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Weight Watchers Recipe Cards
March 13, 2003 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Weight Watchers Recipe Cards, circa 1974. For fans of The Gallery of Regrettable Food, another selection of hideous food choices. I laughed so hard my throat cramped. I recommend the complete slide show.
posted by MikeB (58 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
No wonder they lost weight, anyone would be put off from food looking at these.
posted by lunadust at 2:13 PM on March 13, 2003


My Mom started going to Weight Watchers around 1974, so I grew up eating this stuff. And Weight Watchers ice cream. And skim milk-ice-banana "milkshakes."
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:19 PM on March 13, 2003


Hi-larious.
posted by GriffX at 2:23 PM on March 13, 2003


Oh, crap. This is great. Thank you thank you thank you on behalf of everyone trying to waste that last 15-20 minutes before work is over.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:25 PM on March 13, 2003


Coffee-through-nose-onto-keyboard funny. Thank you very much for making this day a better place to be.
posted by tomharpel at 2:28 PM on March 13, 2003


There it is in all its glory...

THE SALMON MOUSSE!
posted by soyjoy at 2:29 PM on March 13, 2003


I laughed so hard my throat cramped.

Better having your throat cramped from laughter, instead of from eating Chilled Celery Log.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:31 PM on March 13, 2003


Caucasian Shashlik was always a staple at my home. Yes, I remember Dad coming in the door, all worn out from a hard day of rubbing cosmetics into bunnies' eyes, and he would shout to my mother "Honey! I'm home! There had better be some Caucasian Shashlik on the fucking table, pronto!" Then he'd drink until he passed out on the couch, and we'd raid his pockets for spare bus tokens.

Good times. Good times.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:32 PM on March 13, 2003


i love how the "ethnic" ones (the "tacos" and "enchiladas") say "Worldwide Favourites" at the top.
posted by capiscum at 2:32 PM on March 13, 2003


lunadust- that's my theory! You weren't actually supposed to eat the stuff, just keep a card or two on your person at all times to whip out and stare at everytime you had a hunger craving.

Personally, my stomach would rather crawl into a dark hole and die rather than consume any part of this strange little dish/drink/chunkiness.
posted by nelleish at 2:36 PM on March 13, 2003


As a vegetarian, I'd like to point out that this collection is proof that food does not have to be meat-based to be absolutely disgusting.
posted by soyjoy at 2:38 PM on March 13, 2003


Sometimes meat likes to dress up and feel pretty. That had me laughing for a solid minute.
posted by vraxoin at 2:38 PM on March 13, 2003


Thanks for the link MikeB, great post -

But how can we make this stuff if they don't show the recipes!

Sure, get me all fired up with that Melon Mousse picture, and then just leave me hangin' ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 2:41 PM on March 13, 2003


This is an absolute riot:

The bong water salad is my favorite.

So is the Green drink of death.

I can't believe people ate this crap. Amazing. Simply amazing.
posted by aacheson at 2:45 PM on March 13, 2003


BTW-this kind of link is why I love Metafilter. Great link.
posted by aacheson at 2:46 PM on March 13, 2003


Great post! Check out the unspeakable "rosy perfection salad". Also great comments ("Which bowl is Siegfried's? Which one is Roy's?")
posted by 111 at 2:46 PM on March 13, 2003


fan-freaking-tastic.

[this is good]
posted by fishfucker at 2:50 PM on March 13, 2003


these are great. =)
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:50 PM on March 13, 2003


i love how the "ethnic" ones . . . say "Worldwide Favourites" at the top.

Not to mention Convenience Fish . . .
posted by mikrophon at 2:51 PM on March 13, 2003


Holy shit. There goes my appetite.

Thanks Mike B. This shit is great.
posted by mikrophon at 2:52 PM on March 13, 2003


Love the site. Am madly forwarding the link to friends.

Food can be such an interesting sociological study. When I moved out on my own my mother gave me a cookbook that she'd gotten as a bridal shower present and never used. It's copyright 1957 and has recipes for casseroles covered with crumbled chips, umpteen jellied salad and truly disgusting hotdog recipes, a chapter called "When He Carves" and a chapter called "Your Weight" which advises curtailing your diet to levels an anorexic would find restrictive and unhealthy. When my mother first handed it to me, I paged through it laughing, and she said, "I think it's hilarious too. But back in 1962 I would not have had a clue to what you were laughing about."

However, must admit that as entertaining as the book is, I keep the thing primarily because it still is a good basic cookbook with some damn fine dessert and bread recipes.
posted by orange swan at 2:56 PM on March 13, 2003


Pictures are fine, but it would be far more entertaining if they had also posted the actual recipes. (I looked, but I couldn't find them. If they're there, I'd appreciate someone pointing me in the right direction.) My cookbook collection includes many howlers, and reading the text is often the best part.

Also, I would make and serve at least one or two of those things, and they'd be good as well as hilarious.
posted by anapestic at 3:14 PM on March 13, 2003


That was like a culinary Mystery Science Theater 3000. Thank you. It's made my week.
posted by brownpau at 3:16 PM on March 13, 2003


I love this link, and I think it may have curbed my munchies for the evenings (so double-thanks!). I have questions now, though.

