Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Microwave your tongue and throw a fish party

Time for more microwave recipes from a time when people really wanted microwaves to do actual cooking, and not just reheat General Tso's Chicken from last night. The General Electric Microwave Guide and Cookbook (1977) is ready for anything:

Okay-- I think people still microwave bacon, I have been known to microwave ears of corn (still in the husk) during summer, but roast beef? Pie crust? If anybody is going to go to the trouble of actually making those from scratch anymore, we're not going to ruin our efforts in the microwave.

The thing that surprised me most in this cookbook is that some models apparently had a slow-cooker-like setting. What a great idea-- leave the microwave on all day while you're at work so you can come home to...
To a nice savory beef tongue! Yes, leave the microwave on for TEN to TWELVE HOURS so you will end up with a nice, vinegary beef tongue that you only have to skin before serving. Never mind that the slow cooker could probably do this way more efficiently if you really wanted to come home to a supper that could lick you back, or that the slow cooker would turn back on again if the electricity happened to flicker. No, it's worth the small chance that you will come home to a partially cooked tongue that is no longer safe to eat just for a chance to leave the microwave running for a full half-day.

This cookbook also once again highlights the difference between '70s ideas of convenience foods and current ones. Want some beans? Don't waste your money on canned beans when you can cook your great northern beans quickly and right in the microwave!

It only takes about two hours. (Or you could just boil them on the stove top for-- about an hour and a half, plus soaking time. So HUGE time savings with the microwave.) I'm also pretty sure that "Ranch Style" meant something different then, too. Now if you told your family you would serve ranch-style beans, I'm pretty sure there would be a revolt when they realized it just meant beans with sugar and mustard, not a salad-dressing packet.

The microwave was also considered perfectly fine for fancy appetizers. Want something a little French?

Try Escargots Microwave (or, if you really want to commit, Escargots Micro-ondes)! Serving microwaved canned snails will ensure the neighbors will continue to talk about your party for years to come.

Perhaps the scariest-looking recipe is for fish:

Is it just me, or does this look like some kind of a trout S & M party went terribly awry? Other trout are looking on in horror and arguing about whether they should get the police involved.... 

The plans for a trout party involve about as much lemon and butter as one might expect.

And they end with that creepy vintage fish recipe piece de resistance, the "pimiento-stuffed olive in the eye cavity":

"I will see you in your nightmares." 

Pleasant dreams, everyone.


  1. Wow, microwave recipes that are even scarier than the ones that I made in 4-H!

    1. The lemon chicken pales in comparison to S & M fish.

  2. I am pretty sure that my parents had this cookbook. I don't think they ever used that weird fish probe but I am 99% sure we have a microwave that came with one. I must be old.

    1. They must have been early microwave adopters, too. My family didn't get one until the late '80s.