nautical 'n nice

Nautical 'n Nice (1)
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In the midst of recent housecleaning, this pamphlet fell out of a decaying cookbook I was about to toss out. Much screams 1970s: the layout, the nod to Canadian nationalism, and the heavy use of tinned food. Perhaps somebody worked very hard in Aylmer's test kitchen to devise these nautical-inspired dishes...or perhaps they were handed a list of products and told "do something with these!" Note the absence of "edible" in that sentence.

Brave enough to enjoy a taste of "Nautical 'n Nice?" Continue on...

Nautical 'n Nice (2)
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It's true that dishes can mix curry powder and fruit - take your classic British-style coronation chicken sandwich (in Toronto, I've enjoyed the version made by Brick Street Bakery), or any similar salad which uses fresh apples or raisins. The "Curry in a Hurry" shown here doesn't look as tempting - possibly because the cook dumped it on an innocent bed of rice, probably because it uses tinned peaches. 

"Quayside Casserole" looks like a case of the chef cleaning out their fridge and pantry, finding ingredients nearing the end of their shelf life, and tossing them in a casserole dish. 

Nautical 'n Nice (3)
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Mmm, cold, mushy canned beets and carrots tossed in cheap Italian dressing. Arrange delicately around tinned salmon. Serve with off-brand Ritz cracker knockoffs. This appetizer tray will definitely be the hit of your next party!

The next two dishes approach being edible. "Cape Ann Casserole" is a variation on classic tuna casserole, with chow mein noodles filling the starch requirement. Which reminds me: on a recent trip home, Mom made me tuna casserole for the first time in two decades. While I might have been sick of it at times as a kid, it tasted fantastic as an adult - satisfying comfort food cooked with dashes of nostalgia and love. 

Had this pamphlet been published during the 1980s, "Cap'n John's Sunday Pie" would have been classified as quiche. "Skipper's Quiche," perhaps?

Nautical 'n Nice (4)
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The final dish incorporates one of my least favourite foods: tinned peas. Even if I liked peas, this recipe looks like it was vomited out instead of made with care by a professional test kitchen chef.

Both Aylmer and Gold Seal still exist as brands in Canadian supermarkets, though their ownership has varied over the years. In Aylmer's case, products bearing its brand are made by two separate companies (Baxter's for soup, ConAgra for canned tomatoes).


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