Saturday, August 19, 2017

Let's abandon this halfw

For a late summer weekend, I decided to give you a menu that really highlights the bounty of fruits and vegetables. Let's start out with a salad from Better Homes and Gardens Good Food on a Budget (1971). Doesn't it look fresh and colorful?

Okay, maybe lettuce with varying shades of reddish-brown is more apt, but the caption insists this mix is "intriguing."

And yes, the caption is also accurate when it says the salad combines diced apple and (American) cheese, kidney beans, onion, and salad dressing. I'm also guessing it says these things in a significantly different tone of voice (more weirdly optimistic and less horrified) than I do. The writers apparently think I've always wanted to figure out a way to serve all of these ingredients at once...

The Best of Home Economics Teachers Bicentennial Cookbook (1975) seems to invite us to raid the garden for the Garden Patch Dinner Dish...

...which is apparently a loose collection of slime-coated vegetables contained by a ring mold of paste.

Even more interestingly, the garden is just barely involved. Half the veggies (okra, squash, and green beans) are frozen, and onion is a pantry staple. All you'd need to steal from the garden to make this is a single green pepper and tomato, but "Dinner Dish Mostly Dug Out of the Freezer" didn't sound quite as appealing.

Heat it all together with a little cream and dump into a cottage-cheese-and-noodle-ring, and you've got... well... probably a bland and watery meal that is nominally from the garden. Way to celebrate summer.

Let's top off this bounty with dessert from Ann Seranne's Good Food Without Meat (1973). How about some nice fruity ice cream?

Yeah, if you know old cookbooks, you should have seen the prunes coming. Why enjoy ice cream too much if you can make it vaguely medicinal? Even though it looks as if I only gave you part of the recipe, this is the full thing. Apparently cream infused with prunes is so delicious that you will barely have a chance to churn the ingredients together before starving hordes will devour it. Or maybe they figured nobody's going to waste perfectly good cream on this anyway, and abandoned the recipe halfway through. (I'm teasing-- the full instructions for ice cream come before the list of recipes, but it's fun to imagine the writer just giving up on this offering.)

That seems like a good bet for this late summer menu: lazily kind of look it over, but abandon it once you see it's all kidney beans with apples and American cheese, mucilaginous frozen veggies, and ice-cold prunes. Just eye it all and back awa


  1. I find that I have learned to cringe whenever I see something shaped in a ring mold. Especially if it looks like the paste (that never did anything) we had to use as kids. Even then, most kids knew that even if the paste did smell good, don't try it because it had to taste really bad.

    1. It did taste really bad. I was seduced by the sweet scent and tried it once. Stupid move!