Saturday, December 28, 2019

Green beans to round out the old year in style

Not sure what to do with those holiday leftovers? Maybe looking for something unusual to star in the new year's buffet? Well, the Blue Lake pole green beans mascot that is definitely not a rip-off of Mr. Peanut is here from the November 1968 Family Circle to offer some advice.

The key to glamorizing that sandwich of leftover turkey is easy!

Pile canned green beans on top of it! It will be a Bean Dandy! (And throw some Parkay Margarine, Salad Secret Dressing, and Kraft Sharp Natural Cheddar on too, since Kraft apparently owns all the brands and wants all your money.)

If you want a sophisticated salad for the buffet, but think Caesar has been overplayed, well, I'll bet you can guess what our tuxedo-ed friend would recommend.

Yep! Dump a can of green beans on it.

And try Kraft Italian dressing with a raw egg in it as your topper, since apparently Kraft didn't make a Caesar dressing in 1968.

But if you want a really show-stopping salad for the New Years' buffet, one that really reinforces the 1960s feel, you know what you need.

A jellied salad! At least this one doesn't start with lemon or lime Jell-O.

It's just plain gelatin thickening up the cottage cheese/ Miracle Whip/ milk/ parsley/ onion mixture, with a bunch of canned green beans and other veggies marinated in French dressing (Yep, Kraft worked in TWO dressings!) dumped in the middle. It does look interesting, shimmering softly in the waning light of the old year, and if your guests are wise, they will treat it as an inedible centerpiece.

I guess Mr. Green Bean in a Top Hat would still approve of leaving it as a centerpiece, as long as you'd shelled out the money for the green beans and salad dressing. It would be sad to ring in the new year with a disappointed anthropomorphic vegetable.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Holiday Greetings from Tropical Santa!

Merry Christmas (if you don't mind being wished merry Christmas by your curmudgeonly recipe-collecting atheist friend)/ Happy Wednesday (if you'd prefer that greeting instead). I thought I'd celebrate today with a friend from the December 1954 issue of Better Living.

It's cupcake Santa with a really twisty hat and piñata-covering-style beard! And if you're wondering what makes Santa's face so merry and bright, it's clove eyes with a cherry nose and mouth stuck on a banana!

The clothes are just colored paper, not edible, unless you're one of those kids who would eat paper if somebody offered you a quarter to do it.

Depending on the color-fastness of the paper and the moisture level of the banana, you might be lucky enough to ingest some of that sweet red dye, though!

The most surprising part of this little craft project (Well, besides imagining that kids might be interested in eating a heavily-toothpicked banana when there's a nice chocolate cupcake underneath!) is that it's actually an ad for a product you'd never guess. Nope, it's not Chiquita bananas or Betty Crocker cake mixes. It's a product that doesn't even show up in the edible Santa.

Cupcake Santa is part of an ad for Wrigley's Spearmint Chewing Gum, and also a reminder that back in the '50s it didn't sound odd to give the children gay packages for Christmas.

Here's hoping your day is full of surprises, red dye, and maybe yummy things on toothpicks! Just be sure that you're only eating the edible portions!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

A Hell(mann's)ish holiday!

It's almost Christmas, so for a holiday treat, here are some tips on ways to mold Hellmann's real mayonnaise into festive shapes from an ad in the November 1968 Family Circle.

For a festive traditional look, mound the Cream Cheese Spread (cream cheese, mayo, walnuts, and pineapple) into a wreath.

This (like all the dips in the ad) resembles cat puke mounded into a festive shape, but the garnish really does sell the look as well as anything could. I just wish the decorating instructions were included! I can't tell what kind of leaves they are. Basil maybe? I'm not sure about the berries either. White grapes and canned cherries? Various shades of gooseberries?

If your favorite decoration is the Christmas tree, there's Ham Spread with Cloves (ham, mayo, eggs, relish, onion, cloves).

At least I'm pretty sure the garnish here is parsley and cherry tomatoes, though the patchy parsley makes this look more like a blobby alien quickly trying to grow a plant-like covering so no one will realize it's an impostor than an actual tree.

The Liverwurst Spread (liverwurst, cottage cheese, mayo, relish, onion, Worcestershire) does better to with the garnish placement.

The bell has some rough bell equivalent to a mullet hairdo: business on top, party on the bottom.

And if you are sick of cliché holiday shapes, go for Cheddar Cheese Spread with Sherry (cheddar, mayo, sherry).

Corn chips (and a green pepper wing) turn that pile into a festive, self-dipping chicken. Make this one as a special dip Christmas eve night to remind yourself that the kiddies will wake you up long before a rooster would normally crow....

