Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Hot Dr. Pepper!

Today I was reminded about the (to me) strange idea of serving Dr. Pepper hot. (Click here to read my previous post on the subject.)

The film and sound quality for this video is terrible, but still. It's worth the watch for those of you who remain skeptical about whether or not to heat up a batch.

Perfect for wrapping up your holidays. There's still time; it's not midnight yet!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Latest Love, In all it's Psychedelic Glory!

Check out this fabulous find from a recent library book sale:

It's a far out promotional piece which Cool Whip published in 1969. And just to make it that much hipper, check this out:

That's right. It stands up! 

Here's a close up of Miss Psychedelic Cupcake Girl:

Something tells me her name might be Lucy.

This is just the beginning of the awesomeness. Stay tuned for more love to come from this special book.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Moxie. Wicked Good Stuff

I'm drinking my first Moxie, even as I type.

It is reputedly the oldest soft drink in America, having been brewed since 1884. I haven't done the research to either confirm or deny this factlet.

All I know is that it definitely is different. No doubt about that. Just take it from this guy:

Moxie. Try it if you can find it in your neck of the woods.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Get 'em while you still can...

Oh, the days of prepackaged chocolatey goodness are numbered!

No matter if you call them King Dons, Big Wheels, or Ding Dongs, they soon will be no more. Hostess is apparently going out of business.

Run, don't walk, to your corner store.

Fill your freezer.

Stock up while you still can.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm not done with Bacon! Curried Macaroni, at your service

Might as well cook it while you can afford it!

In case you're tired of the same old BLTs, rashers and eggs, and angels on horseback, here's a recipe just for you.

Curried Macaroni

Cook 1 package (8 ounces) elbow macaroni or macaroni shells according to package directions. Prepare 2 cups Medium White Sauce. Add 1 tablespoon minced onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder. Add macaroni; heat thoroughly. Garnish with bacon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cook of the Month! That's Me!

I'm Cook of the Month here in (not so) sunny Newburyport! The Daily News featured me in today's newspaper: Inspired to become a Foodie


I'm very happy with the article, but hope that my Mom won't be offended by the few lines mentioned about the cooking I remember from childhood. Loyal readers of this blog know that she is a beloved guest blogger who has posted several recipes here.

(She also gave me the pig plate shown holding braised pork in the picture above.)

As you'll see if you take a read, I focused on cranberry recipes, because tis almost the season. Also because I love them.

It was great to spend time with Features Editor Katie Lovett, and photographer extraordinaire Jim Vaiknoras. They made me feel very relaxed, as if I was merely having a few friends over for dinner.

Thanks Daily News! You made my Wednesday!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Broiled Fish with Bacon-Grease-Slathered Bananas

Continuing with the bacon thing, here's a recipe sure to please seafood lovers, bacon lovers, and lovers of all things sunny and fruity. It comes from a 1958 Cookindex recipe card, published by Tested Recipe Institute, Inc.

Shad Tropicana

Select a shad weighing about 4 pounds. Have the fish dealer split and bone it. Wash fish thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Place the split, boned shad on a well-greased broiler pan. Brush the fish with melted butter or margarine and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil fish, 3 to 5 inches from the heat, without turning, 8 to 10minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Halve 3 slices of bacon. Fry bacon strips in a skillet until crisp. Drain bacon well on paper towel; keep warm. Peel and slice 2 medium-size bananas; dip slices in bacon fat. About 2 minutes before removing shad from broiler, arrange banana slices in a row on top of fish. Finish broiling fish. Remove fish carefully with a broad spatula or pancake turner to a hot platter. Garnish with bacon, lemon wedges and parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

For the Love of Bacon

In honor of what we may soon pay a fortune to indulge in, I offer the following.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

All Hail, the Shortage of Bacon

As if the election hubub weren't enough, the panic mill is screeching about a potential bacon shortage. Or at the very least, skyrocketing prices.

My advice: buy now, thaw later. And while doing both, please sing this song.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Goodness How Delicious

A few years ago in Florida, while driving from Jacksonville to the center of the state to visit my mom, I came across an entirely new culinary masterpiece. A southern tradition:

Yep, that's right: boiled peanuts.

