Are you ready for some temptation? You know, something delicious yet healthy-ish enough to counterbalance those piles of Christmas cookies you've been putting away?
Some recipes do look surprisingly edible, though. This platter full of bacon-topped meat and whipped potatoes doesn't look to diet-foody:
There's a reason for that.
Dieters are permitted "just one onion, one tomato half, and no potatoes with [their] serving of meat." Mom may look happy now, but her smile will fade when she realizes she's not allowed to eat everything she made. She can't even have a whole tomato, and it's just a non-starchy vegetable!
Cook for everyone, but you don't get what everyone else gets is a pretty common tactic in this book.
Of course, there are plenty of recipes that don't require holding back. One recipe offers a whole luncheon platter, for example. Six dieting friends would need to share it, but they'd have full access to the bountiful platter. Let's take a look:
Wait. Is the platter just a bunch of hard-cooked eggs and cottage cheese paired with a godawful aspic?
If you think the creativity slips a few notches for the fully diet-friendly recipes, you are quite right. Take a look at this appetizer:
The Chilled Melon Appetizer is a chilled melon half topped with... a few melon balls. They're not even melon balls of a contrasting type of melon-- just cantaloupe on cantaloupe. If you're super-lucky, maybe the balls are brushed with a nearly imperceptible trace of Cointreau.
Even if the recipes are a bust, I love C. C. Cooper's illustrations in this book. The opening pages offer a tableau that I could not quite figure out:
Why is mom mending Junior's shorts while he's still wearing them? That can't be easy! Is she not concerned that she will accidentally stab him or sew his underwear to his shorts? And why are brother and sister standing there watching this whole thing with an air of quiet alarm? Why is brother leaning over as if he wants a better view? It looks as if mom has become deranged from eating too much aspic and cottage cheese while everyone else gets mashed potatoes, and she's taking it out on the family. Rip your shorts? Well, mom might just sew them directly to your butt, while your siblings watch, lips tightly pursed to avoid letting slip a protest that might turn her wrath in their direction.
But don't worry; mom's not a monster. She'll let you all go with some cookies moments later.
Yes, pretend this is all perfectly normal, and run away with the cookies before mom realizes that she's stuck with prune whip for her own dessert again....