Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Adventures in Soy Puree and "Skallops"

Ready for an adventure? Adventures in Dining Cook Book (Rose Greer Stoia and Norene Martin, 1978) doesn't clearly let on to the book's secret right away. The only one seems to be that all the utensils on the cover are clear. (Check it out! The nutcracker is apparently simultaneously in front of AND behind the whisk, the rolling pin, and the peeler! The knife is playing the same game with the peeler and rolling pin.)

The real secret is that Kettering Medical Center put out this book, and it is a Seventh-day Adventist institution. That means the book is vegetarian and packed with scary '70s health food, like, say, this "souffle":

I am not sure what this dish has in common with a souffle-- no whipped egg whites, and I doubt the soaked-and-pureed soybeans flavored with "Savorex" (apparently similar to soy sauce and brewers yeast) and "Smokene" (smoke-flavored soy powder) would puff up appreciably in its 9x13 baking pan. I'm guessing the name is wishful thinking.

The book is really sold on the questionable use of soy. Here's an idea for a breakfast favorite:

I love golden-brown waffles-- crispy on the outside, fluffy inside, covered with a thin coat of natural peanut butter (just to prove I'm not totally immune to health-food ways). However, I can't imagine soaked soybeans pureed with raw rolled oats with just a bit of salt and oil would lead to anything remotely edible. This just sounds like it would turn into a gritty, gummy, waffle-shaped mess. (If the waffle iron is hard to open, take it as a sign these were not meant to be and get your secret stash of Eggos instead.)

No old Seventh-day Adventist cookbook would be complete without a foray into questionable canned "meat," such as this:

Like many of the old "Oriental" dishes I've featured, the claim is shaky at best. (I doubt that many Asian countries prominently feature cream-soup-based casseroles among their specialties!) Even better, though, this also features "skallops," a canned product that apparently still exists (although now under the Loma Linda name instead of Worthington). Most of the vegetarian seafood substitutes I've tried have been dismal (like the "calamari" that might as well have been deep-fried rubber bands or the "shrimp" that could have been shrimp-shaped Play Doh flavored with mold), and they had the advantages of modern food-processing technology and being refrigerated or frozen rather than canned. I can only imagine what canned "skallops" taste like. (I'm not spending over $60 to buy a case and find out!)

As the cream of mushroom soup hints, the book does not entirely consist of straight-up health foods. Here's a decadent take on meatballs:

I'm not sure how cream cheese mixed with eggs, pecans, and cracker crumbs, then baked  under canned mushroom soup would taste (I suspect I would like it more than I want to openly admit), but it's got to taste better than most of the attempts to make pureed soybeans seem like anything other than pureed soybeans-- and make your body less happy than a salmon steak would.

These are generally not adventures that many of us would care to take, but at the same time, I can't really accuse Adventures in Dining of false advertising.


  1. One woman's meatball is another's cheese ball. Cheesy ball of goodness! I would eat the hell out of that

    1. I have a feeling I would too. Cheese is awesome.