Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bleak Housekeeping

There's something about January that makes me feel stuck. In a hopeless position. FOREVER. Maybe it's the cold, the small amount of daylight, the uncertainty of a new semester ahead. Whatever it is, it kicks into high gear right about now.

One way to try to escape the mid-January funk is to take a trip to the tropics, and in any retro cookbook, the tropics means pineapple. Let's see what Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook (1971) might suggest:

Hula away those winter blues with Pineapple-Cherry Bologna! The bologna in question is ring bologna, which I have to admit I have never had. I guess it's similar to lunch meat bologna, but made in the shape of a smoked sausage ring. I'm not a fan of regular bologna, so we're not off to a good start.

The ring bologna gets to look as if it's been in a slasher movie: sliced up and oozing organs. The special effects are courtesy of the pineapple-cherry glaze: crushed pineapple, maraschino cherries, corn syrup, vinegar, and cloves slopped on before baking the whole mess around a mound of Potato Buds.

That tropical vacation is looking less appealing by the moment, trying its best to make January look a little better by comparison.

Bonus recipe:

Just because it was on the same page as the Pineapple-Cherry Bologna, here's a recipe in the "most work for smallest payoff" department:

Chili dogs sound fine: hot and filling on a cold day. The thing that kills me about this recipe is the cheese. Cooks are instructed to cut a single slice of American cheese "into 36 strips, about 1 x 1/4 inch" and then stuff the tiny strips of cheese into the corresponding 36 diagonal cuts they have previously made on 12 hot dogs. What is the purpose of this precision? Was American cheese considered a rare and expensive variety back then? Was the recipe for people whose children would count individual cheese molecules to make sure their siblings didn't get more than their fair share? Maybe it wouldn't be artistic enough to instead sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese on top before throwing this in the oven?

A part of me suspects that counting the cheese strips could serve a similar function as grabbing a pineapple in January: concentrating on some small detail will allow the bleakness of the bigger picture to disappear into the background. As long as women didn't THINK about their lives being reduced to cutting a cheese slice into 36 identical strips that could be used to stuff hot dogs, they would be fine.

1 comment:

  1. The tropic are not looking too appealing with these recipes as examples, Poppy. As for those Chili Dogs, I do vaguely remember haphazardly sticking cheese into hot dogs but goodness gracious, I do not remember why! Thanks for sharing, Poppy...