Monday, July 8, 2013

Scary Fruit Salads

Continuing with the summer theme, today's post is from the Better Homes and Gardens Salad Book, copyright 1958. Mine is the tenth printing from 1968.

First up: Frosty Pineapple Pastel.

This picture gives me social anxiety just by looking at it! The size suggests that this is meant for a party, but there is no discernible means of serving it. Even if the cookbook authors think readers will be smart enough to add serving implements, there will be no graceful way to get at the food. If you're serving a mound of various sherbets on a summer evening before air conditioning is popular, this will look nice for five minutes max before everything is taken over by sticky, hard-to-scoop but luckily so unappetizing that it's unlikely anyone will try, rainbow sludge.

If I were at the party where this was served, I'd really want some of the pineapple, but there is no way to get at it without digging through a bunch of gloppy sherbet, and there is actually no way to know it's there just by looking. I'd consider grabbing a few strawberries off the edge, but I know I'd find a way to lose the hull and piss off whoever was throwing the party when they had to get it off the carpet if they were lucky (and try to get it out of their previously pristine white couch if they were unlucky) the next day. There is no way to gracefully eat a whole pear in public (and what kind of a party food is that, anyway?). I'd look at it and swear there was no way I could eat another bite. Maybe serving this would be a good way to avoid buying much for the party, though. One Frosty Pineapple Pastel could feed thousands of socially inhibited guests.

Next up: Pink Pears

Fifties and sixties cookbooks are loaded with suggestions for ladies' luncheons, and the recipes always leave me with the impression that women must have reverted to being eight years old if they congregated in groups at lunch time. This is just one excellent example. It's not enough for the salad to be sweet (with two kinds of candy!) and frilly (with cream cheese and lettuce ruffles, plus a ruffly plate for the truly well-prepared lady), but the pear also has to be tinted pink. The ladies might forget they're ladies if they can't have color-coded food.

A bonus for the kiddies: Speedy Cheese-Over-Pears

Yes, it is a good idea to have easy recipes for kids, and it is easy to slop mayonnaise between canned pear halves and then garnish with lettuce, olives, and shredded American cheese. It would be just as easy to smear Vaseline between canned pear halves and then dump pencil shavings over them, and my childhood self would have been just as likely to eat that recipe as I would have been to eat this one. Why do the ladies get creamed cheese and candy on their pears when kids are saddled with this?

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