Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How stupid are "they"?

Now that I've bored you to death by looking at the politics of some of the menus in The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (edited by Dorothy B. Marsh, 1963), let's lighten things up by laughing at the titles of a couple more menus. (Okay, maybe I should have started out with this post. Kind of dumb to kill you off first and then write more when the post will be little more than a reflection on your glazed-over eyes. I never claimed to be bright, though.)

The title of this menu sounds like a challenge:

They'll eat anything with hamburger, huh? Canned tamales? Birdseed? Cow pies? Tacky lawn ornaments? Just the name would make me want to push the envelope on this one.

The menu is not nearly as sadistic as I imagine, though. The hamburger mixed grill suggestions are for the most part pretty tame (grill hamburgers with tomatoes, mushroom caps, and French bread slices), although the alternative suggestion to grill hamburgers with bacon and banana halves strikes me as a bit scary. (I'm sure someone out there thinks that sounds like a great combination. Just slather a little peanut butter on the hamburger bun and you've got yourself a sandwich Elvis might have been proud of.)

If you're curious about "Ripple-Style Tapioca Special," it is a suggestion to fold some extra ingredient into tapioca pudding before serving it. Try whipped cream, chocolate sauce, canned fruit, or the '50s favorite that was apparently still going strong, miniature marshmallows!

If the first title sounds like a challenge (What's the worst thing I can do to hamburger that the family will still eat?), this next one sounds like wishful thinking:

"They" love "it" this way? Moving up from not one, but two unspecified pronouns makes this title feel a little extra slick. The "they" is apparently still the family dumb enough to eat anything presented with hamburger (I'm beginning to sense a note of subdued hostility), and my guess is that "it" is a euphemism for the variety meat forced on children and dieters alike: liver. If the menu title can't even refer directly to the food without cooks fearing the meal will meet whining and temper tantrums that end with most of dinner in the trash can, my guess is that they do not, in fact, love "it" this way.

Want to find out if you love barbecued beef liver?

Will all the onions, Worcestershire sauce, and "catchup" be enough to make up for the obvious liver-osity of this meal? I doubt it will help much more than the insistence that this is, in fact, a beloved dish.

At least the Brazil Betty might help make up for it:


  1. Brazil Betty reminds me Betty Draper. Though I think Betty's spirit animal is a lemon!

  2. Yeah? I have been intending to watch "Mad Men," but I haven't had a chance so far. It does sound like a show I'd find interesting.

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