Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mexi-Hungarian dip, wallpaper paste, and other questionable table top dishes...

Get out your macrame wall hanging and your leisure suit! Today we are headed to the '70s with 1971's Fondue and Table Top Cookery by Marion Howells.

I love the tiled wall and the pottery crock holding the fondue. I can't quite tell what the little cubes sprinkled with parsley in the front row are. They might be cubed fruit, but they might also be cheese. If this picture is suggesting dipping cheese in cheese, I am definitely excited by that idea!

Despite the cover, much of the book is actually devoted to "table top cookery." What is that?

A lot of it is suggestions for foods that can be kept warm in chafing dishes for guests whose schedules may be a bit unpredictable, such as teens coming home from the big game. They are bound to love dishes like this:

I can't figure out how the dip is Mexican, though. What makes onion, vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and paprika Mexican? There's not even any chili powder! I would assume a few grains of chili powder was the bare minimum for a food to be considered "Mexican" in the '70s. I guess calling it "Hungarian Dip" (not that this would necessarily be any more authentic, but at least it would fit the paprika use) would not have had as much appeal to '70s teens.

Other recipes try to be impressive by cooking the food right at the table, such as in an electric skillet. How about a fresh omelette, made right before your eyes? Before you look too excited, let me make the situation a bit clearer:

How about an omelette full of squishy, slimy noodles in a thin, overly-sweet metallic sauce? Canned spaghetti is so bad, why stretch out the eating experience by adding it to an omelette? This is something I do not understand.

The fondues mostly sound pretty good, though:

Italian cheeses loosened up with a bit of alcohol and melted to a thick, bubbly dip? That's more like it! (As long as you don't look at the picture, anyway):

The recipe sounds delicious, but the picture looks like hard potato chunks dipped in stringy wallpaper paste! Plus the greasy yellow swirls in the pan are... uh... not so inviting. I guess I'm more interested in eating the fondue if I don't actually have to look too closely at it!

Happy Wednesday! Try not to look too closely at a Wednesday, either, or you will fixate on how far it is from a weekend....


  1. I'm very "fondue" of yr post!
    BTW, parmesean and pecorino cheese are VERY hard to melt. Stick w/ yr gruyere and swiss :D

    1. Maybe non-melty cheeses are the reason this looks so greasy and separated...