Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Throw it all together and call it happiness

At this point in the winter, I'm always looking for a little happiness. Anything to make the short, cold days even shorter (but not colder!) is welcome. Homemade Happiness (Phoenix Eighteenth Ward Relief Society, 1975) promises I can make happiness right in my own kitchen, but the extremely warped glasses on the cover make me question that claim. Broken specs are not the way to warm my heart.

Weird and/or scary recipes are, though, and the book features those in abundance.

Here's a recipe in one of my favorite genres: dubiously Asian.

I'm a little surprised it's not called Hawaiian rice, what with the canned luncheon meat and pineapple, but I guess the peas, dill, cherry tomatoes, and sour cream(!) made whoever named this recipe think a more generic (and borderline racist) title would be appropriate. It seems like it could be a halfway decent start toward glorified rice OR veggie-rice pilaf, but somebody got bored partway through, said "Eff it," and just dumped them both together and pretended it was meant to be like that.

If you want something cheesier, may I offer Taco Pie?

I can't figure out what that picture is supposed to be! It looks like a guy taking a picture of a talking lamp on an end table. I guess maybe it's supposed to be a cheeseburger on a pedestal? Or maybe he's got some kind of a weird hat fetish and he's taking old-timey pictures for private use later? (Don't ask me about the paper clip on the page, either. It came that way. I assume this means the original owner intended to try this recipe. I just left it on because it adds character and mystique.)

As for the recipe itself, this is the first recipe I've ever seen that suggests using bacon, clams, or tuna fish interchangeably. (They're all pretty much the same, right?) I'm also not sure how the word "taco" comes into play at all, as this seems to be more of a frittata for using up leftover veggies. I know the definition of a taco can be flexible, but I don't know anyone who thinks of canned tuna topped with sliced potato, celery, and eggs (with no tortilla or seasonings!) as a taco, even if a few stray olives or avocado slices might be scattered on top.

This book mostly has conventional chapters-- ones for main dishes, soups, cakes, and so on, but there is also a chapter exclusively for apples, with recipes like this:

I'm not sure what Applacado is, exactly. I guess it's a fruit salad with avocado chunks, but I love the name (if not the thought of apples, grapefruit, and avocado mixed with mayonnaise and raw-egg-encrusted grapes).

Other apple dishes offer that perennial favorite couple, tuna and apples:

I'm not thinking of tossing apple, canned oranges, canned tuna, mayonnaise, walnuts, soy sauce, and lemon juice together in a bowl when I read "Apple Tuna Toss." I think you know what kind of tossing I envision....

The book ends with one of those folksy pretend recipes that are pretty popular in collections like this. Need a new recipe for preserves?

They're lucky I wasn't in charge of writing that one, or my recipe would be pretty short: Formaldehyde. I guess that's why I don't get put in charge of projects like this!

And now I'm wondering if I could just crawl into a vat of formaldehyde and let somebody wake me up when winter is over....


  1. Whoa! Did Norman Bates submit that last "recipe"? Say cheese ;-)

    1. Well, his would be on how to preserve a mother.... :-)

  2. I'm a total sucker for folksy pretend recipes. 😉

    1. They were very popular for a while. You could also preserve children, make a happy home, or make friends with a good recipe.

  3. I think someone had taco and tortilla, as in Spanish tortilla the egg and potato dish, mixed up!

    1. That's a sensible explanation. If I squint, it makes sense.

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