Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mueller's Marvelous Macaroni Mania

Ommmm. Ommmm. Ommmm.

I'm not meditating, (Okay, maybe I am trying to, with only limited success.) I'll just say I'm trying to prepare for the onslaught of M's in today's pick:

Magic Menus with Mueller's Macaroni Products (1937) is, I believe, the M-iest title in my collection. Good thing it was written before World War II hit and wartime rationing forced spare M's into service as weird-looking W's.

This booklet shows women how to use various Mueller's noodles, including one that isn't so familiar today. Ever wonder why old recipes sometimes specify "broken macaroni"? This is why:

When we hear "macaroni," we assume it means elbow macaroni, but the unbroken, long tubes used to be more widely available. (Okay, maybe you're not wowed by this, but I thought it was pretty cool to see "long-form" macaroni.)

And while Mueller's only seems to sell dry pasta now and we tend to think of Chef Boyardee when we think of canned pasta, Mueller's used to be in on the canned game too:

I'm not sure why anyone would want to don a sombrero for an exciting evening of eating canned spaghetti out of a green pepper, but this recipe seems to suggest it's a fine idea. I guess the green pepper is supposed to make the spaghetti somehow seem Mexican?

In fact, a lot of the booklet plays a bit fast and loose with various types of cuisine. While the idea of spaghetti and meat sauce is not exactly earthshaking...

...I can't help but notice that this recipe for an Italian-American style meal looks a lot like this other recipe:

Spaghetti Oriental has almost the same ingredients in only somewhat different proportions (a bit more pepper and onion, a bit less tomato). Apparently, the additions of diced celery and bacon-wrapped meatballs (instead of cooked-in-the-sauce meat bits) are supposed to make this so exotic that a woman in harem pants dancing with a veil endorses it. (Okay, I moved her slightly so she'd fit on the recipe, but she is on the page!)

I'm not sure whether the artist's rendering of what Spaghetti Oriental should look like helps set it apart from the more typical spaghetti with meat sauce recipe...

...but I do like the way the bacon-wrapped meatballs make it look as if some alien has laid gooey pods in a nice symmetrical pattern on top of dinner.

Perhaps the most puzzling recipe of all is this one, though:

If you are wondering, yes. Yes, that is a big puff of meringue on top of some noodles.

Well, not just noodles. Noodles and prunes! And custard! Maybe they're wearing the meringue as a disguise, realizing it's for the best that they not be immediately recognized for what they really are. Neapolitan Fluff is just lucky that no one threw a gratuitous sombrero on top for good measure.

Now that I think of it, Neapolitan Fluff and the Gratuitous Sombreros might be a pretty good name for a band. Maybe I will run away and start a band....


  1. Trying to figure out what the drawing is supposed to be next to Spaghetti Oriental. My brain is confused!

    1. You don't see many cookbook illustrations with bras and harem pants!

  2. I love the ladies nails caressing the macaroni

    1. It took a little more effort to get one's thrills back then...