Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Slow-Cooked Sloppy '70s

The busy season is *sigh* fast descending upon us. How might 1970s families have dealt with long days of work, school, etc. when dinner still had to be on the table every evening?

Rival hoped that Crock Pot Cooking (1975) would encourage them to pull out the Crock Pot and let dinner simmer all day long so it would be ready and waiting when everybody got home.

The cover makes it look like a pretty tempting solution for the most part-- a savory pepper steak that still has some color, smooth, rich tomato sauce over rotini. There's even cheesecake for dessert! (Have to admit the raw-looking Swiss steak-- actually just cooked in tomato sauce-- kind of skeeves me out, though.)

What does the book offer beyond the tried-and-true favorites? Some recipes present ideas that might have seemed pretty exotic to '70s cooks:

Diners may take the slowly-cooked, well-seasoned pork dish for granted today, but clearly people didn't have much sense of it in the '70s if this passed for a carnitas recipe! At first I was wondering how it got away with so little seasoning-- just MSG, salt, and pepper, with a bit of onion and pimiento. Then I noticed that a whole bag of French-style green beans was also tossed in for no apparent reason! Imagine your burrito or taco coming with mushy French cut beans that had been cooked for seven to nine hours...

A lot of the recipes are pretty familiar, though, and rely on funny names to make them memorable:

I'm not sure what makes this Male Chauvinist Chili, but the name appears to have been enough to give it a life of its own, as the recipe is still widely available and credited to Crock Pot.

The picture that accompanies the recipe seems to suggest it's male chauvinist chili because it's a bit of a sausage-fest.

Other recipe names didn't seem to catch on quite as much:

Jenny Joe's are sloppy joes for people who would rather have condensed chicken gumbo soup in their sandwiches than brown sugar, I guess? Either that or Jenny just really hated cutting up onions and peppers to put in the sloppy joes and figured the soup would be a good substitution. Even though I'm a huge fan of salt, I have to wonder how well the recipe works with both a can of condensed soup AND a teaspoon of salt on top of that...

And of course, a few recipes combined exotic (okay, maybe just weird) ingredients with similarly odd names:

Ever wanted to try ring bologna slow cooked with rutabagas? Well, Bologna-'Baga Bake is the alliterative recipe for you! It's a super-convenient recipe too, since at the end of cooking you have to fish out the sliced bologna, drain the hot cooking liquid from the heavy and still partially-full crockery, mash up the rutabagas with the potatoes and onions, then mix the meat back in... A nice bit of relaxation after a long day of trying to pretend not to notice the boss staring at your ass.

Maybe this cookbook should have had a nice "Women's Libber Chili" instead. That might be a much more soothing end to a '70s workday.


  1. Hmm, I could go for a big bowl of "Heteronormative Bullshit Beef Stew" ;-)