Saturday, October 4, 2014

Let's carve some grapes!

A new month! The month of ghosts and corn mazes and enormous orange pumpkin faces smiling menacingly into the flame-leaved trees! Today we'll look at Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar (1962) and its take on October.

First up: what's in season?

Okay, I'm a little sad it's not popcorn and pumpkins or something equally Halloween-y, but tomatoes, peppers, and grapes aren't bad. We could always try to carve scary faces into them, although it will be a real challenge with the grapes. Kind of hard to find a knife that small....

So what's our goody for the month? I'm not sure why October should make us want to go out west, but this month has a "Western Get-Together" party:

Well, I do see tomatoes and peppers, so I guess it does go with the month's produce. The picnic-style tablecloth suggests the southwest to me since picnic season is rapidly coming to an end in the more northern areas....

What goes into the dinner? Glad you asked, pardner:

It seems a bit odd that the "Burgers and Spaghetti, Barbecue Style" title doesn't even mention the peppers the spaghetti is stuffed into. The picture shows that peppers are a major component of the meal, and they don't get any space in the headline? That just seems like discrimination to me.

Maybe that's because the peppers are sadly misused. I love me a yummy, retro plate of stuffed peppers, but this recipe just seems to get stuffed peppers wrong. First of all, it takes a food that's hard to eat without causing a huge mess anyway (spaghetti) and stuffs it into peppers so it's even harder to handle. Plus, the pasta is put in plain and topped with sauce. That means diners somehow have to try to mix the sauce and the spaghetti together AND get the strands out of the damn pepper bowl, which just seems superfluous. There's no melding of the pepper and the stuffing, so they're just separate components that make each other all the more awkward.

This is a pretty looking meal, but it would turn ugly fast if I tried to eat it! From pretty pepper bowls to a straggly, potentially soupy mess in minutes.... Maybe it's a metaphor for October: the pretty, crisp, sunny days with brilliant leaves that turn into cold, dark nights hinting that hordes of ugly zombies are on the way. Hmmm.... Maybe putting it that way makes me appreciate the potential pepper menace just a bit more. A little ugliness can be fun.


  1. I'm just left wondering if that's barbeque sauce on the spaghetti instead of tomato sauce. If that's the case, then not only would that be a mess to eat but it would taste yucky as well :P

    1. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's barbecue sauce on the spaghetti! I didn't comment because I hate barbecue sauce, so I thought maybe barbecue sauced spaghetti would sound fine to people who actually like the stuff. It's good to know you share my "ewww!" reaction.