Wednesday, October 26, 2016

As Tasteful as This Blog Gets...

A big thanks to Jeffrey's Antiques for very tastefully putting an unremovable sticker on the cover of Very Tastefully Yours (Clark County Extension Homemakers' Clubs, 1977). Aside from the sticker, the cover is as tasteful as these recipe collections go, with a hand-drawn cornucopia spilling out fruits and vegetables, most of them immediately recognizable despite the lack of color cues. That's a trick in itself.

I was a bit surprised by the first page of the first chapter: Appetizers, Pickles, Relishes:

Many of these collections have lots of pickle recipes, but this is the first I've seen that elects to omit them entirely out of safety concerns. I like the diplomatic tone, assuring contributors that "This is not a bad reflection on anyone." I also think this was an extremely wise move, as I would be reluctant to make a (more than usually) potentially health-threatening recipe from this book. It's the only book I've found that also comes with an entire page of printed corrections:

We have everything from the relatively minor (an omission of a teaspoon of celery seed) to recipes that were missing their instructions entirely.

You might notice that this recipe for Dried Beef Casserole...

...doesn't actually list dried beef as an ingredient. There is a correction for it above (the Dried Beef Casserole on page 45, as the other dried beef casserole recipe that needed a correction omitted instructions on what to do with the pimentos), but the recipe immediately above it on the same page had a similar problem:

Notice anything missing from the chicken casserole? (Like, say, chicken?) And this one isn't even listed on the page of corrections.

Plenty of recipes actually appear to be correct, though. Here's a casserole recipe that seems to be complete:

Hamburger Vegetable Dish certainly has both hamburgers and vegetables. You could serve it on a dish. And that's about all I can say for it. I've never lived in a Clark county, but I almost had to check twice to see if my mom had somehow submitted this recipe. It is exactly the kind of thing she loved to make: bland as an unsalted soda cracker washed down with lukewarm tap water.

More colorful recipes hide out in this book too, though. I am not at all sure what to make of this:

Pineapple and marshmallows is a tried-and-true "salad" combination for those who'd really prefer dessert, but what happens when you throw in diced American cheese? And do you pour the hot salad dressing over the assembled cheese-pineapple-marshmallow combination? Will it melt the cheese and marshmallows? Will it all turn into a weirdly-congealed sweet-cheesy-pineapply mass? Or should you let the dressing cool first and maybe end up with distinct bites of American cheese in with the pineapple and dissolved marshmallows? I can't quite wrap my head around this one.

Thank you for reading about old recipes that were missing major components (or that maybe should have left out a few). Perhaps I'm missing a major component myself, but I'm glad you have the patience to read anyway.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Funny Name: Case of the Cursive Casserole Edition

Who'll Do the Dishes[?] (Columbus Alumnae of Kappa Alpha Theta, 1960) brings us Hac-a-Mac.

Or maybe Hoc-a-Moc. Harriet Olsen's cursive is a little hard to read. Probably Hac-a-Mac since it has macaroni. I think I'd call it Mac Amok.

(For more about Funny Name Saturdays, click here.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Watch out for the clown...and the jazz hands

It's a good thing I didn't get EHP Cook Book (apparently short for "Ekco Home Products," undated; online sources give varying dates, so I'm just going to go ahead and say this is probably from the '60s) for its recipes. I picked this up because I loved the woman on the cover, dancing around with her pots and smiling because her pink hair matches her pink dress. She is unfazed by the fact that cucumbers, fish, salt and pepper sets, corn on the cob, and even a green chicken carcass (I wouldn't recommend serving that one!), mostly roughly the same size and thus out of scale, are raining down upon her. She is ready to party with her EHP pans.

To give you an idea of why the recipes are not such a draw for this book, here is an illustration of many of the glorious recipes you can make by cooking "the waterless way."

Steamed peas! Steamed French-cut green beans! Steamed cauliflower! Steamed corn! Steamed lima beans! Each pile of steamed veggies gets its own little melty pat of butter. You can make all of of this--and more! (Steamed carrots! Steamed asparagus! Steamed beets! Steamed turnips! Steamed... Oh, you get the idea.)

Yeah, there's some fried-looking chicken in the middle and mashed potatoes hanging out way in the back, but they're not exactly ground-breaking recipes either. This is not the booklet to pull out if you're looking for creative recipes. The closest it gets is this:

They're not really exceptional biscuits, but you have to cook them like English muffins to prove that EHP cookware can serve any purpose at all. It's not just steaming vegetables.

The choice of table setting is sometimes creative too.

Maybe it's not quite as creepy as Wilton's packs of disembodied clown heads, but I still think the kid wearing the weird be-pom-pommed clown hat on the soup tureen looks as if he's daydreaming about  dropping by on a couple making out at the lake...

Promising that foods cooked in EHP cookware will make your canary sing, impress your mother-in-law, and give most of the rest of the family jazz hands...

...seems like a bit of a stretch, but it's still a fun book to look through. It almost gave me a case of the jazz-hands, and I thought I had a natural immunity.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Funny Name: High Opinion of Oneself Edition

Nancy Anderson (in Butter 'n Love Recipes, Voices of Exodus Second Baptist, 1977) must have taken some marketing classes to give her recipe the most appealing title imaginable:

Nobody can keep their mouths off her Junk.

Wait... That didn't come out right.

(For more about Funny Name Saturdays, click here.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hey, Mom! Where's the Beef?

