Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You’ll burn in hell for this, Betty Crocker.

In this post: Really old food.

Let’s talk indigestion for a couple of minutes, okay? I just discovered an amazing blog that features bizarro American recipes and food ads from the 1950s. I’m referring to those strangely inedible “cat vomit” dinners some of your mothers probably tried, such as Spam Boats, Sour Cream Green Bean Casserole and the ever-popular Bean Surprise. A variety of representative photos from Mid-Century Menu appears below.
For the record, my food-gag reflex is a probably a lot narrower than most of yours because I can’t stand eating sweet things with a regular entree, such as cranberry sauce with turkey or jello as a side dish with ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING. I don’t even want these foods TOUCHING EACH OTHER ON THE SAME PLATE, although I don’t mind an occasional jello mold for dessert if it doesn’t include psychotic ingredients like mayonnaise, parsley or celery. You’ll burn in hell for this, Betty Crocker.

When I was a young Marcy growing up in the 1950s — yes, I’m a senior citizen now — my mother thought it was “frugal” to add cut-up hot dogs to leftover beef stew and homemade beef chop suey (beef stew with soy sauce and a can of fetal corn) to stretch it for a second meal. My father and I refused to touch this crap — who the hell eats hot dogs in brown sauce? — but mom kept plugging away at it, year after year. Funny thing is, we weren’t poor, and dad and I could never understand why mom just never bought an extra pound of stew meat to start with. We decided that something must have happened to her brain during the Great Depression.

Here’s one more for you, a Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup recipe from a 1950s magazine that includes such all-time favorites as canned tuna, green olives, milk and waffles. Sorry, but I consider this repulsive, slimy, salty, fishy, confused, unhealthy and weird ... like a dystopian version of the Seven Dwarfs. (Would you eat this snot? I sure wouldn’t.)
And I especially like the phrase “dinner for 4” at the end of the recipe. Seriously, in what alternate universe will one can of Campbell’s soup and one can of tuna fish FEED FOUR? (Maybe in my mother’s, as long as she can throw in a couple of hot dogs the next day.)

Thank you for reading this.

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