by far the most fun. The greatest part of it is that these are the blessed items that always saved us on those dreadful evenings when old Charlie was just standing there shuffling and waiting for a repeat on those Rock Cornish game hens.

Artichoke Hearts (Both Marinated and Plain Canned or Frozen)

Bread Crumbs

Canned Crabmeat

Canned Hollandaise Sauce

Canned Medium Shrimp

Canned Mushrooms

Canned Sardines

Canned White Sauce

Canned Wild Rice (Never, never attempt the start-from-scratch kind—you're doomed if you do)

Chutney (a horrendous expense, but well worth it)

Cooking Wine (Sherry, Burgundy, and a Dry White)


Garlic Spread (Prepared)

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Grated Romano Cheese (Good in salads)


Instant Espresso

Olive Oil

Slivered Almonds

Smoked Oysters

Smoked Salmon (Good luck trying to find it)

Soy Sauce

Honest-to-Goodness Tea Leaves

Tomato Paste

Tomato Sauce

Tuna (Of course)

White Sauce

Okay. We're going to deal with this right up front and admit our embarrassment at this suggestion. Never buy canned cream sauce. Below we've given you the easiest answer, adapted from the esteemed Ms. Child:

Cream Sauce

Melt 2½ tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Blend in 3½ tablespoons flour to make a smooth paste. Stir over medium heat until it foams for a couple of minutes. It should be a (what else?) buttery yellow. Remove from heat. When the bubbling stops, add 1½ cups hot milk, whisking with fervor until blended. Now whisk more slowly, getting into all the areas of the saucepan. Slowly dribble in up to another ½ cup hot milk to desired consistency. Should coat the spoon nicely. To keep skin from forming, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the sauce. Will keep for 3 days. Reheat very gently.

Now, if you're in a pinch, Contadina, Buitoni, and other reliable producers of Italian food package an Alfredo sauce (both light and not so light) that is just fine. You'll want to thin it down a bit with some chicken broth, maybe add a little thyme or whatever complements your dish, but trust us. It works. It's only cream sauce—béchamel in Julia Child's world, mon enfant—with a bit of Parmesan added. Consider it seriously. Just hide that plastic container in the trash compactor. That's something else we didn't have in 1965!

An awesome list and even more frightening to pay for if you attempt to bring in the above harvest all at one time. Try buying only one or two of the exciting items when you're picking up ground round and peanut butter. If you amortize the expense this way, you may even succeed in fooling yourself.


Never, never neglect to have a budget-busting bottle of Mumm's on hand for celebrating raises and broken engagements (whew!), and don't forget that a meal is only a meal without wine.

And so here we are at that grim little subject that we kept hoping would go away. Nevertheless, our frail knowledge of wines will get you through an evening quite passably. From there on, you're on your own. Should the subject hook you, there are several kindly gentlemen who have thoughtfully written entertaining and learned theses on it.

Before you ever approach the problems of nomenclature and nonsense, remember the first simple rules and you'll always be safe:

1. If you're not sure of the wine, it's a good idea to serve red wine with red meat and white with white meat. In general, red is good with steaks, chops, roasts, cheese dishes, and Italian food. Less expensive red wine is good for marinating cheap cuts of meat and for adding to stews or other meat-vegetable casseroles. White wine complements more delicately flavored foods—seafood, poultry, omelets, and even scrambled eggs. Should you feel adventurous, there's no harm in mixing your wines and meats. It's an old rule that need not be observed rigidly.

2. Red wines, especially the heavy, full ones, should be served at room temperature. This does not mean leaving them on the fire escape in the midst of a New York summer. Most white wines are best when thoroughly chilled; rosé should also be chilled.

3. Remember that dry or medium-bodied wines are best served with main dishes; save the sweet wines for desserts or fruits.

4. A tulip-shaped glass is an adequate and acceptable means of serving almost all wines—even Champagne, according to many experts.

5. Try to buy your wine from a liquor store that has an extensive wine cellar. The owner or manager will most likely be more qualified to give you accurate advice on which wines are dry or sweet, tart or soft, etc. Don't be afraid to ask questions—it's flattering.

6. All wines should be stored horizontally. This allows the sediment to settle and prevents the cork from drying out. The cork, incidentally, should be about two inches long.

7. Wine snobs suggest—and wisely so—opening the bottle an hour or so before the meal to allow the wine to "breathe." If you'll put the bottle in a basket carrier then, the sediment will settle again by mealtime. Don't wave the bottle around like a baton as you bring it to the table.

8. On all bottles of imported wines, look for the words Appellation Contrôlée


On Sale
May 10, 2006
Page Count
256 pages

Jinx Morgan

About the Author

Jinx Morgan has coauthored several books and written articles on food, wine, and travel, including a column in Bon App´etit magazine which ran for more than 20 years. She and her husband live in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, where they own the Sugar Mill Hotel.

Judy Perry has taught creative writing, pursued her own fiction writing and enjoys a successful career as a commercial and residential designer. She lives with her husband in Wells, CA, where she runs her design firm, Judith Perry Designs.

Learn more about this author