Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You will enjoy this effective post because it is very nearly real.

I often pick recipes because I personally have doubts about them, but at least the cookbooks' authors and editors seem to have confidence in them. Even the caption writers for 1953's 500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers (edited by Ruth Berolzheimer) seemed to wonder about the recipes I have chosen for today, though.

Here is the picture of carrot croquettes:

Arranged in a flower pattern with green bean bundles around a dip of some sort, they look like a '50s housewife's idea of fancy. The caption had me scratching my head for a minute, though:

They're "very nearly real"? It looks to me as if they ARE real. They're on the platter, right? Viewers haven't been somehow hypnotized to believe that there is something beyond a plate in the picture, have we? I finally figured out that the copywriter probably meant that the croquettes' cone shapes and parsley tops almost made them look like real raw carrots (which they most certainly do not).

Just in case you want to make your own carrot croquettes:

They're basically carrot baby food mixed with fat, egg yolk, and breadcrumbs before being deep fried. (I have serious doubts about how well this mixture could be made into "carrot-shaped pyramids" or anything other than a carroty puddle, but "carrot-shaped pyramids" is my new favorite descriptive phrase.)

I think I will keep my preparation of this recipe in the realm of the "very nearly real."
Next up, we have a casserole. What kinds of adjectives might you use to describe your favorite casserole? I usually like something creamy and/or cheesy with a crispy crust on top. Many would call a casserole comforting, and of course nearly everyone would consider a favorite casserole to be delicious. I doubt anyone would have thought of the adjective this caption uses, though:

What makes an "effective" casserole? Is it the ability to be ingested? That's not particularly encouraging if this is the only claim a recipe can make. Hey, you CAN eat it! If you really want to... And your stomach will probably be full afterwards, providing, of course, that you can keep the casserole down.

So what goes into a casserole of sausage and corn?

If you guessed sausage and corn, you are very perceptive. Canned Vienna sausages (yum!) with corn, green pepper, and white sauce. Sounds pretty effective.

I admit, I probably would have read this final caption without a second thought if I hadn't already noticed the other weird captions. However, after reading those, this one takes on a more ominous tone:

I envision the line being spoken by a mad scientist to a woman chained to an operating table in an old Universal horror movie: "You WILL enjoy sour cream potato salad served on cold cuts for the evening snack. We must keep your strength up for the brain transplant."

If you need to feed your own captives some sour cream potato salad, here's the recipe. Just be sure to order everyone to enjoy it and it should be a fine bedtime snack, especially for those who enjoy nightmares.