Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stuff Your Celery Hole!

New Year's Resolutions are no reason to cancel that party-- at least, that't the thinking in Low Calorie Menus for Entertaining (Elaine Ross, 1970). (Never mind that a lot of people WANT parties as an excuse to forget about their resolutions....)

Since the cover seems to suggest it's fine to throw a live chicken onto a scale with a precariously balanced lit candle, though, I'm not sure how much I trust Ross's judgment. That chicken is going to lunge for the parfait and then the whole house will be on fire.

Honestly, a lot of the recipes aren't that terrible-- probably because a big part of the calorie-cutting strategy is to serve teeny portions:

Glorified French Loaf doesn't sound too bad-- French bread stuffed with meat and seasonings, then sliced and sauteed in butter. The trick is that the two five-inch lengths of French bread are supposed to serve SIX people. Trying to share a foot-long sub with your five closest friends at the local Subway would actually be more generous. 

Love baked potatoes? Well, rejoice or despair at the thought of these:

Yay! You get a baked potato! But maybe the sight of one lonely small new potato (even moderately-sized new potatoes are not allowed!) with a whole teaspoon of sour cream will be such a reminder of what you're missing that you would be happier without one. 

It's not all miniatures of beloved favorites, though. The book has plenty of recipes that clearly fall in the "only a dieter would eat this" camp, like this creative classic:

Celery-Stuffed Celery! For the days when your celery just isn't celery-y enough for you! Fill it with more of the stringy stuff, along with some cottage cheese and seasoned salt because a spoonful of cottage cheese makes the diet food go down. (At least, in theory.)

And then, of course, there are the dishes that will promote weight loss because I can't imagine anyone wanting to eat them in the first place....

Maybe I'm not the best measure since I hate cantaloupe anyway, but has anyone ever really craved a baked cantaloupe half filled with onion, beef, rice, cinnamon, currants and pine nuts? And if so, could we really find SIX such people and get them all to come to the same party? (At least the dinner conversation would be different from the usual blather about the weather. "So, what kind of early trauma led you to become the kind of person who will happily eat a cantaloupe dolma? And why are you so happy with the celery-stuffed celery?" "So you fed nothing but wallpaper paste as a child, and anything looks good now? How interesting.")

At least the book is very optimistic, imagining that anyone who consistently serves this stuff will always have at least five friends willing to come to the party. Here's hoping out new year will have some happy surprises that aren't baked into a cantaloupe shell.


  1. Well, I'd probably lose weight because those recipes sound AWFUL and I'd lose my appetite

    1. And since the recipes are for entertaining, you could lose friends, too.