Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fish for dessert!

Okay, no one suggested eating fish for dessert. It's just that when I see food made to look festive and/or cute, my thoughts automatically lean toward dessert. So when I saw this in Jane Beaton's Woman's Own Book of Casserole Cookery (1967), I saw ice cream swirls with a mint sauce and bright candy toppings.

The label, however, sent me to this recipe:

Yes, the "ice cream" is actually whipped potatoes and the sauce is watercress, spinach, and rosemary rather than mint. The candies are peas and "diamonds of canned pimento." I am officially shocked that the cookbook didn't insist this would be perfect for one's next ladies' luncheon, as all cute recipes used to dictate. Maybe there's not enough sugar in it or the lack of pink food coloring disqualifies it.

Even though this next picture is in black and white, it's still cute enough that I know my childhood self would have been quite impressed if I could have had a similar design for a birthday cake:

I love the fishy stare and the way the enormous lips and smallish tail look almost identical. Alas, this is not a dessert either:

What have I learned today? Well, aside from the obvious lesson that I shouldn't assume cute foods will be dessert, I also learned that Jane Beaton was obsessed, yes, obsessed, with piping mashed potatoes. Just in case these two recipes don't give you enough ideas, there was actually an entire centerfold on various ways to pipe mashed potatoes:

This is only part of it, and it is just from the stand-alone guide to piped potato designs. It doesn't even count the many other piped mashed potato recipes.

Now I'm thinking back to the psychology classes I took in college and wondering if Jane Beaton had a serious case of sublimation. Unable to express her baser urges any other way, she turned to mashed potatoes and a pastry bag....

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