Saturday, April 2, 2016

April Glamour

I hope you're ready to glamorize your life once again with Glamour Magazine's New After Five Cookbook (Beverly Pepper, 1963).

I'm willing to bet that Mondays were just about as beloved in the '60s as they are today. Ms. Pepper saw no reason to fight their bad reputation, apparently, because I doubt many people would be excited to start the work week with this:

Chicken Livers & Celery Tio Pepe! I guess the sherry is supposed to distract from the fact that diners have to contend with the least beloved cut of chicken mixed with the most boring, dental-flossiest vegetable around... Mushrooms and cream might help a little too, but I don't think this main dish is enough to distract from the Monday-ness of that Monday.

I initially misread the dessert recipe and thought it was Cherries Herring Brulee, which would have made for a very interesting end to the meal indeed, but the recipe calls for a cherry liqueur, not a fish. At least this menu doesn't opt to make Monday worse with a briny dessert!

Wednesday, too, is dedicated to pushing that celery:

I have to admit that the Beef au Gratin doesn't sound too bad, but why combine yet more celery with the most stick-in-the-throat dry beans, limas? No amount of paprika is going to save that combination. It almost makes the corn-lettuce-mustard-lemon juice salad seem reasonable by comparison. (Almost.)

Another Wednesday is much more fun:

You know the popular recipe to stuff a frank with cheese, wrap it in bacon, and grill it? This version takes it upscale: the cheese is Roquefort and it's dressed up with leftover lamb before being stuffed into frankfurters and enrobed in bacon. This seems almost like it could be a current recipe, but it could only be served ironically, and the hot dog would have to be artisanally crafted out of bison meat. The side of fruit cocktail would be small-batch fruit cocktail from a nearby farm. The hashed brown potatoes would be cook in the shape of nests and filled with the apple cream made from heirloom apples and locally-produced organic cream.

To round things out, our '60s couple will have some fish on Friday:

It all starts out with Hot Clam Juice! Yay!* Follow it up with Almond Buttered Fish Fillets. (That's where I realize that the recipe actually means almonds in butter, not the kind of almond butter I spread on toast.) Honestly, it's a pretty boring menu, but I LOVE that they give directions for serving potato chips as a side! Sprinkle a small package of potato chips with coarse salt (that will probably fall off) and bake them for ten minutes because apparently it would be unconscionable to simply serve potato chips as a side without some kind of ritual to make them more labor-intensive.

Lessons from April's menus:
  1. It's okay to serve food straight out of a can (like fruit cocktail), but not straight out of a crinkly bag (like potato chips).
  2. If a recipe is going to suck anyway, you might as well throw celery in too.
  3. Heering and herring are not even close to the same thing.
  4. Some '60s recipes could work today if they're gussied up and served ironically.
  5. Clam juice is not sufficiently scary on its own. Heat it up so the whole house can reek of it. 
*That cheer was sarcastic.


  1. Left over lamb patties?

    Poppy, we must suffer from the same reading condition! ;) I, too, read herring instead if hearing. Thank god those sweet little cherries didn't have to suffer by being baked w/ stinky fish

    1. The lamb patties were from something earlier in the week. This cookbook does the "planned-overs" thing sometimes. (And they really like lamb in the spring!)

      My knowledge of liquors/ liqueurs is pretty limited, so I didn't know "Heering" was a thing... I was really glad to see it wasn't fish.