Saturday, October 14, 2017

Funny Name: Trust No One Edition

I have a feeling this recipe from The Best of Home Economics Teachers Bicentennial Cookbook (Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1975) is trying to pull one over on me...

I am just not sure what the trick is supposed to be. What is the deception in "Corned Beef Deception Salad"? Is the title meant to openly admit that these gelatinous horrors aren't actually edible, or is there some other layer of deception I'm missing?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Just eat an apple and keep the doctor out of your business

Today we have a book from The Kroger Food Foundation that tries to tell what to do When the Doctor Says "Diet" (1933):

Apparently, you get to eat two hard cooked eggs on a very sparse bed of parsley. Yippee. That guy's eyebrow arch of dismay could challenge Stephen Colbert's.

The book has plenty of concoctions of approximately the same "yum" value as the eggs and parsley. The section on liquid diets offers a variety of grimace-worthy options.

Some are pretty simple:

Toast soda crackers and then boil for fifteen minutes. Strain and serve.

If straining soggy crackers out of hot water doesn't sound quite exciting enough, there is a more labor-intensive version:

Soak barley or rice overnight, drain, cook for six total hours (two over direct heat, then four more in a double boiler), strain, and chill.

The alternative to strained-out carb-water is the protein option:

Egg white in clam broth! (I'm not sure whether calling the egg white albumen in the title makes this better or worse...)

And if liquids get too monotonous, there is always (ALWAYS) an aspic:

It's not all liquid diets, though. You know how gluten is the dietary bad guy in so many food stories today? It was not always so. Here's a bread recipe recommended for diabetics:

Gluten Bread gets rid of the other trappings of wheat and just keeps the gluten. (I'm seriously wondering what the texture of this would be like, as I eat a lot of seitan-- which is basically gluten with savory seasonings, made into chewy, meat-like chunks. I can't imagine trying to turn that into a passable slice of bread, but maybe the addition of yeast makes a difference?)

There aren't a lot of recipes in the booklet, though. Much of it is lists of menus for various types of diets (high carb, low carb, extra roughage, low roughage, high iron and copper...). Just to give you an idea of how different America was in 1933, here's a diet recommendation we don't often see anymore:

This is the high calorie diet. Even though parts of it are pretty clearly high calorie (scrambled eggs with cream and bacon at breakfast, a milk shake and cookie snack), I'm surprised how much of this overlaps with weight-loss diet foods. Apparently vegetable aspics and grapefruits were inescapable facts of life back then. Even saying that you were trying to gain weight wasn't enough of an excuse to skip them. (At least you could apparently count macaroni as a "vegetable of high caloric value," so that was something...)

My favorite item on the list might be the prune and pineapple salad with mayonnaise. You could try to force that on me all day long, and I wouldn't gain an ounce.

In any case, I don't know whether I'm gladder that I don't have to follow a doctor-recommended diet in 1933 or that I don't have to cook someone else a doctor-recommended diet in 1933. I'm also glad we don't need a damn aspic at every meal.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Funny Name: Erase the Browser History Edition

The name of this recipe from Quick & Easy Dishes (Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1968) sounds like it could be the title for some kind of fetish porn:

I can think of several scenarios where "Beat 'n' Eat" might be an appropriate label, but I will leave you to your own imaginations, you pervs.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Foil Freaks on the Doorstep

Okay, I have to be honest. Halloween is 90% of the reason I bough 401 Party and Holiday Ideas from Alcoa (Conny von Hagen, 1971) in the first place.

It's true that I can't resist dark steps illuminated by otherworldly-looking foil jack-o-lanterns:

Foil lollipop ghosts provide some good comic relief.

Who else would eye a mound of boring old apples with such excitement?

I find long-necked cats that look like stress balls with pop-out eyes to be hilarious, especially when they have giant popcorn-ball butts.

None of them was the reason I picked this up. Prepare yourself for the picture that will haunt your dreams... for the nightmare children who will stalk you from the corners of your subconscious mind...

Maybe I'll just give you the instructions on how to make their masks first, so you can back out while there's still time:

Doesn't sound too bad, right? Fifteen foil sheets around a big balloon, deflate, cut openings, and decorate. The kids can be shiny goblins or whatever.

Are you sure you want to see this? I mean, are you really sure?

