Saturday, November 18, 2017

Funny Name: Turn Your Spud and Cough Edition

What is the most sensitive part of the potato? Make-a-Mix Cookery (Karine Eliason, Nevada Harwood, and Madeline Westover, 1978) knows:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A dip into Kraft

Today I'm feeling Krafty.

The Kraft Cookbook: 75 Years of Good Food Ideas (1977, though the 75th anniversary was 1978) offers plenty of food ideas. Whether they're actually good ideas depends largely on your tolerance for Velveeta/ Cheez Whiz, Kraft salad dressings, and marshmallow creme.

Some recipes take perfectly delightful traditional recipes and "modernize" them. Do you love lasagna?

How about if the ricotta is kicked out and replaced with Velveeta? The notes insist that kids will love it, but I suspect the adults will revolt...

And speaking of horrifyingly mangled traditional recipes, how about some guacamole?

Of course the guacamole has to be turned into a gelatin mold flavored with that staple of Southwest cuisine, Italian dressing, because it was the '70s! That's not enough of an indignity, though. The mold also has be filled with Mexi Bean Salad, although I have no clue what makes kidney beans in sweet pickles and French dressing Mexican. The recipe is a lot of work to ruin a couple of defenseless avocados.

The book includes plenty of highly questionable dips, spreads, and dressings. Need something festive to start a fall dinner? Try Festive Fall Fondue:

Applesauce and cinnamon in Cheez Whiz! Teens will dig it. (A lot of old cookbooks claim to be authorities on what teens will love, but I somehow doubt their expertise...)

If you want a dressing for fruit salad, just mix random sweet stuff with mayonnaise! Here are my two favorite examples of the genre:

Mayonnaise with sherbet is a classic choice, but if you want a recipe that really embodies the ethos of this book, it would be hard to do much better than this dressing:

Mayo AND marshmallow creme! If they could just work in some Velveeta, it would be the holy trinity.

Both dressings are supposed to be great on gelatin molds. (I don't think the Guacamole Ring with Mexi Bean Salad was quite the gelatin mold they had in mind, though. At least, I sure hope not!)

Besides all the dips and dressings, the book focuses on (supposedly) kid-friendly cuisine an awful lot. I suspect that some Kraft home economist hated kids just as much as I do. Take this perfectly innocuous-looking after school snack:

We have nubby, golden-brown cookies and a pitcher of a creamy orange drink, with jacks and a ball set off to the side as if the kid was so excited for snack time that the toys were simply tossed aside. The snack looks so sweet and wholesome. So what's in those cookies?

Yes, Bran Apple Cookies are part of the long and ignoble line of recipes that allow desserts to pretend to be healthy as long as there is some fruit and bran flakes hidden away in all the sugar. But look closer. Yes, there's a cup of shredded American cheese in these cookies too! A slice of good Cheddar cheese on apple pie is a polarizing issue, but who is ready to defend American cheese in bran apple cookies?

If you think the beverage must be better... well...

Sunshine Refresher is mostly orange juice. But it's mixed with marshmallow creme to give it the throat-searing sweetness kids love and raw eggs for protein/ salmonella. Someone has got a sick sense of humor if this is the after-school snack. Pretty damn Krafty.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Funny Name: Cooking for Woodland Creatures Edition

Oh, no! You're a good '60s housewife and your kids unexpectedly ask their beaver playmates to come over for lunch! What do you do? Quick & Easy Dishes (Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1968) is prepared for just this scenario:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's a Trap!

Hey, modern girls! Are you trying to develop those cooking skills while you're working in the office until you can land Mr. Right?

If you answered "No," then Jody Cameron Malis is still happy to ignore you in The Office Cookbook (1971).

I think this book was supposed to be at least kind of liberating, aimed at "working women" to help them save up money by making their own lunches in the office on a hot plate or electric skillet rather than ordering out.

While the book has plenty of (awful) standalone recipes, by far the most interesting part of the book is the beginning, with full menus that suggest a slightly different kind of story.

A lot of them suggest the reader is... well... less than devoted to her job.

And even on days when she's not hungover, she can't be particularly good at her job:

Here's a hint: If they already think your typing is lousy, filling the office with the smell of fish and eggs (and commercially canned zucchini? I didn't even realize that was a thing, but apparently it is) is not the way to get the boss-- or anybody else, for that matter-- to think you're a real asset to the company.

Before you get too overconfident about any aspect of yourself, though, remember that you suck at everything, even cooking.

Another tip: If your idea of cooking is heating up a can of beef chow mein and dumping it over instant rice, they will totally know you can't cook.

Maybe it's best just to forget about the work and concentrate on the men:

I am not sure how dumping a can of chicken into a can of Spanish rice is supposed to trap anyone, even if you're clever enough to sprinkle it with a bit of Parmesan and surround it with olives. Noting the serving size, I realize Jody Cameron Malis is not all that convinced this ploy will work either. Nobody's going to want to share, not even the dumbest office bachelor.

This is somehow simultaneously one of the funniest and saddest books in my collection. I love it so much it hurts.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Funny Name: I Ham What I ... Wait, What? Edition

I wonder if the marketing people at Lea & Perrins (The Lea & Perrins Exciting Ideas Cookbook, ca. 1970) chickened out about the name at the last minute because they were afraid Popeye would sue them, but they were too lazy to think of a really new name and just sort of half-assed it.

I'm just disappointed that they didn't put any spinach in it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hold on to your pie pans! You'll only need 517 of them...

It's November, so you know what that means! Time for bright, happy, shiny, sanitized versions of American history and the first Thanksgiving from 401 Party and Holiday Ideas from Alcoa (Conny Von Hagen, 1971). Did I mention shiny? This version is save-all-your-disposable-pie-pans-for-a-couple-years shiny.

See, I was serious. This project requires saving "aluminum pie pans galore!" And then cutting, rolling, taping, gluing, soldering, forging, milling, drilling, and quality control testing hundreds of pie pans to build a friendly pilgrim village and their native friends.

These enormous-headed people seem to be having their own stiff version of fun: the adults heartily shake hands; the kids all try to stare thoughtfully at the same space in the middle distance, imagining the names they might call each other if they could speak the same language; and the town hussy, all dressed up in red like she thinks the rest of the town doesn't notice, closes her eyes and imagines how much better her life could have been if she lived several hundred years in the future.

If you think that crafting this entire party isn't enough work for a month when you're actually supposed to cook a whole turkey with stuffing plus potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffed artichokes, cranberry salad, tossed salad, dinner rolls, fresh biscuits, a couple of cheese balls, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and apple pie (all from scratch, of course), then you're in luck! Just look in the background.

Those settlers need some trees to represent the bountiful forests of their new home!

Just make them from all the extra leftover pie pans and pubic hair painted green.

And the pilgrims had to get here somehow, right?

They all came here in an armor chest plate with weird epaulets! I mean, on a ship! Made out of pie plates!

Even the book acknowledges this might be missing the mark a little:

"It's a ship all right, even if she does not look like the Mayflower. But what do you expect of two pie plates?"

What do we expect, indeed? I expected some entertainment, and I got it. Alcoa has held up their end of the bargain once again.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Funny Name: Horrifying Heads Edition

The name of this recipe from Multi-Power Microwave Cooking from Sears (1975, but mine is from the ninth printing, 1978) conjures up images of extra-creepy friends for the already-creepy Campbell's Soup Kids my grandma used to collect:

The Tomato Noggins would be Campbell's Kids whose parents got... uh... a little too friendly with the tomato soup, so their offspring ended up with tomato heads.

Or it could just be tomato juice mixed with condensed beef broth and vodka. Still kind of scary if you ask me.