Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fiesta-ish, at best

When I say "fiesta," what do you imagine? I think of some chips with creamy yet piquant guacamole and fiery salsa, a build-your-own burrito or taco bar, and some sugar and cinnamon dusted churros to round out the meal.

This is decidedly NOT what Jean Hewitt, author of the Family Circle Quick Menu Cookbook (1978), has in mind. I could be generous and suggest that Hewitt would find my dreamy imaginings of a fiesta to be an offensively stereotypical and narrow view of the types of foods served in the Spanish-speaking world, or I could be cynical and suggest that Hewitt has no idea what type of cuisine the word "fiesta" is supposed to evoke.

I'll let you be the judge:

Are you thinking "fiesta"? No? Well, maybe looking at the individual recipes will help. The appetizer:

Broiled mushrooms stuffed with beer cheese? This doesn't necessarily sound bad, but I'd guess the menu theme was "Wisconsin" rather than "fiesta" based on this recipe.

Let's try the main dish:

Ummm... I'd think the word "Kiev" right in the title might tip Ms. Hewitt off to the fact that this recipe isn't exactly fiesta-ready, but at least it's fiesta-fied. There's a little canned green chili in the filling and a bit of taco seasoning (that most authentic of all Hispanic-style ingredients!) in the cheese cracker crumbs used to coat the cutlets. Yes, slightly modified chicken Kiev might be the most appropriate food on the whole menu.

Now what would be an appropriate side?

Ratatouille? Oh, for the love of... Ratatouille? The notes even straight-up acknowledge that this is French! And what makes it go with Wisconsin-style cheese-beer mushrooms and the unholy chicken Kiev-taco seasoning alliance is anyone's guess....

And finally:

This farm recipe might not be too out of place. At least it's got the cinnamon I was hoping for in the churros.

So there you have it: a good old-fashioned Francowisconsikranian farm fiesta!


  1. Hi Poppy!

    I'm thinking the same kind of Fiesta as you. I get the first two recipes because of the cheese ingredient but, the other two, well I'm just not quite sure, lol...It was the 70s after all, lol...Thanks for sharing, Poppy...

    1. I'm sure our ideas of various cuisines will look odd in 40 years too.... At least none of these called for soy sauce or curry powder, the other go-to ingredients for "ethnic" food back then.