The masks are something you can't un-see.

And that is what makes them perfect.

I don't know where to begin, so I'll start with the most puzzling/ least horrifying one in the back. The kid is just wearing an enormous ball with a circle cut out for the face. Is it a big old-timey diving helmet? Is it a baseball with some serious structural integrity issues? I think it's supposed to be an astronaut helmet, as it looks kind of like the Space Party helmet, and it has some kind of an antenna-like thing sticking out of the top. In any case, the kid is blissfully unaware of how creepy this picture is.

The witch looks goofy with her big lipsticked smile under a comically long nose.She seems self-conscious about being less menacing than the ostensibly-friendlier characters in the foreground, clasping a jack-o-lantern to verify her Halloween bona fides.

Next to the witch is the bear. I think it's supposed to be a panda, but it must have bleached its arms and ears, maybe as part of the beauty treatment that also glued a paper flower collage on top of its head. Maybe panda shouldn't creep me out as much as it does, but that big head with the hollow eyes... It looks like something that would suddenly be staring at teenagers making out in a horror movie, glimpsed only briefly before the camera refocuses on a butcher knife (or maybe butterfly sword, if they want to carry through with the Chinese theme)...

That clown in the front, though! This evil magic is the reason I picked the Alcoa book up. Just look at the kid wearing a boring winter jacket and striped gloves, daring anyone to observe that it's not even remotely a clown outfit. And clown is going to get away with it, too. I mean, look at that head:

Look at it! Haphazard green hair! Enormous hollow eyes! (Is there even a kid under there?) Ruff that's clearly made from dead grandma's housedress! Painted-on smile around a mouth that's big enough to swallow your soul!

The woman cheerfully offering up her tray of candy apples and cheap taffy must have taken a couple days' worth of Valium to prepare.

This picture is why you're reading about foil handicrafts all year. Now you know what to thank/ blame.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Funny Name: Keeping It All for Myself Edition

This cake from Catalina's Cactus Cuisine (Catalina Junior Woman's Club of Tucson, Arizona, 1968) is really just a Wacky Cake by another name.

I'm not sure naming a chocolate cake after a super-sized outhouse is a great idea. Well, unless you want the entire chocolate cake to yourself, in which case, well played, Joan. Well played.

P.S.- You can be thankful I didn't go with the Urban Dictionary version of three-holer. (I'm sure that's not what Joan meant anyway.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It's a portal to ... some recipes anyway

I feel as if I should have some kind of interesting sound effects for you today since you're going through a portal.

It's the Portal to Good Cooking from the Women's American ORT (1959)! (ORT stands for Organization of Rehabilitation through Training, a Jewish organization that is apparently still around today.)

I wasn't sure how to pick recipes in this one, so I've made up a soup/bread/salad lunch for your enjoyment.

I'm actually going to be generous and give you choice of soups! You can go old world and have a bors[c]ht:

I thought borsht was a beet soup, but this clearly has no beets in it. Apparently the term can apply to sour soups of Eastern European origin. So if thawed spinach and mushy rhubarb floating in cold water is your thing, this soup's for you!

If you want something a little more substantial, how about quick pea soup?

Just puree leftover peas with hot dogs, onion, and water, then heat! Yum!

Of course, we need a good bread to go with the soup... but might cupcakes be more fun?

Okay-- Salmon Cupcake Puffs might not be exactly what anyone has in mind when they hear "cupcakes." And I guess they're not so much a bread as a wad of salmon, sour cream, and corn flakes bound with an egg. On the plus side, this is definitely the most surprising cupcake recipe you'll see today.

Then for salad (or maybe dessert? You know how those old "salad" recipes work.), we can have a nice mold:

The gelatin is unflavored, and the cream and cottage cheeses could go either way. The grapes and pecans say "dessert," but the chives whisper "salad." The garnish of avocado and pistachio doesn't really help with the salad v. dessert question, so I will leave you to decide for yourself.

It's probably the most fun you'll get out of this lunch unless you really love hot dog puree.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Funny Name: Don't Talk to Me in the Morning Edition

I know the name from Make-a-Mix Cookery (Karine Eliason, Nevada Harwood, and Madeline Westover, 1978) is supposed to evoke granola...

...but Gruffins just sound like muffins you don't want to talk to before they've had their first cup of coffee.