After WWII, many returning GI's married and settled in the suburbs. A house with a backyard was one of the status symbols of American middle-class. How best to show off one's backyard? Men proudly did the grilling. Wives did the planning and prep-work based on suggestions offered by contemporary magazines and cookbooks. James Beard's Complete Book of Barbecue & Rotisserie Cooking (1954) was one of the "bibles" for American home barbecues.
The Good Housekeeping Cook Book recommended meats include: big steaks, little steaks, king steak, salt-grilled sirloin steak, barbecued spareribs, heavenly hamburgers, hot franks, grilled ham, barbecued bologna roll, and beef alfresco, kabobs, charcoal-grilled chicken, charcoal-grilled duckling, fish fries and barbecues, and shellfish alfresco. Fresh grilled vegetable recipes feature corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Grilled French & Italian breads, grill-baked breads, rolls and muffins, garlic-buttered slices and a variety of hot grilled sandwiches were also recommended. Dessert could be prepared on the grill. Popular items were caramel roast apples, walnut roast, fried marshmallows, baked bananas, and "Marshmallow Treats," (similar to S'Mores).