Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Love is foiled again!

It's February, and that means a shiny new batch of suggestions from 401 Party and Holiday Ideas from Alcoa (Conny von Hagen, 1971). Perhaps intuiting that foil is NOT the sparkly item that people covet most on Valentine's day, the recommendations for this celebration are pretty minimal, suggesting simply a dinner for two "with food he likes best; red roses for you, and your home filled with shiny hearts."

It's easy to see the foods he likes best are apparently roast squabs and heart-shaped cake, but what is that big, bleeding-brain-resembling blob on the lettuce-lined salad plates?

If you guessed that he's supposed to adore aspic, you're right!

The perfect lead-in for a roast squab stuffed with wild rice is ham suspended in vinegar, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, mustard, and horseradish-laced lemon Jell-O! Garnish with tomato-slices for that just-killed look.

You'll notice the little foil hearts popping up everywhere, but the cake has a foil-rific secret too:

It's on a foil-covered pedestal, but cooks are also expected to bake the cake in a pan they hand-created from (you guessed it!) more foil:

I love that the directions refer readers to page 25 for the instructions on creating a pedestal. They are, and I quote, "tape a dinner plate to an inverted bowl and cover both with foil." I can see why they wouldn't want to go to the trouble of writing that out twice! Aside from the fact that the pedestal in the picture doesn't appear to follow those instructions at all (I'm not sure what the plate is taped to, but it sure isn't a bowl unless von Hagen has a very different definition of "bowl"! I think she just covered a regular cake pedestal with foil.), that also doesn't sound like a practical idea to start with. Would I really want to stack dishes together and top them with a big frosted cake, trusting that a little tape and foil is enough to ensure the whole thing won't fall on the floor within two minutes?

Nothing says "I love you" like trying to serve a pile of gory-looking jellified ham while scraping a mound of icing and crumbled cake embedded with foil hearts off the floor. Yeah, go ahead and start without me.


  1. It's amazing that even in 1971 that women put their husbands' needs ahead of their own. "Cook is favorite foods" indeed!

    1. And EVERYONE'S favorite foods in the '70s involved aspic.