MRS. RODMAN WANAMAKER, charming young socialite.
When I first saw this picture I thought “That’s Betty Draper” from Mad Men; WTF! Of course, it’s not Betty – this ad came out in the Fifties so it’s roughly the right era for Betty, but it’s just a coincidence, or perhaps its a testament to how well Mad Men did at getting the visuals right in the series. But one thing this woman shares with Betty is that she’s a prig.
All of the people in these ads are. In the autumn, they throw the old prigskin around, have nightmares about roast suckling prig in the spring (have to write about that one some time), and tell their children the story of the Three Little Prigs. This ad is a good example of putting lipstick on a prig (literally); for potential new customers these cigarettes must have been like buying a prig in a poke. “When prigs fly!” they might exclaim upon seeing these ads if they had an ounce of racial sensitivity in their priggy bones.
This is one of the Tareyton ads that tip the hint that the American Tobacco Company was aiming at the lower tier of the market with this campaign – the double references to low price and value are the giveaway. The patronizing cynicism of the ad is breathtaking; I have to admire its audacity.
Compositing woes: this card-carrying member of the Aryans From Darien is pasted in on top of a photograph of polo players whose sun is on the other side of the sky from hers. The box of cigarettes looks pretty bad too, but what’s up with those fuzzy binoculars?
What to do with Mrs. W? Perhaps we could feature her in Prigs In A Blanket, or one of the many, many versions of Prig’s Feet (on the East Coast, these are often sold as “DAR trotters”) but I think we have a better idea.
Prig Mayonnaise/Holier-Than-Thou Spread (excellent on the upper crust)
Makes roughly 1/2 cup
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup liquid prig fat, left from frying
Warm the prig fat enough to soften it to a liquid stage, but not to a high temperature.
Combine the yolk, mustard and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor or in a blender and process to mix. Season with salt and pepper.
With the food processor running, gradually add the fat until the mixture starts to stiffen. Once it starts to emulsify, you can add the fat more quickly. If the result is too thick you can add MCT oil, if you have some handy; it is tasteless and liquid at room temperature. Otherwise, you could add hot water. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Deep-fry some fingers, salt them, and dip them in this magic sauce. You’re golden!