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Why CBC's Kate Aitken was talking fruitcake and Stalin on Jan. 1

The CBC women's commentator started her first program for the new year by mixing resolutions, politics and cooking tips.

Radio commentator set the table for listeners at the start of 1953

Kate Aitken, 'Your Women's Commentator' in the CBC studio. (CBC Still Image Library)

What do New Year's resolutions, Joseph Stalin, and leftover bits of fruitcake have in common?

If you dialled your radio to CBC at 10:30 a.m. on New Year's Day 1953, it was Kate Aitken, who was talking about all three.

Mrs. A, as she was known to her on-air sidekick Cy Strange, reached out to homemakers as Your Good Neighbour, Monday through Friday at that time.

Kate Aitken talks about world leaders, New Year's resolutions, and how to make that leftover fruitcake more attractive. 3:04

"Clean sheet this morning," she began, "highways and byways of most of our minds littered with good resolutions."

Looking ahead to the new year, she suggested that last night and this morning everyone would have been wondering: "Is it going to be a good year, is it going to be a bad year, will it bring war, will it bring peace?"  

Which led to the subject of international politics, and a listing of "the people who set the course of our world's events," including Queen Elizabeth, Stalin, Dwight Eisenhower of the United States, "Canada's Lester B. Pearson," and "[Winston] Churchill of course."

"And for goodness sakes," she said, "let's include that person whom we vaguely describe as a housewife."

She added: "Some of us call her mother, some of us call her mum, or even ... sometimes she gets this — 'the old girl.'"  

And that's how Mrs. A deftly switched to a recital of delicious new ways to use that leftover fruitcake, suggesting that one of the housewife's resolutions that day was "to make the food on the table more attractive." 

"Well if it is," she assured her listeners, "this broadcast is right in there with you, pitching and punching."