Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Candy, candy, candy, candy, candy

With the Halloween coming, it's time to talk candy! Or candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, as Garfield used to say.

Today we have the simply named Candy Cookbook (Favorite Recipes Press, 1966).

There's not a lot in a candy cookbook that looks like a train wreck. After all, it's just supposed to be pleasing little bites of things, so the candies today are more curiosities than monstrosities. (They're more Freaks than Texas Chainsaw Massacre.)

There is nothing scary about Calico Fudge, for example.

It's peanut butter and sugar! I'd be tempted to make some right now if I weren't afraid of any recipe that referenced "soft ball stage." I'm just confused as to what makes it calico. Usually, "calico" recipes are multicolored, and this one would be monochromatic beige. I read it expecting candied fruit and discovered it's just peanut butter.

I'd never heard of Oatmeal Fudge either.

And then I realized that pouring no-bake cookies into a pan and cutting them into squares (instead of simply dropping them on waxed paper) makes them into "fudge."

Potato candies seem mildly surprising if you haven't been through very many old cookbooks, but they're so common that they must have been pretty good (or at least a passable way to use up extra mashed potatoes).

Well, good if you liked coconut.

Wait! This one's more my speed:

Yay for more peanut butter!

There are a few candies that wouldn't be so easy to make anymore. Sure, you can still find star-shaped cereal if you look hard enough....

But I imagine Galaxies were way easier to make in the '60s when Sugar Stars were a thing.

Of course, some of the recipes found new uses for gelatin, but at least a candy cookbook can't even pretend these creations are salads.

Then again, I'm not so sure. Candy Strawberries are fruit shaped, and they do have nuts in them, so maybe Ettie Belle Robinson tried to pass them off as salad once in a while.

The final recipe combines the last two trends: a new use for gelatin PLUS a product you can't buy anymore.

Sorry, everybody. No more apple gelatin means no more authentic Appletts (to maybe try to pass off as very, very small salads. They had applesauce and nuts, after all!).

I hope these candies make your Halloween Eve (or whenever you actually read this) just a little bit weirder.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

It's the Great Salad, Charlie Brown!

Halloween is coming! If you really want to horrify your little trick-or-treaters, how about making them some Halloween-themed salads to fortify them before they terrorize the neighborhood in search of sugar?

The 1950 classic 300 Ways to Serve Eggs (edited by Ruth Berolzheimer) suggests Halloween Egg Salad.

It's not regular egg salad, with chopped hard-cooked eggs and bits of celery in mayo. The hard-cooked eggs are supposed to be manually shaped into pumpkin-ish shapes while they're still hot and then soaked in orange food coloring so they'll look like tiny pumpkins. They're even supposed to be painted with green coloring for the stripes on the sides and served in a watercress pumpkin patch. It's a pretty cute idea, though I'm not sure how enthusiastic the kids will be when they realize it's just a boiled egg on salad greens...

Body Building Dishes for Children (also from 1950 and edited by Berolzheimer) suggests a possibly more-acceptable salad: a Jack-o'-Lantern fruit salad.

I wish the book had a picture because an orange peel cut to look like a jack-o-lantern and filled with fruit salad (maybe containing the orange's own guts?) sounds pretty cute.

Or, if you're the fight-fire-with-fire school of thought, you could just forget the salad and send the kids out with a belly full of sugar that has at least some nutritional value from the fruit, you could make this offering from Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers Americana Cookery: An Illustrated Cookbook of Regional America's Traditional Recipes (1971).

I'm not sure what baked apples have to do with the headless horseman, but the name makes them sound Halloween-appropriate. Plus, the prune stuffing might mean you will have to cut trick-or-treating short! (And maybe you'll have to figure out how to clean shit out of a T-Rex costume, but Halloween is supposed to be scary, so that's seasonally appropriate.)

No matter what your jack-o-lanterns are made of, have a spooky Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

British Meat Art/ Nightmare Fodder

I picked up Traditional British Cooking for Pleasure (Gladys Mann, 1967) hoping for some traditional British horrifying/ amusing pictures of meat, and I was not disappointed.

Of course, it had the Salmon Mousse molded into a salmon shape:

I'm pretty sure a salmon-shaped salmon recipe was obligatory in the '60s and '70s, but this one did not go with customary olive eyes and instead looks as if it has eyes (and a head outline, spine, and tail) sprayed on by a kid with a can of Easy Cheese.

