Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Home economics teachers tended* to pride themselves on their frugality and practicality, even if their ideas about being frugal and practical don't always translate well to the real world. (I could see no point to the locker organizer my class had to sew up. I threw it out shortly after I got that "C+" for forgetting to hem the inner edges of the pocket lining that nobody would ever see anyway, Mrs. X. Sorry!)

I guess that's what makes it all the more entertaining when home ec teachers let themselves go on flights of fancy, as they seemed to do for this picture from 1977's Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Foods from Foreign Nations:

I have stared at this for several minutes, and it looks to me as if someone has removed the light bulb from a '70s style hanging light and inexplicably stuffed its glass globe full of ground beef, tomatoes, and rigatoni. Then this individual decided the best use for such an ornament would be to suspend said creation over a lasagna that doesn't seem to fit well in its oval pan, noodles wiggling out in all directions.

I was so enthralled by the hanging beef globe and misshapen lasagna that I nearly missed the serving spoon full of-- raisins? still on their stems?-- ominously looming in the foreground.

Yep. Raisins! And anise! I had never heard of raisins in lasagna before, but a quick web search showed that it's not as uncommon as I might think, although most of the other raisin-containing recipes I found were for white lasagna rather than the tomato variety. I don't particularly like raisins or anise in dessert, and given my aversion to sweet things in main dishes, I'm sure adding them to lasagna would make them doubly repulsive. At least the recipe is practical enough to suggest using a 13"x9" pan instead of the oval casserole dish.

Bonus: When I was scanning today's picture and recipe, something fell out of the book. This is one of my favorite surprises from old cookbooks: discovering what kinds of recipes their owners would clip and stash away for later. I'll let you in on the fun too:

I love that it says, "This is a special recipe," but I wish it would have said why. This looks like a pretty standard oatmeal muffin recipe, so I guess we are left to make up our own reasons for the recipe's specialness. Since it's October and I'm in the Halloween spirit, I'm going to say the recipe is special because Margaret Blue got it from Gunnar Hansen, the guy who played Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is as out of character as Joan Crawford's party dish, which makes the story perfect as far as I'm concerned. You can make up something heartwarming about learning to make the muffins from her grandmother if you prefer to be boring. 

*They now prefer to be called "Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers," hence my use of the past tense.

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