Happy pre-holiday weekend! Now get out there and play with your food.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Make It Now-- Ask Questions Later

The title of Make It Now-- Bake It Later! (Barbara Goodfellow, 1965) sounds as if it may be a guide to getting ready for the holidays, and the bright red and white cover reinforces that idea. Make all your cookie and bread doughs ahead of time and freeze/ refrigerate them! Get those goodies almost ready so you'll have more time to enjoy the holidays when they come. (Just kidding! You'd use the time to wrap gifts so quickly that you'll then waste an extra 27 minutes unwrapping and rewrapping all the stuff you forgot to label and can't tell apart anymore. Or now, in modern times, you can also spend that "saved" time surreptitiously checking out the neighbors' porches to see if your Amazon order got shipped to the wrong house or just flat-out stolen.)

My first impression was wrong, though. There are a few sweet recipes in the back, but Goodfellow seems to have forgotten the premise of the book by then. Most of them are just traditional recipes like drop cookies to mix and bake at once, and a few (like mousse and ice cream) don't even require baking.

Most of the book is about mixing various cans of things in the morning, throwing them in the fridge, and then baking them for dinner in the evening.

At least the charming handwritten cover isn't misleading, as the pages are all written by hand too. And to be fair, the recipes don't all involve canned goods. Sausages and Apples doesn't have any.

It's just kind of an apple rice pudding studded with sausages and "frosted" with ketchup. And it will take at least a half-hour of prep time before throwing it in the fridge (assuming you don't mind compromising the refrigerator temperature by putting the casserole in while it's still hot), so the time-saving aspect is pretty questionable.

Some recipes don't call for canned goods, but interestingly use "cheese glass"-- a glass jar that cheese spreads came in-- as a measuring cup.

To go with the breezy directions, this recipe is served cold. No need to bake the mayo/ catsup/ lemon juice/ brandy-soaked lobster.

A lot of the recipes are inexplicably excited about cans, though. Try this California Barbecue at your next cookout!

Your guests are sure to be awed by the treat of five cans of macaroni and cheese mixed with thawed frozen spinach and topped with a can of fried onions!

I'm also not sure why Goodfellow is so thrilled about canned potatoes...

...but the word canned merits an underline AND an exclamation point, so it's apparently super-exciting that canned potatoes can successfully(?) be combined with a can of mushroom soup.

Goodfellow is one of those cooks who seems to think that diners' inability to guess what the hell she's feeding them is a plus.

Tomato Side Dish: Your friends will ask, "How did you make this?"  out loud. Silently, they will ask why.

And no one will guess what's in Clam and Corn Souffle.

Well, unless they see the title. But maybe they wouldn't guess that soda crackers are the filler? And they will be too unfamiliar with the concept of corn to notice it hanging out with the clams and soda crackers?

Barbara Goodfellow's enthusiasm is so all-encompassing, though, that it might just have been enough to make everyone else excited for various combinations of canned goods and crumbs. I doubt I could pull off that trick, so I'll hold my casserole dish over my heart in her memory (or at least I'll say that I did because it makes a weird closing line).

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Funny Names: I Don't Think So Edition

Here's a recipe from Adventures in Food (St. Petersburg Junior College American Dental Hygiene Association, ca. mid-'60s to early '70s) that does not live up to its title.

The "Kinky Breakfast" that "SOUND WIERD [sic] - TASTES GOOD" is not at all kinky. No champagne, strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, expanses of bare skin, etc. And it doesn't even sound all that weird. It's just eggs baked on a bed of mashed potatoes and topped with a cheese like "monteray [sic] jack" or whatever. It's like a Midwesterner's idea of shakshuka: swap out the spicy tomatoes for mashed potatoes and melt cheese over the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A Hot Meat Magic Deluxe Salad Loaf

Apparently, Community Favorites: Meat Magic (Favorite Recipes Press, 1965) wasn't a community favorite at the antique mall, as I got my copy for all of fifty cents (marked down from a dollar). Impressive displays of peppercorns on a cookbook cover must not have the same draw they used to....

I loved reading through the book trying to figure out the contributors' cooking philosophies. I saw a lot of hot chicken and turkey salads that looked an awful lot like casseroles to me, for example, so I had to figure out what sets a "hot salad" apart from a "casserole." I was pretty sure "salad" was code for "I used mayonnaise instead of cream-of-something soup."

But then, I came across this, which as far as I can tell is just a baked chicken-and-rice pilaf.

I have no idea what makes it a salad, just as I have no idea what makes Chicken Ravioli into ... well ... ravioli.

It's clearly just a chicken-noodle casserole. I think the contributors to Meat Magic were just sick of admitting that they made casseroles, so they would apply other food-related terms and hope nobody would notice that they didn't actually apply to the recipe.