The recipe suggests the features are just orange-ish mayonnaise, but I still say Easy Cheese.

The most horrifying animal outline in the book is also the smallest, and it's only in black and white, perhaps because seeing this in its full glory would be too much for a mere mortal to handle:

"The pigs are waiting ... for you!"

They'll be waiting for a while, as Boar's Head takes the better part of a week to make.

"Now the head can be decorated as you wish with pipings of lard, black olives surrounded with egg white for eyes, pieces of bone for tusks.... The head will keep for several days, and is best carved downward from the back." That's supposed to sound encouraging (and maybe appetizing?) rather than like nightmare fuel!

My favorite picture, though, is from a recipe that's only slightly less elaborate:

And what makes Hindle Wakes (Hen-of-the-Wake) so glorious, besides the fact that it's a cold chicken stuffed with prunes and coated in a lemon gelatin sauce?

It's the fact that Hindle Wakes looks like a lemon-pudding-covered puppy that has stolen Lucy Van Pelt's hair and is wearing a citrus-themed half-mask as it gets ready to fetch its tennis ball.

Or maybe it's just napping with its butt up in the air, surrounded by a bouquet of tar-filled tulips? Kind of hard to tell, what with the mask. In any case, little Hindle Wake is here with an important pre-Halloween tip: Do not wear a costume composed of pudding, prunes, and citrus. Things are bound to get messy. Plus, a chicken pot holder might start following you around, and that is just creepy.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Funny Name: Candy What?! Edition

With Halloween coming in a couple weeks, you might want some candy that's a little trick and a little treat. So maybe you, like me, will be both incredibly disappointed and relieved to see that this recipe from Candy Cookbook (Favorite Recipes Press, 1966) is not exactly what the title may seem to suggest:

Bologna Candy is not, apparently, the meaty version of peanut brittle, with big chunks of lunch meat in a crunchy candy coating. I guess it's supposed to look like bologna when it's sliced, but all the bologna I've ever seen is just a smooth, featureless pink, so I'd think Salami Candy would be a more appropriate name for the variegated appearance. I guess that just proves I'm used to crappy American cold cuts. Spooky!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"Good" anytime

Moving to the country. Gonna eat a lot of ... sausage? And liver pudding? Sorry, no peaches!

Today, we're looking at Neese's Country Sausage/ Neese's Liver Pudding cook booklet (ed. Beth Laney Smith, undated, but it mentions a newspaper column from July 1971, so probably from the early '70s).

I love the cat snoozing in front of the old-style cook stove. You know that's the warmest spot in the house, and maybe she can snag some pork product if she's lucky.

There are plenty of standard sausage recipes (Spanish rice, sausage with apple rings, sausage-stuffed mushrooms). My real fascination is for the liver pudding, something with which I am completely unfamiliar. Also known as livermush, it's apparently "an aromatic blend of liver, corn meal and spices."

And it's apparently shameless, willing to join the list of things-that-are-clearly-not-pigs-in-blankets-but-going-by-that-name-anyway:

I guess strips of liver pudding in hot dog buns at least have actual pork and bread products, but there's no way I'd call them pigs in blankets. (Also, I love the way that the olives on picks in that picture look like ripped-out Muppet eyeballs. Miss Piggy has a waaay darker side than the show lets on.)

With pudding in the name, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so many recipe titles sound dessert-y.

Of course, here, pudding is used in the older sense of the word, which originally referred to sausage. And custards can be savory too, but when I hear of pudding or custard, I don't exactly imagine something loaded with liver and onions, then served with mushroom or horseradish sauce.

And when I think of stuffed French toast, I tend to picture fruit (or maybe cheesecake!) sandwiched in fluffy Texas toast rather than liver pudding in pumpernickel.

The weirdest creation by far, though, may just be this dinner offering with a straightforwardly savory name:

I can get past the fact that Liver Pudding à la King substitutes liver pudding for the more typical chicken. That's just what booklets that advertise a specific product do-- substitute their chosen ingredient for the one everybody's used to. Getting mad at that would be like getting a rooster and being pissed off that it woke you up with all that crowing in the morning.

I'm kind of incredulous about substituting hard-cooked egg wedges for mushrooms. Why add eggs when the booklet spends so much time emphasizing how much protein is already in liver pudding, and when the addition makes stirring the mixture an ordeal if one is "to avoid breaking egg wedges"?

