Sunday, December 22, 2013

Choose your own (sad) tradition!

It's the time of year to bring out the retro recipes-- the ones that have been made every year for who knows how long (or for what reason...). If you lack traditional recipes of your own or need some last-minute sides to make you feel as if you're fixing something that is required by family tradition (but not necessarily because anyone actually likes it), here are a few Christmas recipes from Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers New Holiday Cookbook (1974).

First up: If the notorious green bean casserole doesn't make an appearance on your table every year and you can't quite bring yourself to make it despite your curiosity, here is a vintage variation:

I'm sure the canned asparagus spears will make the canned cream of mushroom soup and fried onions a lot classier than the canned green beans do. With water chestnuts to add a styrofoam-y texture and hard-cooked eggs to add random egg bits, it's an instant classic.

If you prefer sweeter sides and can't resist the allure of a promised "surprise," this next recipe is for you:

Roll mashed sweet potatoes around marshmallows, then coat in crushed corn flakes and bake until they explode. Serve with brown sugar glaze. Brag about how you get your kids to eat their vegetables without ever disclosing that the vegetable to sugar ratio is roughly 1:1.

Lastly, a gift for the gelatin salad fanatics:

Rainbow creme! There is no finer way to give friends and family salmonella by feeding them raw egg whites whipped with gelatin. I'm not quite sure what to think of the layers. The gelatin is unflavored, so the bottom layer would be chocolate gelatin, topped by a layer of maraschino cherry and lemon extract gelatin, crowned by vanilla and pecan layer. It sounds more odd than festive to me, but at least it's pretty!

If artificial sweetener were substituted for sugar, the bottom layer used nonfat dry milk powder and chocolate extract in place of the real chocolate, and the top layer left out the nuts in favor of some almond extract, this would be a vintage Weight Watchers recipe, I suspect.

I think I just blew my mind.


  1. I think you just blew my mind! Oh the horrid recipes we were exposed to in those days. Although, that Sweet Potato dish does seem more toward some peoples traditional serving of Marshed Sweet Potatoes!!!

    I do believe one of the first flavors that the folks at Jell-O served was chocolate. Now I'm sure as to why it was quickly done away with!

    Thanks for sharing, Poppy. In case i don't make it back here before, A very Merry Christmas to You and Yours Poppy!!!

    1. Chocolate Jell-O doesn't sound good, but in my mind it sounds marginally better than the "salad" Jell-O (in flavors like celery and mixed vegetable).

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  2. I just checked Poppy. There was indeed a chocolate Jell-O. It's advertised in one my older Jell-O books. I agree though, chocolate would be much better than celery Jell-O!