Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Minutes of Fun!

Psst! Got a minute?

People in the 1970s couldn't spend a few extra minutes looking up their favorite Rick and Morty clips on YouTube, so Pillsbury's Creative Cooking in Minutes (ed. Diane Hennessy King, 1971) suggested they spend those minutes cooking up creative meals.

My favorite thing about the meals may be that they look just sooo '70s.

Rust and orange as far as the eye can see! I think my mom upholstered our couch in a print resembling that picture at one point.

Can it get more early-'70s than brown food in an avocado electric skillet? Now if it just came with a salad with green goddess dressing and maybe a dessert fondue, we'd be all set...

A lot of the recipes themselves tend to be on the throw-a-few-convenience-foods-together side. Need a snack?

Mexi-Shake Snacks are nothing more than a can of shoestring potatoes shaken with a little taco dip mix. The recipe notes you can also make Sawdust-Shake Snacks by shaking the shoestring potatoes with a little of that powdery Parmesan cheese dust instead. (Okay, they don't technically admit it's sawdust-y, but they should.)

Need a quick, easy, and cheap dinner for when the Mexi-Shakes run out?

Crunchy Luncheon Loaf has got you covered! Just blend cottage cheese and most of a can of French fried onions into a few servings of mashed potatoes from a mix, then use it to stuff and surround a can of luncheon meat. Top off with the rest of the onions and maybe some pineapple slices if you feel extra crazy.

I know the ingredients are all real items that at least some people enjoy, but a corner of my mind is fully convinced that this is a recipe for play food, like if a cookbook had a recipe for how to make a "pie" out of Play-Doh. A lot of '70s cookbooks complain about rising food prices, though, so I imagine plenty of families were glad to throw this together and, as grandma would say, call it good.

And now to end this menu with a suitably scary dessert:

Light and Lazy Mint Whip answers the question "What happens when you mix a bunch of dinner mints with some whipped topping and leftover cake or lady fingers?" The answer is, apparently, dessert. I can't quite imagine what this would be like. I assume the recipe is referring to the pastel-ly mint pillows. Would the mints have time to dissolve? Would they still add a weird little powdery crunch? I'm pretty sure the whole mess gives diners an idea of what dessert would taste like if it had been accidentally dropped in grandma's purse...

As I finish this book, I realize the recipes are exactly what I imagined cooking to be like when I was four years old: mix a bunch of random packages together, maybe heat or freeze the resulting mashup, then serve it to other people to see how they react.... Now I can guess why mom preferred reupholstery to cooking.


  1. If you didn't have access to a stove, fridge, and only had processed foods, then this is the cookbook for you

    1. It would only take a little reworking to make it a survivalist cookbook...

    2. Now I'm imagining how the survivalists would do up a nice rack of Twinkies.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thankfully the couch looked better than dinner.

  3. Thankfully the couch looked better than dinner.