The real kicker, though, is the carby component to soak up all that cream sauce. There are plenty of popular options: rice, noodles, bread. Liver Pudding à la King is too special for those, though. Check out the end of the ingredient list. It's served over Shredded Wheat biscuits! And if you check the end of the recipe, they're not just any shredded wheat, but "hot, crisped, Shredded Wheat biscuits which have been salted, if desired." I mean, who hasn't salted and baked Shredded Wheat so it can absorb a creamy liver-and-egg sauce?

If you want to try to defend the cereal and egg choices by saying Neese's was trying to create a breakfast equivalent of Chicken à la King, this was listed in the "Suppertime" chapter.

In short, this was going to be a weird book, whether or not liver pudding was involved.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Funny Name: Really Likes It Edition

Do you like macaroni and cheese? I mean really like it? Would you be willing to do anything for a steamy casserole full of hot cheese on macaroni action, fresh from the oven? Well, then the women from the Circle of Ruth Presbyterian Church in Nelsonville, Ohio, (writers of The Kitchen Digest, ca. 1950s) think you might be a

Don't let those uptight church ladies shame you! Own it, you Macaroni Hoe!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Peanut Oil Five Ways

There's not a lot that sounds terrible in 5 Great Cuisines with Planters Peanut Oil (undated, but the Shake-a Pudd'n advertised on the back suggests it's from the late 1960s). That's because the book's secret subtitle should be "Aren't deep-fried foods yummy?" The answer from reasonable people everywhere is "Of course!"

The first "great cuisine" is especially known for its love of all things deep fried. Can you guess the cuisine from the picture?

Okay, fried chicken would probably have been a bit more representative of America than fried fish, but anything accompanied by both fries and onion rings says America to me...

I've also got to give the booklet credit for realizing that "french fried" does not necessarily equal French.

The Italian section had the expected scampi, but I was more intrigued by the Italian Potato Balls:

Who can resist potato croquettes? I was just sad that the booklet didn't have their rice-based cousins, arancini. They're not easy to find in my area, but man, I am embarrassingly happy to see those cheesy little rice balls when they're on a menu.

Chinese cuisine is represented with deep fried duckling in front of the stereotypical dried lotus and silver dollar plant:

I must commend the Planters understanding of Chinese cuisine here-- not that I imagine the dish is very authentic, but at least it's not smothered in cream of mushroom soup or hiding under a layer of melted cheese. That's pretty Chinese-authentic for '60s American name-brand cookbooks.

I didn't pick something deep fried to represent Jewish cooking just because I loved the way Planters shoehorned praise for their own peanut oil into a story involving Knaidlach.

Yes, the guy returning home for Passover gets arrested because the authorities suspect him of wanting to overthrow the Czar, as "knaidlach" in the letter is interpreted as code for cannonballs. Don't let your knaidlach turn into cannonballs-- "serve matzo balls of legendary lightness with Planters-- the light cooking oil."

You've got to love Planters just for thinking that was a smooth line.

Finally, we have France. I always think of the New Orleans pastry dusted with powdered sugar when I hear beignets, but Planters presents a savory version for appetizers.

While this choux and cheese concoction sounds like a very French combination, I kind of suspect that the end of the French section was a dumping ground for recipes that wouldn't fit elsewhere in the booklet.

If I saw a recipe for deep fried cauliflower out of context, I would assume it to be an American recipe:

But this is listed in the French section, even though my internet searches suggest Cauliflower Gratin would have been a much more French cauliflower recipe.

Even more egregious, though, is the recipe below it:

Planters, do you realize the Florentine means in the style of Florence, a region in Italy? You even HAD a chapter on Italy where this could have gone. Florence is apparently in France if you ask the peanut farmers, though. You can't trust those goobers.

And since I'm not sure how to end this post, I will treat you to the back cover so you can see the full array of '60s Planters products, including everything from Hunt Club Burgerbits dog food to Siesta decaf to the aforementioned Shake-A Pudd'n. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Gettin' Corny for October

October is officially National Popcorn Poppin' Month! To celebrate, here are a couple of recipes Orville Redenbacher ever-so-generously donated to the Parsley, Persimmons, and Peas Cookbook (American Society of Interior Designers, Indiana, 1977).

Well, maybe they were donated by some corporations on his behalf, judging by his biography.

