casseroles '68

It's that time of year again...time to take a trip back into the often terrifying world of 1960s cookery.

Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cookbook (1968) was well used at home growing up, mostly it contains one of my favourite comfort foods, steak and noodles (or, as the cookbook calls it, Round Steak Sauerbraten). Here's the recipe - I figure I should serve up the tasty before the the tacky.

1-1/2 pounds steak, 1/2" thick (we use sirloin instead of round)
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1 tbsp dried onion
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 bayleaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
hot buttered noodles (extra broad egg noodles preferred)

Cut meat in 1" squares, then brown. Remove meat from pot, add gravy mix and 2 cups water. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Stir in next 8 ingredients. Add meat. Pour into casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350F for 90 minutes. Remove bayleaf. Serve on noodles


I found another copy of this cookbook at a spring booksale in Elora, for a quarter. While many of the recipes look perfectly edible, others suffer from the same pre-fab food horrors that plague other mass market cookbooks of the era.

Cases in point...

Hamburger Pie with Potato Fluff Topper
Serve Hamburger Pie with Potato Fluff Topper, Cabbage Slaw and brown-bread sandwiches filled with cream cheese.

Is there anything potato fluff topper can't do? The pie itself contains canned green beans and condensed tomato soup, while processed American cheese was an optional addition to the instant mashed potatoes on top.

Corned Beef Bake
When a quick meal is just the ticket, serve Corned Beef Bake with lettuce wedges topped with French dressing.

Notice how nicely the processed American cheese melted, and the swamp of canned veggies the corned beef is swimming in. French was the most exotic salad dressing this series ever came up with - now the suggested salad would be field greens with sesame soy, mango lime or sundried tomato vinaigrette.

Jumbo Cornburger
The family will enjoy a wedge from this Jumbo Cornburger. It's a well-flavoured corn mixture surrounded by ground beef.

Is that corn in the middle or an infestation of maggots? This dish was so colossal in scale, it earned a two-page spread. We're also 3 for 3 in the processed American cheese department.


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