I am often asked why I’m glad that I wasn’t alive in the Sixties. In fact, I’m asked so often that I’m going to have to write a yet-to-be-determined-part story on it.
Okay, I’ve never been asked that but my mother gave me a set of 15 old Good Housekeeping Cookbooks which I believe aptly illustrate my relief at not having lived in the Sixties. Here’s “Cooking for Company.” They may be billed as “no-panic recipes”, but I would certainly panic if I was ever served some of this food.
But I digress. If anyone were to randomly ask me why I am happy not to have been alive in the Sixties, I would present to them Exhibit A: Aspic.
What was the obsession with aspic? Every cookbook I have ever seen from the mid-20th Century has featured aspic prominently. However, I have to say, nothing dresses up Jell-O like some lobster and sherry! That will really impress the discriminating guest!
Then of course who wouldn’t add gelatin to potato salad?! Seriously. That’s the best – as seen here in Potato Salad Supreme. (That loaf, however, does not look like any potato salad that I have ever seen.)
I don’t even know what the heck this is. It’s only captioned as a “Cool Idea”. It appears to be Jell-O rings filled with cottage cheese, celery, and chicken chunks served on lettuce. Mmmmmm….Yum.
Sometimes in the Sixties, they tried to disguise aspic as a “loaf” as in Three-Layer Beef and Vegetable Loaf. Don’t be fooled! Oh wait. I was fooled. I just double checked the recipe and, surprisingly, it does not call for aspic. Well slap olives on my aspic and call me a loaf.
But the Sixties weren’t all aspic and peyote. Sometimes they had … cones! What would a dinner party be without Company Tuna-Rice Cones? This recipe calls for, among other things, corn flakes, brown sugar, salad oil, and canned tuna. Nothing goes with brown sugar like canned tuna! That’s my motto.
The Roast Beef Hearty Party Salad actually doesn’t look too bad. Except that this version appears to be a bowl full of salad barfing up roast beef strips. You know your party was a hit when even the salad has a hangover!
Apparently, the editors got tired of ruining perfectly good food with aspic and decided to ask themselves, “How can we screw up a perfectly lovely chicken?” Then someone (probably someone who was high) said, “I know! Let’s use toothpicks to stick pickles and carrots onto it and cover it with some sort of flesh-colored gravy so that it looks raw!”
Wouldn’t you just know that the people who had to make Jell-O fancy would also have to do something about that bourgeois bologna? Oh yes, Bologna Barbecue! Just add rosemary, red wine, and cheese slices along with a few other basic ingredients and you will have this culinary masterpiece!
Gives new meaning to the phrase “stuck pig”, huh?
And that, my friends, is Part 1 of why I am glad I wasn’t alive in the Sixties.
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