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December 14, 2019 4:47 AM   Subscribe

This 1970s Cookbook Has You Covered (Lizzy Saxe, LitHub).
posted by sapagan (35 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite


 
This was a great article, thank you for posting!
posted by Sparky Buttons at 5:30 AM on December 14, 2019


Amazing.

Once upon a time, it would've been possible to chance across this gem at a secondhand store for a couple of bucks. One of the downsides of the internet is that such things are now priced for the market of "everyone with an internet connection", rather than the market of "everyone who stops by your yard sale". (There's currently a copy on Amazon for $98.75.)

What was up with food in the 70s, anyway? Ham and pineapple isn't an unreasonable combination, but it's hard to think of it as "fancy". (Was pineapple a newly available thing in the US at the time? I feel like a lot of food trends are driven by advancements in farm-to-market transportation logistics.)

I would honestly love to read a book about the history of American food trends – what was considered new and fancy in each decade, along with why those foods came to be seen that way. PM me if you have recommendations!
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:34 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


I would honestly love to read a book about the history of American food trends – what was considered new and fancy in each decade, along with why those foods came to be seen that way. PM me if you have recommendations!

I do not know of any, but there are definitely food studies scholars, college classes, etc. An American Studies professor told me about how oysters were a working man's staple food, not a luxury, about 100 years ago, for example, which he learned from a colleague who studies this sort of thing.
posted by thelonius at 5:39 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


What fun! This article has everything--zany '70s recipes, charming illustrations, Strange Bananas, Rosicrucians...
posted by merriment at 6:27 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


I would honestly love to read a book about the history of American food trends
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:34 AM on December 14 [+] [!]

eponysterical ?

There's "United States of Arugula", about the history of organic food in America. It starts with Julia Child's fussy complicated takes on French food and goes from there.
posted by subdee at 6:50 AM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


We’ve come a long way since the 1970s where both food and sex are concerned.

Maybe in some ways, but in other ways we've probably gone backwards TBH.
posted by subdee at 6:51 AM on December 14, 2019 [7 favorites]



I would honestly love to read a book about the history of American food trends

"Fashionable Foods" by Sylvia Lovegren (subtitled 'Seven Decades of Food Fads') fits your request. I read it a few years back and found it really interesting. (And yes, a lot of what is trendy is related either to what is newly available, or to what soldiers have run into for the first time). It came out in 1995 and covers 1920s to1990s, no idea if there is a more recent book on the subject.

I would love to see the orgy cookbook (or at least some of the recipes), and the article was delightful. Though I'm not clear what's remotely confusing about "scramble 3 eggs in a mixing bowl" as a cooking instruction.
posted by Dorothea Ladislaw at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2019 [10 favorites]


dancing with a woman so beautiful she made me wish I had some Top Secret government documents she wanted

just made my day.
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Though I'm not clear what's remotely confusing about "scramble 3 eggs in a mixing bowl" as a cooking instruction.

Heh.

It might be a double entendre?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:19 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Some additional food trend book suggestions, both written by Laura Shapiro (I love reading about food!):
*Perfection Salad:Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century
*Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America
posted by bookmammal at 7:22 AM on December 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


That's the same Jack Margolis that wrote A Child's Garden of Grass, which was the most heavily-used textbook of my high school career.
posted by davelog at 7:25 AM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


What if they gave an orgy and nobody came?
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


Like, a tantric one? That is the next shelf over.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:52 AM on December 14, 2019 [18 favorites]


oysters were a working man's staple food, not a luxury, about 100 years ago

The collapse of the oyster fisheries and the resulting excess inventory of oyster pails is why American Chinese food is sold in lined cardboard containers.
posted by zamboni at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2019 [19 favorites]


Man, if the book is so popular used it seems ripe to bring back into print.
posted by Tesseractive at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm so annoyed they didn't give recipes / describe all the food. I need more details!
posted by meese at 9:09 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Goofy, sex-positive cartoons and a can-do spirit. This is my new Bible.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 9:29 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Ernie Lundquist Memorial Okra?
posted by doctornemo at 10:14 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Re: “scramble three eggs in a mixing bowl“ being confusing: I think this person thinks that “scrambling eggs” refers to the part where you cook the eggs, not the part where you whisk the whites and yolks together? I suppose it’s ambiguous. In context, I wouldn’t have thought to question it, and would just have cracked three eggs in a mixing bowl and whisked.
posted by snowmentality at 10:21 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


What was up with food in the 70s, anyway?