Do you think people years ago actually found these types of dishes and their grotesque photographs mouth-watering? The mere thought of being fed something called Mackerelly makes me want to cry!

Also, did people in olden times really decorate their table settings with scary doilies and figurines or is all that for show? Just wondering.
posted by catfood at 3:19 PM on March 13, 2003


can't... stop... crying... from laughter.

Thank you, MikeB. That's so hideously beautiful.

On preview: Yeah, where are the recipies? I was curious what was actually in some of that stuff, like that weird purply Medusa lookin' stuff.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to whip me up some Fluffy Mackerel Pudding.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 3:33 PM on March 13, 2003


As somebody who does food photography as a hobby, these are pure inspiration. Where can I buy some ceramic animals?

Poundy's commentary is some of the funniest stuff I've seen on the Web. Bravo.
posted by PMcCann at 3:33 PM on March 13, 2003


I don't care what any of you say. I'm making this one right now. If I seem unusually verbose and chattery tomorrow, you'll all know why.
posted by ook at 3:34 PM on March 13, 2003


HEY! "Caucasian Shashlik" is some of the best food ever conceived on this planet! I'm serious. It is Caucasian because its native cuisine is in Caucasus. It is marinated seasoned meat cooked over charcoal. It is AWESOME.

The rest of it looks very sad and very sorry, agreed. But don't diss shashlik.
posted by azazello at 3:42 PM on March 13, 2003


Azazello, Since there are no recipes and Caucasian Shashlik is soooo yummy, can you just tell us what is is in a little more detail? What animal does it come from and what do you put on it?

(Because the picture makes it look like BBQ leather chunks.)
posted by catfood at 4:01 PM on March 13, 2003


Happy Birthday Wendy! Me love you long time!
posted by keli at 4:08 PM on March 13, 2003


If only there were some sort of worldwide network of interconnected computers that could bring us the Recipe for Caucasian Shashlik.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:13 PM on March 13, 2003


Sigh. One can only hope that someday there will be.
posted by catfood at 4:17 PM on March 13, 2003


catfood:

Russian Shashlik recipe

The defining attributes are:
-use lamb meat with no fat, cut into roughly 3x3x3 cm cubes
-use tart-and-sweet with lemon or other low-pH juice
-marinate for at least one night
-put on shampouri - long steel sticks, put onion rings or other seasoning between cubes, 5-8 cubes per shampour
-burn wood or artificial charcoal (ew) until charcoal is glowing red with no fire
-suspend shampouri low above charcoal, cook as desired
posted by azazello at 4:24 PM on March 13, 2003


Pah! None of that is truly scary food.

You want scary food, you gotta go with prairies food. Especially 1950s prairies.

Many of the recipes involve jello. Prairies farm wives had a strange fascination with jello. There's nothing they wouldn't put jello in. Or on. Or around.

Many others involve quantities of food colouring that are beyond those allowed by law.

Coca-cola was called into frequent use. Sometimes with the food colouring and jello. Sometimes not.

The 1950s. Better living through chemistry.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:31 PM on March 13, 2003


I like how these photos show a very lonely and depressing one place setting. Sometimes with two unlit candles, subconsciously saying, "You're too fat to be loved!"

Maybe its just me.
posted by skallas at 4:31 PM on March 13, 2003


Hey, thanks, azazello. That sounds interesting (in a good way). :-)
posted by catfood at 4:31 PM on March 13, 2003


so shashlik = lamb kabobs. mmm. tho' that pic is not very appealing.

yes catfood, as i recall, in the olden days a lot of people did dress their tables up in scary doilies and figurines.

I like how these photos show a very lonely and depressing one place setting. Sometimes with two unlit candles, subconsciously saying, "You're too fat to be loved!"

they remind me of how little support a lot of people get from their families when they go on a diet. spouses and children are famous for sabotaging dieters so the dieter tends to eat their meals alone. i used to work as a counselor at nutri-system and found that was the major personal complaint from the clients. so yah, same effect in the end - lonely person struggling with their weight.
posted by t r a c y at 4:40 PM on March 13, 2003


This is absolutely hilarious. Worthy successor to the Gallery... Wonderful post, MikeB.
posted by wanderingmind at 5:14 PM on March 13, 2003


Does anyone know how to clean vomit from a keyboard?
posted by Big_B at 6:08 PM on March 13, 2003


OMG that's funny. And this thread has been even more hysterical. I'm in tears here...my husband came wandering into the room to see why I was laughing so hard. Yay MikeB!

And look, I brought soup!

{soothing chant}
The Soup is Inspiration. The Soup is Love. Smell the Soup.
{/soothing chant}
posted by dejah420 at 6:09 PM on March 13, 2003


Oh. My. God.

He found some prairie cookbooks.

For truly horrifying food, please take a gander at -- and not while eating, please -- these pages:

Knox Gel with green and yellow bits.

Knox Gel with beige food.

My (prairie-raised) Grandmother sees nothing wrong with this appalling caricature.

Prairie hick at the beach.

