Friday, December 26, 2003

when frankfurters ruled the kitchen

Being from a family with strong culinary genes, there are a ton of cookbooks lying around the family homestead. Most have eye-catching, mouth-watering looking recipes. The further back you go in the collection, the more the eyes pop out at some of the dishes that passed the publisher's test kitchen.

One of the larger series we have is various versions of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks. Volumes from the 60s are telling in how much opinions about tasty, economical foods have changed through the years.

Key findings:
1) Every other dish was a "bake", "strata" or "hodgepodge".
2) Spam (and its knockoffs) was the monarch of the kitchen. This wonder of science could be used in every way imaginable.
3) Other kitchen basics: creamed corn, lima beans, sherry, the number of the nearest heart surgeon.
4) Anything was fair game to be an exotic dish.
5) Velveeta is the king of cheeses.
6) Frankfurters are as diverse in their uses as Spam.

Let's go to the highlights...

Cooking With Cheese (1966)
Interesting Fact: Sapsago is "the green cheese that the moon is made out of".

Jiffy Cooking

Jiffy Cooking (1967)
Baked Bean Pie - sounds innocent...'cept it's not really pie! Combine pork n' beans, Spam, hot dog relish, maple-flavoured syrup and Velveeta. Make your appointment with the toilet now.
Pork Chops on Amber Rice - pssst, the secret ingredient is orange juice on the rice! "The main dish can be put in the oven and almost forgotten till served."
Meat and Vegetable Soup - sounds OK, until the ingredients are revealed: dry onion soup mix, canned meatballs n' gravy, cremed corn and tomato soup. Definitely fills the recoommended daily amount of vegetables.
Squaw Corn - problem numero un: the insensitive name. Problem numero deux: it's more Spam than corn. Problem numero trois: It's more eggs than Spam and corn. We conquered the natives, then dishonoured them with this dish.
Dublin Dilly Hot Dish - It looks like the editors of this book had it out for all foreign nationalities. This concoction mixes corned beef, chicken gravy, dillweed, peas n' onions, mashed potatoes and Velveeta. More Dublin, Ohio than Dublin, Ireland.
Easy Perfection Salad - nothing says salad like jellied sauerkraut. "It looks like jellied yuck!"
Self-Pickling Onions - there's an obscene joke lurking in this dish.
Corned Beef Captains - "Avast ye scurvy scallywags! We are armed with scallion swords! Arrr mateys!"
Swiss Yodelers - The editors turn their insults to the Swiss, with this mish-mash of cheese, cream and god knows what else. You'll yodel with indigestion.
Hong Kong Sundaes - "Hong Kong Sundaes are a concoction of pineapple, mandarin oranges, kumquats, and marmalade with a jazz of ginger". We're still looking for the metric equivalent of a jazz...

Ground Meat Cookbook (1969)
"Ground meat casseroles are as American as the Fourth of July." If this book was produced today, it would recipes like Beacon of Liberty Beef Bake (with a side of Freedom Fries).

Meat Cook Book (1969)
Creamy Liver Over Rice - what can we say?
Chicken-Fried Heart - The dinner of cowards.
Cheesy Tongue on Rice - Eat it before the cat does.
Tongue-Stuffed Peppers - Again, insert your own dirty joke.
Scrambled Brains - What was wrong with the chef when they concocted this dish.
Frank and Corn Crown - Looks like a crown any royal would be proud to wear!
Bologna Bake - Perfect to give somebody a coronary - recipe includes mayo, hard-boiled eggs and potato chips.
Snapperoni Franks - AKA every condiment known to man tossed together. Combines pork n' beans and relish - 'nuff said.
Ham Wafflewiches - Waffleriffic!
Tokyo Turkey Toss - Key ingredient: French dressing. How Japanese.


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