This 1974 book asks the eternal question: "Hey, Mom, What's Ta' Eat?" and the cover appears to answer it with ... I'm not sure what exactly. Coffee or tea and maybe baked apples with marshmallow cookies on top? Some kind of mousse? Anyway, it has a cherry and only a passing resemblance to a cow pie.

The recipe isn't included, though, as this is a stock photo for fundraiser books. I have another book (boringly titled Family Favorites) from an entirely different church with this exact same photo.

Even if the members of the Woman's Missionary Society First Church of God in Springfield, Ohio, don't make baked apples with bad wigs, they do have their own distinctive way with recipes.

This one piqued my curiosity:

Crazy Crust Pizza sounds like fun-- just make a batter, cover it with any pizza toppings you like (aside from sauce and cheese), partially bake, add your sauce and cheese, and finish cooking. Is it crazy enough it just might work, or will you end up with a sad and soggy pancake-ish "pizza" (that can only be referred to as such with the use of scare quotes) at the end of cooking time? I'm almost curious enough to try to find out, but the operative word here is almost.

I usually expect the candy section to be pretty safe (unless I'm in a health food cookbook), so I don't often post candy recipes. The people of Springfield had their own unique way with candy and popped in something unexpected:

Good old Beef Candy! Have you ever hoped to find shreds of beef in a nice block of penuche? If so, that recipe was for you....

Occasionally Springfieldians seem good at comically missing the point. I love the topping on this recipe:

I'm assuming that "Kellogg's K" is supposed to refer to Special K cereal. You know, the diet cereal. I'm not sure anyone who worked on formulating it really envisioned it being mixed with butter and almonds to top a casserole full of mayonnaise and cream soup, but it's doing just that! Maybe the typical corn flake or breadcrumb topping was considered too boring, or maybe somebody wanted to give Special K a little fun for once and let it go on a high-cal vacation.

(Fun Fact: Back when I was little and thought women were basically required by law to have children, I thought "Amandine" would make a lovely girl's name. I was much happier when I realized that I personally didn't have to have kids if I didn't want them, and I'm sure little Amandine is very happy she never came into existence. That would be a tough name to deal with.)

Speaking of missing the point, this is the first pickle recipe I've seen that makes pickles out of pickles:

I laughingly told the gentleman who apparently finds me endearing more often than not about this recipe.

"Are they turning the pickles into a different kind of pickles?" he asked, trying to point out that this is not necessarily as funny an idea as I thought.

"Yes," I admitted.

"See? There is a point to it."

"Yeah, but they want to make the pickles suitable for an ice cream topping," I replied.

"Well, I tried defending them, but now I see your point."

That seems like as suitable an ending as any, so I will leave you contemplating whether Sweet-Sweet Pickles are indeed worth defending.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Funny Name: Invasion of the Salad Snatchers Edition

This recipe from Stay for Lunch (Crippled Children's Hospital and School Auxiliary, eighth printing, 1974) suggests pest invasions in Sioux Falls, South Dakota were getting pretty bad...

People actually had to set traps to catch all the extra men infesting their houses. I hope they used a catch-and-release program. So sad...

(For more about Funny Name Saturdays, click here.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Good old Butter 'n Love

Everybody knows home cooking is supposed to be made with love. The Voices of Exodus from Second Baptist in Olathe, Kansas, were a little too practical to claim that love is all that's needed for good home cooking, though.

That's why they wrote Butter 'n Love Recipes (1977). Love by itself? Meh. Butter and love? Then you've got something.

Is the cover representative of typical Kansas kids in the '70s? Her hat would look more appropriate on a Strawberry Shortcake doll and the overalls make it look as if she's got a weird potbelly and maybe misshapen legs.

What were those weird Kansas kids raised on? One answer appears to be weird noodles.

It's a pretty unexceptional Marzetti recipe, but what the heck are "non-skid" noodles? Not to be too indelicate, but are they supposed to slow the passage of marzetti through one's digestive tract? I tried looking it up, and the story is not nearly as interesting as I hoped. American Beauty Macaroni Company in Kansas City trademarked "Non-Skid" for the name of their egg noodles (although I still can't figure out why they thought advertising noodles as "non-skid" was a great idea). The good news is that the trademark expired in 1992, so if YOU want to relaunch non-skid egg noodles, the name is yours for the taking.

Here's another weird Kansas-y noodle recipe:

Good old Scroodles Casserole! I wasn't sure what scroodles were either, but I guessed it was probably rotini, and my internet searching mostly supports that hunch. I'd never heard the name before, but I love it and I'm going to start calling rotini scroodles from now on!

I also learned that dieting in Olathe meant one thing:

This is the entirety of the "Low Calorie Dishes" chapter, so apparently dieting meant eating nothing but Jell-O. If you were feeling particularly ascetic, it was just Jell-O with some evaporated milk. If the diet wasn't that urgent, you could throw in fruit, cottage cheese, Cool Whip, and maybe, if you were really good, some peanuts.

For those not on a diet, there was always cake:

Pistachio Cake! I love nuts, so the idea of a nutty cake drives me, well, bananas. (Ha! I didn't say nutty. Well, now I did, so I guess that kind of ruins it. Sigh.)

With a full box of pistachio pudding mix in the cake and another in the frosting, I guess it deserves the name Pistachio Cake... The pistachio level of pudding mix tends to be pretty minimal, though, so it makes sense that the recipe calls for added nuts in the cake part. The thing that doesn't make sense is that it calls for PECANS. Not that I'd complain about finding pecans in there, but maybe call this "Nutty Cake" instead?

Starting to overthink this, and it is officially now driving me nutty. I don't want to end up with a scroodle loose, so I'll sign off now!