Sometimes, I can kind of see the logic. Turning popular dishes into loaves was kind of the sixties equivalent of turning everything into sushi now, so the idea of a chili loaf didn't surprise me.

It was more Mrs. Robert Koopman's idea of chili that took me by surprise. I don't imagine chili starting with a big can of peas. Why not a can of chili beans?

Well, the Sloppy Joes Deluxe recipe suggests that a can of beans is maybe just a bit too fancy for an everyday loaf recipe...

As far as I can tell, deluxe is usually old cookbook code for recipes with sour cream, mushrooms, or maybe cashews. Here, it apparently refers to mashed canned kidney beans! This is definitely the first time I've seen deluxe used that way. Mrs. W. D. Hartner must have had a very austere upbringing.

The book does have some room for fun, though. My favorite might just be the Yankee Sea Loaf.

You know I love anything that looks like a craft project, and from the scalloped edges of the bready "chest" to the pepper "handle" on top, this is a great example of the genre. It's filled with, basically, salmon loaf:

So it's a double loaf: a loaf of fish in a loaf of bread! And it is supposed to be doused in Sea Sauce:

You better like white sauce with clam juice and egg yolks.

So, yeah. The ideas about cooking are kind of all over the place in this little booklet, but it's a fun look into how the boredom of spending days mixing proteins and starches together before shoving them into the oven leads to creative recipe titles and pirates' chests stuffed with a bounty of canned salmon.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Funny Name: Not Sculpted Edition

When I saw the name of this recipe from Traditional British Cooking for Pleasure (Gladys Mann, 1967), I really, really hoped it was going to be a funny little animal sculpted out of bacon, maybe with some whipped potato features piped on. (Who can resist a stripey potato face?)

Sadly, Bucks Bacon Badger is just bacon mixed with potato, onion, sage, and pepper and boiled in a suet pastry coating. No sculpting or potato-piping skills required, just lots of boiling.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

On Shaky Ground

Meatloaf with rows of greenish something in the middle, bleeding inside its pastry case? Leaning tower of burgers afloat on a sea of rice? Some half-assed hamburger-based Charlotte Royale stuffed with potato salad and onions instead of Bavarian cream? Sign me up! The cover alone is enough to sell me on Great Ground-Beef Recipes (Grace White for Family Circle, 1966).

The delights on the cover are all pretty complicated, but surprisingly enough, the faux-Royale has the shortest recipe:

It's a Matambre Roll, or more accurately, a faux-matambre, as as the real matambre is a cut of meat available in parts of Latin America, but not generally to U.S. cooks. Here, ground beef tries to pretend it's a similar cut to hold the carrot-and-bread stuffing. From what I can gather, the carrots at least are usually a part of a real matambre roll! However, my investigations suggest that arranging the rolls in a little circle and plopping German potato salad topped with red onion in the middle is not exactly traditional.

You might not think that the little burger tower would have a longer recipe than the jelly-rolled and meticulously arranged matambre roll, but you would be wrong.

Pagoda Burgers take an entire half page (rather than nearly a half page) because the instructions need to specify how to make a dozen patties in three different sizes, plus broil pineapple and tomato, plus make a soy-molasses-lemon-green-onion sauce, then assemble the whole mess into towers over rice, all garnished with a preserved-kumquat-and-pickle flower. It's a lovely and vaguely hat-shaped way of informing the family that you've lost your mind.

The real pièce de résistance, of course, is the bleeding pastry meat case, aka Continental Pâté Loaf.

And it is an all-day affair, from the Meat-Pie Pastry-Making, to the baking, to gelatin injection and chilling and finally, the Fluffy Mustard Saucification.

The dinner company had better be damn appreciative.

Of course, my tastes run a bit more simple. The beauties on the cover are eye-catching, but are they any competition for this?

You might ask what's the big deal about a burger with some cheese and onion rings on top, but if that's all you notice, you're seriously missing out on the top bun. (It's not on top yet. Look to the left.)

Yep, it's covered in green beans. Intentionally. (The dried-out-peach-skin-looking-thing on top of them is supposed to be bacon.)

I'm not sure what the hamburger club is or why the members expect people to eat what is essentially green bean casserole as a burger topping, but I imagine half of the audience is repulsed and half is feeling strangely compelled. If you're in the latter half, now you know what to do with holiday leftovers!

And finally the treat I'm pretty sure nobody asked for: King Burgers!

I mean, I can't imagine there is a huge market for burgers garnished with a surreal mixed grill of broiled mashed potatoes and peach halves filled with pickle relish. But hey, the title insists the recipe is great, so eat like a king if you want. I think I will avoid the royal treatment....