My mother-in-law a prairie woman owns this cookbook. I have seen it with my own eyes.

Meat Makes the Crust.

Not Jello, but I laughed until I was ill.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:29 PM on March 13, 2003


Wendy got MeFi'd Go Wendy, it's your birthday.

Oh, wait, it is your birthday. Happy Birthday!
posted by SuzySmith at 6:32 PM on March 13, 2003


Does anyone know how to clean vomit from a keyboard?

Club soda.
posted by catfood at 6:38 PM on March 13, 2003


Orange Swan, I also have a cookbook from that era, and you're right -- the entrees are mostly frightening, but the baked goods section rocks completely. There are tons of interesting cookies and such things, and those recipes have never ever failed me. They knew how to bake in the 50s, for sure. But the main course, the veggies, the salads, all served up with a hefty dose of sexism... all terrifying. What were they thinking?
posted by litlnemo at 7:18 PM on March 13, 2003


From elsewhere on the site (you should read it, all of it!):

"Before V, before The X-Files, before Taken, and somewhere around UFO was a show called The Invaders, starring - oh who cares. It was by Irwin Allen, which is all you need to know - cool when you're 8, but to adult eyes it sucked so hard it made a black hole look like a hooker with a mouthful of novacaine. You know the plot: aliens are infiltrating earth with lookalike humanoids, which not only makes them hard to detect but keeps production costs way down. "

I think that may be the funniest thing I've ever read.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:48 PM on March 13, 2003


That's it...I'm swearing off food forever. Absolutely hurlacious post, MikeB!
posted by LinusMines at 9:16 PM on March 13, 2003


See, now, I've had a pack of these cards in my desk for years, and I've slowly been giving them away as Christmas cards to people who I thought would truly appreciate them. It never crossed my mind to scan them and put them up on a website. Now I know!

But they are funny, funny, funny! They were probably always funny, but they seem to just get better with age, unlike the recipes themselves. Which were probably always terrifying.
posted by readymade at 12:13 AM on March 14, 2003


Wow. Excellent post, my man.

You win a cookie or something.
posted by brittney at 2:49 AM on March 14, 2003


Happy birthday, Wendy!

I'll drink your bong water soup any day!
posted by wells at 6:26 AM on March 14, 2003


I've looked at everything on the Gallery of Regrettable Food Website and one of the funniest things about it for me was that my mother has that meat cookbook - and not only that, but she has a complete set of those Better Homes and Gardens specialty cookbooks - there must be at least a dozen of them - Cookies and Candies, Breads, Desserts, Vegetable, Appetizers, Casseroles, and so on. Again, apart from the yummy baked goods, they are just a treasure trove of hilariously awful recipes and incredibly unappetizing photographs.

Candied beans in jello, anyone?
posted by orange swan at 6:37 AM on March 14, 2003


I used to own these cards, years ago, but gave them all away or made bad art out of them. This one was a big favourite.

The creepiest thing about those recipes is the fact that almost everything contains gelatine and a beef stock cube. Eurgh.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:56 AM on March 14, 2003


The creepiest thing about those recipes is the fact that almost everything contains gelatine and a beef stock cube.

Oh. Well then, I stand corrected.
posted by soyjoy at 8:32 AM on March 14, 2003


I've never been so popular in all my life! Word to Wendy's mother.
posted by MikeB at 10:35 AM on March 14, 2003


Great post, MikeB - am still wiping away the mascara streaks.

Chicken Liver Bake: enjoy it with the ashes of a loved one.
posted by widdershins at 11:17 AM on March 14, 2003


This line actually made me tear up from laughing so hard, thanks for the great post! --

"She asked the grocer if he ever heard the sound of a wick burning . . . but he broke into tears"
posted by Julnyes at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2003


OK. I joinewd WW for the first time in 1970. I was 12. The theory then was you had to eat a great deal of meat. And liver once a week. And they figured out the diet based on all these horrible middle America, meat based, 1950's concepts. It was awful. But it worked. And I don't recall any doilies or other such fru-fru.

We never made any of these things. We made up our own stuff. The newer WW cookbooks are MUCH better - real foods are incorporated (taco shells can be eaten now), and the recipes are darned good. (The diet never ends.)

As a sociological aside, I was 12 in 1970. Most of the women in the meeting had husbands in Vietnam. They would cry during the meeting and talk about the binging they would do every evening. I couldn't connect with them at the time.
posted by Red58 at 2:46 PM on March 14, 2003


Bandwith alert: the lady who owns the site has seen her hit count spike, and bandwidth usage shoot through the roof. She's set up a paypal link to donate to help her with the costs -- I'm sure she never anticipated this kind of sudden popularity. I chipped in a sawbuck, if you enjoyed her site (and inadvertently helped cost her a bunch of money) please consider doing the same.
posted by filifera at 4:08 PM on March 14, 2003


Don't know if anyone's seen this yet (I can't imagine the dead tree circulation is that large) but Gastronomica recently had an article on the 40th Anniversary of Weight Watchers.

Frankly, I wonder what we'll think of this in 19 years.
posted by blevin at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2003


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