@70s_party has you covered!
posted by maupuia at 10:31 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Seconding the recommendations for Laura Shapiro's books, and adding one for Laura Schenone's A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove, which is really good on how feed has been used to represent nativism (two senses) and authenticity in successive waves of USian culture.


I haven't read The United States of Arugula, but I'm taken aback by any historian who calls Child's take on French food fussy. She was picky about ingredients, but less fussy in recipe-following and plating than, say, the Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks of the time. (I don't remember the 1960s; am reporting my mother's cooking trials.) Shapiro's Something From the Oven gives good context for one of the things going on -- the Depression displaced a lot of USians from their food cultures and supply chains, and WWII accelerated that and financed massive investment in processed food, and there was organized propaganda to make `using processed food' the sign of Modernity in US home cooking, but hardly anyone liked the result so the mainstream cookbooks advised a casserole of glop with fussy saucings and garnishes.

Which might explain the sauces the reviewer of the orgy cookbook didn't like on the fried bananas. Although surely if you fried small bananas whole and used a white sauce the visual joke would be worth it.
posted by clew at 10:39 AM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


Somehow I’d always imagined orgies more as potluck affairs.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:45 AM on December 14, 2019


Somehow I’d always imagined orgies more as potluck affairs.

No, no, you're confusing them with key parties.
posted by dannyboybell at 11:11 AM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


The people in the cartoons are so charmingly lumpy.
posted by clew at 12:11 PM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


The article was a sweet & informative read. Nice to learn about a nice enough guy who was making the most out of life.

My only concern was that I have never met anyone who would still be interested in orgy-ing after all that food was put in front of them. Was that the joke?
posted by bleep at 1:21 PM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


The way I wrote that sounds extremely square and quaint but that's the kind of person I am.
posted by bleep at 1:21 PM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


Perhaps you begin with the orgy-ing and then recruit your energies with the food.

Also, one of my grandfathers had it as a secret of his long good health that you should never eat so much at once that you couldn’t leap up from the table and dance vigorously - but from some eyebrow-waggles I think ‘dance’ might have been synecdoche for sex.
posted by clew at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


The collapse of the oyster fisheries and the resulting excess inventory of oyster pails is why American Chinese food is sold in lined cardboard containers.

This sort of unexpected random bit of information is one of the main reasons I love Metafilter!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:20 PM on December 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm also wondering how much orgying I'd be doing after the lamb farts and elixir of crab farts start in earnest. Though I suppose peeps in the '70s had healthier gut flora.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:27 PM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I also want to see some of the recipes, especially the one for Strange Bananas. Just how strange exactly?
posted by Fuchsoid at 4:46 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]




Well, that certainly sounds strange but not very appetising. And why put banana liqueur on bananas, when rum is so much nicer?
posted by Fuchsoid at 3:24 PM on December 15, 2019


for the double banana entendre ?
posted by some loser at 6:00 PM on December 15, 2019


The people in the cartoons are so charmingly lumpy.

I'm not familiar with this one, but in the 70s my parents had a copy of Eat It, illustrated by R. Crumb, which also had cartoons of the charmingly lumpy.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:37 PM on December 15, 2019


but from some eyebrow-waggles I think ‘dance’ might have been synecdoche for sex

in which the dancing part of the sex is made to represent the whole of the sex
or the dancing whole is made to represent the sex portion
oh synechdoche
posted by away for regrooving at 12:21 AM on December 19


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