Monday, August 5, 2013

More '70s health food

I'm not sure where to start with The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery, 1971 edition (previous editions 1948 and 1951). It covers way more than I would ever expect in a single book, with sections devoted to everything from how to start a frog farm (so you can sell frog legs, of course!) to definitions for both the obscure (Oxygenee, sycamine, citrange) and the [now] common (paper towels, soy sauce). There is advice for arranging and decorating the kitchen, setting the table, and planning menus, along with histories, buying advice, and recipes for all kinds of common fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, and animals. (I even found a recipe for hassenpfeffer, a dish my childhood self suspected Bugs Bunny had made up because the name sounded so funny. Bugs would be less than thrilled about the directions for skinning and cleaning a rabbit that appear on the preceding page.)

Feeling unsure where to start as I leafed through the book, I spotted the entry for "Health Food Cookery." Let's see how it compares to the ideas about health food from Rodale:

Sorry the columns lean a little, but the book is big and I was trying not to destroy it as I scanned it! This is the best I got from multiple attempts....

Some of the health foods are no surprise: beans, whole grains, dried fruits, yogurt. Some of them have a distinctly '70s health food feel, like carob and blackstrap molasses. What really struck me, though, is how many of the items on the list are supposed to be added to drinks.

A "healthy" smoothie from the '70s might be a glass of milk or fruit juice loaded up with bone meal, carob, fish liver oil, dessicated liver, rice polish, and/or yeast! A cry of "To your health!" before downing one of these was probably less a happy toast than a shouted reminder of why you were expected to chug the sludgy concoction.

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