If you prefer salty and savory popcorn, Cheddar Toss 'n Heat offers sharp cheddar with a wall of butter and heaps of garlic and onion salt:

My seven-year-old self would have been ALL OVER this stuff (well, if it was light on the garlic and onion).

For the sweet popcorn lovers, we have Peanut Butter Nougat Bars:

That's enough butterscotch pieces, peanut butter, and mini marshmallows to glue 2-1/2 quarts of popcorn (along with some granola) into slice-able, chocolate-topped bars. I'm sure some '70s mom made them as a healthy dessert for the kids. The granola and popcorn make all that sugar healthy, right?

Happy Popcorn Poppin' Month! Now I've got to figure out if there is a national holiday for adding the ending -g to -ing words where it has been removed in a corny attempt to seem homey and informal.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Let's Casserole (and Fry, and Boil, and...)

The Only Cookbook You'll Ever Need (Zoë Camrass, 1977) is not a lot like my other cookbooks. That means you were correct when you just guessed that it's not loaded with recipes calling for various combinations of canned fruit cocktail, undiluted cream of something soup, cans of chow mein noodles, and packets of lime Jell-O. (The book does have a recipe for lemon or orange gelatin, flavored with actual lemons or oranges, but it's billed as a standalone dessert and not part of an elaborate "salad" full of marshmallows, mayonnaise, celery, nuts, cherries, and pickles.)

The unique thing about this book is the way it's set up. It's organized by cooking method, which is something I hadn't seen before. That means the first section has basic prep rules for fish and shellfish, then poultry and game birds, meat and game, vegetables, fruit, cereals, and eggs and dairy. Then there's a section on boiling and steaming, starting with fish and shellfish and cycling clear through to eggs and dairy. Then the cycle starts again with "Stewing and Casseroling" fish, etc. (And yes, Camrass does use "casseroling" as a verb, which makes me almost as happy as I feel when I hit a garage sale with a pile of 50-cent cookbooks from somebody's grandma.)

So today, we're going to look at a weird representative from each section of the book, starting with the "Basic Preparation" chapter.

I don't see a lot of beer soup recipes, but this has some similarity to the Bavarian recipe I posted a few years ago-- minus the whipped egg whites and with the addition of sliced French bread in the bottom of the bowl. (Plus, this version doesn't come with serving suggestions, so I'm not sure whether anyone served Soupe à la Bière as an after school snack, as the other recipe suggests.)

For the "Boiling and Steaming" chapter, I picked out a recipe that doesn't appear to involve either:

Lima Bean and Mackerel Salad dumps together beany and fishy components with sour cream, lemon juice, seasonings, and shallots, but I guess the authors count cooking the lima beans first as the boiling step, even though it should be done before the recipe officially starts.

At least the "Stewing and Casseroling" chapter casseroles the hell out of some lettuce:

I'm not sure why anyone would really want heads of lettuce that had been baked for 45 minutes after a brief boil (maybe fear of E. coli?), but this has BACON. I guess even back in the 1970s, cooks realized they could get people to eat pretty much anything if it had bacon.

How about something dramatic for the "Broiling" chapter?

I'd call this recipe "Fish in Hell," but Camrass goes for the more subdued Sea Bass with Herbes Flambé.

It would definitely make for a memorable dinner party (especially if someone accidentally caught the dining room on fire and sent everyone else to hell to keep the fish company).

For "Frying and Sautéing," the book has somewhat of an Elvis special.

Of course, the Banana and Bacon Fritters lack the peanut butter, but I'll bet it would be easy to make a peanut butter dipping sauce to go with them.

And finally, to represent the "Roasting and Baking" section, one of the weirder layer cakes I've seen....

I know Baked Chicken Pancakes is not explicitly billed as a layer cake, but it's much closer to a layer cake than to, say, the dish of chicken and waffles that may spring to mind when you hear the name. With its pancake layers stacked together with a thick chicken, mushroom, and shrimp filling and a mornay sauce glaze, this is a birthday cake for those annoying friends who go on and on about how they've cut sugar out of their lives. Just shove a few candles through the mornay sauce and into the pancakes once this comes out of the oven.

So there you have it-- a quick tour of The Only Cookbook You'll Ever Need. While I'm not sure I'd define "need" in quite the same way as the author, I'm glad it gave me an excuse to show you how to really cook your romaine to avoid food-borne illness and to set your fish aflame.