There's always room for snarking on people obsessed with 50s kitsch.
March 23, 2007 8:36 AM   Subscribe

So everyone's already seen regrettable food over and over, but this chick makes, eats, and reviews it according to the original documentation.
posted by pieoverdone (28 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
posted by hydrophonic at 8:48 AM on March 23, 2007

It's a fun read, but ... why? Ironic cooking is a pretty strange hobby. I feel bad for her poor boyfriend.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:07 AM on March 23, 2007

Canned tuna fish and jello??? Good old days my ass!
posted by TungstenChef at 9:08 AM on March 23, 2007

I loved this:
The reactions to the dish, however, were interesting. As soon as I unmolded it and started sawing through the jiggling mass with a knife, Blake ran out of the room in horror, looking like he was going to vomit. Micki consented to try "just a taste." He put a forkful of the tuna half into his mouth, started waving his arms around frantically, ran to spit it in the garbage and shouted "OH MY GOD THAT'S DISGUSTING!" Everyone else politely declined to sample.
posted by octothorpe at 9:13 AM on March 23, 2007

Good find, interesting and entertaining read. I love odd food. The 1950's worry me somewhat, however.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:21 AM on March 23, 2007

It comforts me to know that there's someone out there on that wall, cooking up tuna-lime-jello mostrosities and actually trying them so that I don't have to cook them up here at home.
posted by gurple at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2007

I like the blog, thanks.
posted by Miko at 9:54 AM on March 23, 2007

Very interesting post, and I love the blog! I also enjoy that she uses appropriately retro platters on which to serve her mystery tuna/jello creations.

My mom has a cupboard (one of those inconvenient, rarely-used ones high over the stove) stuffed with a bunch of cookbooks from the 1950s and 60s. She never used the recipes, and she'd gotten most of the books free as a promotion of some sort. Apparently she couldn't bear to throw them away, though.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:03 AM on March 23, 2007

Very entertaining. The epitome of "doing it so I don't have to."
posted by wolftrouble at 10:23 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is a cool blog. Makes me glad I grew up in Northern California, and that my mom was into "Sunset" magazine. Something else I like to avoid are recipes which include "a can of cream of mushroom soup". ugh.
posted by Eekacat at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2007

I enjoy the retro thing quite a bit (though my favorite era is a decade earlier, or so). A few years ago I had a Christmas party with a retro theme, and asked people to bring period-appropriate food. They did really fun things. One friend did this incredible creation: cream-cheese balls rolled in crushed-up pretzels, then immobilized in strawberry Jell-O with frozen strawberries mixed in.

It actually tasted pretty good.
posted by Miko at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2007

Oh, man, I wanna eat over at HER house! It actually sounds fun to me, and I'd make a few myself, but who would I ever find to eat any of it with me?
posted by tyllwin at 10:49 AM on March 23, 2007

My oldest sister lives in southern Ohio and found the most amazing cookbook I have ever read at a yard sale. It was from the late 1800s and was for a rural southern audience. The recipes were amazing. They started with lines like, "Take your possum and gut it...." Now that would be adventures in retro eating.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 11:17 AM on March 23, 2007

(My personal God) James Lileks would be proud, and possibly nauseous.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2007

Curses. Now I really want some Watergate Salad.
posted by fuzzbean at 12:21 PM on March 23, 2007

I don't know if I should put it in this thread or the cannibal one, but has anyone heard of melanized human?

Supposedly, an aged person close to death switches over entirely to a diet of honey. After death, the body is entombed in honey. After some periods of years, the body is exhumed and ingested (eaten).

Total BS or am I mis-remembering something else? I can't remember which era/culture this practice was attributed to.
posted by porpoise at 12:40 PM on March 23, 2007

Porpoise, I don't think it was the 50's.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:26 PM on March 23, 2007

Belle O'Cosity: I actually have a couple of little cookbooks from the 1980s that have similar recipes -- it's a lot of old-timey stuff from folks back on the rez, and the game recipes typically start with stuff like "throw raccoon on hot coals to singe off the fur".

As for the actual retro stuff, I've got a pretty scary collection of old cookbooks myself thanks to my mother's packrattery -- lots of Lileks-esque 1950s booklets, some 60s and 70s horrors, and even one tattered WWII-era pamphlet with lots of hints on adapting your recipes to rationing. I've always meant to sit down and scan them one of these years -- while some, like the Jack LaLanne "Meat Makes the Meal" booklet, really seem surprisingly modern, there's no shortage of terrifying gelatin main dishes and Canned Cream of Soup casseroles...
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 2:36 PM on March 23, 2007

Recipes of the damned is similarly interesting/horrifying.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:27 PM on March 23, 2007

I think she's conclusively proven that nothing good can come from food that requires "unmolding" before eating.
posted by tommasz at 3:48 PM on March 23, 2007

Last week my mother asked me for a good bread recipe she could make with her new mixer, "All I have is my old Betty Crocker Cookbook from 1957." I sent her some recipes from my Betty Crocker Cookbook, mine is much more modern. My edition is from 1962.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:04 PM on March 23, 2007

Supposedly, an aged person close to death switches over entirely to a diet of honey. After death, the body is entombed in honey. After some periods of years, the body is exhumed and ingested (eaten).

Mellification, 12th century arabia supposedly.
posted by milovoo at 4:09 PM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

My mom has a 1960s cookbook that we have pored over and laughed at for years, though I don't know if we ever actually cooked anything from it. The text is a hoot, though. It says things like "this will be sure to please the most blase and cosmopolitan palate" about dishes such as ice cream mixed with jam.
posted by Biblio at 6:57 PM on March 23, 2007

"A pie of pineapple, American Cheese and chicken salad topped with mayo whipped cream."

That sounds delicious! Except I'd replace the tuna with long pig, include a few pickled jalapeños, and wash it down with a 40 of 211.
posted by davy at 8:01 PM on March 23, 2007

Many Americans still cook like this.

I once attended a potluck (it was on a psych ward, brought by the nurses. . . a long personal story I'll not get into) where one of the nurses made a salad involving:

• sweetened coconut
• canned mandarin oranges
• chopped nuts
• sliced cabbage (as for coleslaw)
• miniature marshmallows
• lots of mayonnaise

No Jell-O, though. It was easily the worst thing I've ever tasted. (I don't like mayonnaise.)
posted by bad grammar at 8:13 PM on March 23, 2007

Similar: The Bush Family Cookbook.

"Bacon bits over a chicken curry, Cornflakes on a Jewish dessert - served with beef. These are among the dark culinary secrets of America's first family, brought to light in a gut-straining recipe book" - The Independent
posted by meech at 8:54 PM on March 23, 2007

Old recipe books rule! I have one from the 60s that is just full of aspic this and impossible that. I love to cook, but this kind of stuff is much better enjoyed in print, IMHO.
posted by owhydididoit at 12:49 AM on March 24, 2007

To be honest, that tuna thing doesn't sound too bad. I suspect where it went horribly, horribly wrong was in using lime-flavoured Jello rather than gelatin.

I'm no child of the 50's but I can imagine that gelatin, flavoured with actual lime (not the modern iridescent-green and sickly sweet "Lime!" flavour) and lemon is pretty tart and not at all sweet; the pineapple and cucumbers too have an acidic taste.

The eggs in the tuna layer turn me off though - sounds like some demented wobbly quiche.
posted by Pinback at 8:15 PM on March 24, 2007

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