Saturday, November 21, 2015

Melted mints, beefy wine, and cranberry miscellany

Since we had some odd savory Thanksgiving sides last weekend, let's try some weird fruity sides and beverages today!

Since I can't get enough Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, first up is a return to the New Holiday Cookbook (1974). The title of their fruit salad makes it seem perfectly innocuous:

When I hear "Minted Fruit Cups," I imagine fresh fruit-- maybe some strawberries, oranges, and grapes-- with a bright pop of freshly-minced mint.

This has got the grapes. Otherwise, it doesn't have much in common with what I imagined.... The mint primarily comes from after-dinner mints dissolved in juices from the canned pineapple augmented with ginger ale. Yeah, it does mention you can garnish the glasses with fresh mint if you're feeling ambitious, but the after-dinner mints are required!

If you need to wash that fruit cup down with something, here's one possibility the home-ec teachers like:

Hot Buttered Cranberry Punch sounds like something my grandma who liked weird recipes would try. Why not melt down a can of cranberry sauce, add spices, and dilute it with water and pineapple juice before serving it with a nice pat of butter on top?

I can totally imagine her serving this up at a holiday dinner and most of the family acting as if topping off their steaming mugs full of cranberry sauce with butter was a perfectly normal thing to do. Meanwhile, I'd be re-evaluating my assessment of the planet earth, trying to figure out whether I really was an alien who had accidentally landed here and would never quite understand the customs of the inhabitants...

For a more down-to-earth beverage, McCall's Great American Recipe Card Collection (1973) offers this festive-looking sipper:

Imagining wine mulled with some spices, topped with a few lively citrus slices to complete the festive winter scents? Well, as with the fruit salad, you're partly right:

It's Claret-Beef Broth! Because when haven't you had a glass of wine and thought, "You know, this is good, but it would be way better if it were about 4/5 undiluted condensed canned beef broth and only 1/5 claret"? At least this is recommended as a soup rather than a beverage. (Beverages shouldn't be so salty as to make you thirstier!) Still, it seems like a waste of good wine to me.

Our final freaky and fruity recipes come from this little undated pamphlet from the National Cranberry Association:

The recipe for the chicken is just standard instructions to cook a chicken on a grill, and the recommended barbecue sauces are pretty plain (oil and vinegar with a little salt, molasses, and Tabasco, or water, vinegar, butter, and a dash of salt "for a mild-flavored sauce"). The real draw is the "Cranberry Partners" listed on the back:

Cranberry Garden Relish mixes celery, cucumbers, and green pepper in with whole cranberry sauce. Even though I've never really wanted diced veggies in my cranberries, I get why some people might like it. The real sacrilege is Favorite Cranberry Relish:

It sounds perfectly delightful at first: cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple, orange, walnuts. When you throw in the sweet pickle relish, though, we are right back in "What alien planet have I landed on?" territory! This is something I would have been fooled into heaping onto my plate, only to regret it the second I tasted the first spoonful. I'd wish I had the technology to beam the rest of it straight up into space, but it would probably have found a home in a wadded-up napkin instead.

Have a fruity fun weekend!


  1. The beefy wine may not be as bad as it first seems in the sense that people often pour wine into soups. Serving it as a drink, however...

    1. That is true. It's just that canned beef broth is often pretty terrible to start out with, and concentrated beef broth that is barely watered down with a bit of wine is probably going to be super-duper salty!

  2. Are after dinner mints the kind you see in diners next to the cash register? Because if so EEEEEWWWWWW

    1. Yep! That's it! (...unless you're imagining Andes mints, but those are usually at slightly nicer restaurants and they come to the table with the bill. Plus they're chocolate.)