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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

I like to make Christmas special with fancy punch and appetizers.  To that end, when I was planning this year’s menu, I turned to my 1967 Good Housekeeping Complete Christmas Cookbook.  As always, I found plenty of ideas.  Not anything I would actually make, of course.  Or even eat, for that matter.

But it’s fun to imagine a punch where the garnish is made from garbage.  At least I hope that’s the garnish and not just the ingredients trying to escape.

 But the best recipe in the book has to be the Molded – Pate Cheese Balls.  (Number 1 in the picture below.)

It is, I am not making this up, made up of gelatin, cream cheese, beef consomme, and liver pate.  Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like liver Jello!  That’s my motto.  And the orange garnish around the bottom of the plate totally brings the presentation home!

Number 2 in the picture (official name: Nibblers Crisp) has a long list of ingredients and instructions, which can be summarized thusly: take a bunch of raw vegetables, put them in a Jello mold, add water until full, and then freeze.  It’s basically a big giant ball of vegetable ice.  I imagine guests standing at the buffet line with ranch dressing and an ice pick, “Dang it!  All I want is a frozen cucumber, but they keep breaking everytime I try to pull them off the ice!  CHRISTMAS IS RUINED!”

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Let me walk you through a typical evening at my house.

Kid:  What’s for dinner, Mommy?

Me:  Hmmm … How about lima beans and bologna?  I know it’s your favorite!

Kid:  Yay!  There’s nothing that can’t be improved by adding lima beans!

Me:  You’ve been really good today.  I think I’ll put some pineapple on top as an extra special treat!

Kid:  Yay!  You totally rock, Mommy!

Okay, well maybe it doesn’t happen exactly that way … but it might!

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I got a Good Housekeeping magazine from January 1966 because, quite honestly, I love them.  It’s a good thing they are cheap (when you can find them).

I also love to try new recipes out of vintage magazines.  Recipes like … say … Golden Fruited Meat Loaf.

No, it isn’t staring at you.  Those are actually prunes.  Here, I’ll show you.

I use the phrase “meat loaf” in the strictest terms.  It is made of both veal and pork.  Why do I call it the ADD Meat Loaf though?  Because it also has sweet potatoes, prunes, green beans, and almonds.  I can imagine serving this to my family, “Mooooooom, my dinner is staring at me!  I’m scared!”  And my husband yelling, “Don’t stomp on it, it isn’t a giant insect.  It just looks like one.”

Nothing says gourmet, though, like curled up hot dogs served with bow tie pasta.  Especially if you call it a Saucy Frank Dinner.

Aaaaaand … a close up.

Remember, nothing says you love your family like serving them a gourmet meal!  And nothing screams gourmet like curled up hot dogs sprinkled with parsley.

(Okay, I am not making this up.  I was just proofreading this and Meat Galore comes in and says, “Are you gonna make that hot dog thing?  It looks really good.”)

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Flaming Cabbage.

Have you ever been invited to a potluck and didn’t know what you should take?  Well, this recipe I am about to share with you will solve that problem for you forever; because one of two things will happen.  Either you won’t be invited to another potluck or everyone will love your flaming cabbage so much that they will ask you to make it every time.

My mother called me and asked, “How do you keep a straight face when you’re playing a joke on someone?”  I answered back, “Well that’s usually pretty easy since my jokes aren’t very funny.  What are you going to do?”

Well, she found this flaming cabbage recipe (well I don’t know if it’s technically a recipe – you just hollow out a cabbage and put Sterno in it) in a retro cookbook and she took it to her book club and told them that they were supposed to use it to roast cocktail weenies.

The only problem was that everyone thought it was a great idea!  And no one laughed.

I probably wouldn’t laugh either if someone brought me a flaming cabbage and told me to roast cocktail weenies on it.  There’s nothing funny about cocktail weenies.

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This is what I had for dinner tonight.  It’s Chicken Stuffed with Shrimp Etouffee.*

(This is a photo from the chicken website.  I wish I had those green dishes!)

Doesn’t it look delicious?  I will say this – it totally was.  I bought it from my local Future Farmers of America for a fundraiser back in November.  When I cut into it though, I felt like this woman (remember her?):

Except I was hollering, “Where’s the shrimp?!”  That isn’t the disturbing part though.  I only told you that part so I could bring up the little old lady from the Wendy’s commercials.  And because I like to keep you on your toes.

The disturbing part was the chicken itself.  It was entirely boneless … except for the wings!  It was like a humongous boneless chicken breast with 2 random wings stuck on it.  Almost like prosthetics for chickens.  If you’re going to go to the trouble to remove all those bones, why not remove all the bones?!  Yick.  How do you think that development meeting went?

Guy A:  I have this awesome idea for boneless chicken breast stuffed with shrimp etouffee.  But I just feel like it’s missing something.

Guy B:  I know!  We have some extra wings lying around that Hooters refused shipment on.  Let’s stick them onto your gourmet chicken!

Guy A:  Yes, let’s!  That is the most brilliant idea I have ever heard!

*I don’t want to give the name of the manufacturer since I’m making fun of the chicken even though it really was delicious and I don’t want people to think badly of the company.

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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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Here’s the cake I made for Independence Day.  It didn’t turn out quite like I was hoping it would …

I guess it isn’t really a true cake wreck since I did manage to spell USA correctly.  And I’m not a professional by any stretch of the imagination.

My cupcakes turned out much better.  Don’t you just want to eat all of them?

My neighbor thought it was totally hilarious that I was taking pictures of my cupcakes.  I never thought it was weird until then.  Maybe that’s why my family always give me funny looks when I ask them to pose with my cupcakes.  Who knows?

I probably should have watermarked the first picture.  I know all of you are just dying to print it out and hang it in your kitchen.

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