Saturday, July 2, 2016

A puzzling but Glamour-ous July

Welcome to July! Let's see what's sizzling for the hot '60s couples using Glamour Magazine's New After Five Cookbook (Beverly Pepper, 1963).

I normally only show weekday recipes because there are no Saturday recipes (It's the night to go out and do the Madison!), and the Sunday recipes are usually pretty decent. Plus they serve four because all hot '60s couples had another couple come to visit on Sunday?

I'm making an exception this time:

Yeah, canned jellied consomme with lemon wedges sounds boring. There is nothing new about minted peas. The Carpetbagger Fried Chicken-- marinated in sour cream and spices, then fried-- sounds downright good. I am just mesmerized by the Avocado Sweet Potatoes. The recipe starts with "Heat 4 jars infant pureed sweet potato"! Then mix it with mashed avocado, crushed pineapple, a few seasonings, and heat up the whole mess. I can't imagine what hot baby food and avocado would taste like to begin with, but to consider it company fare to boot? It seems like something aliens who only imperfectly understood human eating habits might feed the breeding pair on display in the zoo. "Happy feast day, hu-mans. Enjoy this steaming pile of orange-and-green glop with pineapple bits!"

Monday left me feeling confused as well:

Iced Asparagus Soup starts out with a can of asparagus soup and some ice cubes, but it is to be mixed "with 1 can iced milk." As far as I know, iced milk was the light dessert my grandma used to buy because rich ice cream gave her indigestion (and before we had frozen yogurt and double churned dairy dessert replaced old fashioned ice milk). I'm pretty sure that's NOT what the recipe means, but I can't get over the mental image of an asparagus soup sundae. (I'm also still not sure what the recipe is calling for. Milk mixed with ice cubes? Ice cubes made out of milk? Let me know if you have any idea.)

The rest of the menu is pretty straightforward, but as is frequently the case, Pepper can't bring herself to call for fresh seasonal fruit in the dessert when canned goods exist. It's July, so instead of some fresh berries or maybe a juicy peach, let's dump some canned apple slices over bananas and out-of-season citrus. Add some cinnamon and nutmeg so they won't feel as special when fall hits.

The idea of using in-season fruit eventually occurs to Pepper, as peeled, pitted (not canned!) peaches do show up for Thursday:

Of course, these unfortunate little guys are paired with Quick Veal Tonnato, a fancy name for veal scallopini in white wine with runny, pureed tuna salad dumped all over it. Why enjoy the main course when you can make it look and smell like a shark barfed on it?

That makes the book-typical salad of canned potatoes with French dressing and thawed-out peas seem positively delightful by comparison.

Finally, to round things out, let's hit another Thursday:

Good old Bayou Kidney Stew! I suppose it's not so bad if you don't mind organ meats-- otherwise it's just bacon, onion, green pepper, olives, tomato, and seasonings. The salad leaves me a little cold, though. Garlic toast topped with oranges, pimientos, French dressing, and hard-cooked egg sounds really random. Just clean out the fridge, dump it on toast, and claim it's a salad! At least the Fruit Wine Cooler might soften the blow....

So what have we learned for July?
  1. Puzzling over ambiguous drawings can make a Sunday fly by! I suspect it's supposed to be a baguette, but it could also be a lobster tail or an unusually domed turd. The picture doesn't seem to match any of the items on the Sunday menu (or on the Monday menu on the same page), so anything is possible. 
  2. Buttermilk is not just a liquid ingredient in biscuits, but can also be used as a handy dampening agent for already-baked goods.
  3. When in doubt, mash and/or puree everything so diners won't have a clear idea of what you're trying to feed them. 
  4. It is fun but also disturbing to imagine asparagus soup sundaes-- and then other variations. Maybe tomato soup over chocolate iced milk? Cream-of-mushroom over strawberry? The possibilities are endlessly gag-worthy. 
  5. When serving baby food to adults, plan on one jar per diner.
Have a great weekend! Now go dampen some biscuits! (I hope that's a euphemism for something fun.)


  1. On the Monday menu, is that a noose hanging overhead? A hanging might be preferable to eating ice milk

    1. A noose might be the best guess yet! The cookbook seems fond of that sketch, and I have no idea what it's supposed to be. A noose is definitely preferable to an ice milk soup sundae.