Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Salad Days had no salads in them

My mom was, in her day, a great cook.  Holidays at our house were always filled with splendid eats.  

My dad was not up to that level in the kitchen; he could fix himself a bowl of cereal, maybe toast some white bread.  BUT he had a recipe for a deep-dish olive pie that he poured almost every day, so there's that.

This all comes to mind because my sister gave me a copy of Better Homes and Gardens magazine from December, 1956.  The food ads and recipes in there are good reasons to help understand why everyone walked around feeling awful during the 1950s.  The food was disgusting. Don't take it from me!  Google "Disgusting 1950s food" and see a veritable cornucopia of jellied, sauced, overcooked improbable mixes of terrible chow.

Last week, one of those things was going around on Facebook showing oldtime foods, and I mentioned that we were often served a meal of hot tuna in a casserole with peas mixed in and crumbled potato chips on top.  My buddy Ralph down in North Carolina pointed out, in response to my bellyaching about putting that gruel in my belly, that we ALL ate like that back then.

Listen to some of the recipes in that magazine:  Calico Bean Bake! Lemon Mayonnaise! Tomato Aspic! Nesselrode Pie! (we used to have this all the time until I took my little hatchet and cut down the nesselrode tree.)  Fluffy Mustard Sauce!  Snowball Loaf!  Peppermint-Marshmallow Sauce! Upside-Down Date Pudding Brown Sugar Sauce! Hot Turkey-Salad Souffle! Cookie Tart!

No, wait.  Cookie Tart was the name of a girl I kept company with one summer.  It was her mom who was to teach me all I would ever learn of the world of Fluffo, the butter-colored shortening that was so integral to the recipes for both Devil's Food Cake and hellishly greasy fried chicken (fried for 45 minutes in 4 inches of boiling fat.)

Those peas aren't just STACKED there, you know.
They're held in place by unflavored gelatin, made from
the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals
 such as domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs, and fish. 
It's crazy to blame the times for what we ate.  I do know that all our dads were just a few years removed from eating truly horrible foot on battlefields, in rusty hulking ships and in the ball turrets of bombers, so I guess Noel Eggnog Pie seemed so much better.

Also advertised in the magazine:  Tums® for the Tummy, page 191, and Phillips' Milk of Magnesia, page 177.

I should say so.

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