They were sold off the tail gate of a pickup truck in a dusty spot on the side of the road.

I liked them. A LOT. They are salty, oddly meaty, slightly strange, and weirdly delicious.

They are also very easy to make if you can find raw peanuts in your neck of the woods. All you do is take 4-5 pounds of peanuts in the shell, cover them with 6 quarts of water, add a cup of salt, and boil them for 2-4 hours (or longer if you like them sooooooofffftttt.)

But don't take my word for it. Just listen to Burl and Johnny:

Goodness how delicious!

More Food Holidays! Pshew.

I hunted through nearly all my vintage cookbooks and couldn't find a single entry for Grasshopper Pie. Thought that would be a shoe in for Creme de Menthe day, but no luck. Must be a newer invention than I'd thought!

Turns out that there are multiple national food holiday calendars, and thank goodness, I found two additional days for this week!

Luckily for me I found out that today is National Peanut Day. Peanuts should be easy. Plus Saturday is National Linguine Day.

With these new entries, I'll head back to my cookbooks and post something later today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hot Cross Buns and Other Treats of the Week

 This week's national food holidays include:
  • September 11 National Hot Cross Bun Day 
  • September 12 National Chocolate Milkshake Day 
  • September 14 National Cream-Filled Donut Day 
  • September 15 National Creme de Menthe Day
Check back soon for a celebratory recipe. Which food item do you think I'll pick?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

National Cheese Pizza Day Take 2

All right, so I'm not quite over National Cheese Pizza Day. I'm declaring it a week right here from my little corner of Massachusetts.

Today's version doesn't include hot dogs, which may relieve you. It comes from Betty Crocker's 1967 New Outdoor Cookbook (reprinted in 1973.)

Here's the title page, which includes an illustration of a groovy patio that I'd like to own some day.

And here's a photo of the finished result.

It looks pretty amazing, doesn't it? Reminds me of the grilled pizza fad from the last few years. Plus it looks like simple, classic, "real Italian" pizza, the kind I imagine enjoying in an osteria in Naples.

Sadly, looks can be deceiving. Take a peek at the recipe and you'll see what I mean.

Yep, you read it right. Catsup. Or Ketchup, if you prefer.

And bisquit mix. Again.

The page itself is bumpy and dimpled from some sort of exposure to water. Perhaps it was left open on a picnic table in the rain, while Mom fried bacon for Squaw Corn. Or perhaps they are the marks of tears, shed from a heart that yearns for cheese pizza.

Real cheese pizza.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

National Cheese Pizza Day! (Plus Hotdogs)

Today is National Cheese Pizza Day! Yippee!

In honor of this day of all days, I offer you the following recipe for Polka Dot Pizzas.

OK, so it's technically NOT cheese pizza. But it is pizza, sort of. And it does have cheese on it, as you can see by the picture.

It comes from Betty Crocker's 1975 Cookbook for Boys & Girls. You can see these very chillins below, enjoying the fruits of their labors.

I like this early example of multiculturalism. And that the guy on the left wears an apron adorned with strange farm animals. And that the blond girl in the middle sports a half eaten banana.

Here is the recipe, so that you can make it at home!

Be sure to notice the use of "baking mix", aka, Bisquick.

In case this part is confusing, they've included a close up of Frankfurter positioning:

Now bake it, let it cool a tiny bit, and voila! Biscuit dough, cheddar, hot dog pizza, ready to eat!

Please to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Apron Shopping Would be Necessary

I realized something tonight.

If I lived in a a nudist colony, I'd definitely need larger aprons.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Butter (or Parkay) Never Looked so Good

Check out my new butter dish:

Exquisite, no?

And the price tag: 2 American dollars.

I soooo love thrift stores. They supply me with wonderful old cookbooks and gorgeous mid-century gems like this one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Time is Barbecue Time!

I would so love to meet Frank Marcello, the illustrator who created this fabulous image from a 1960's Cutco cookbook. No Ozzie and Harriet idyll for him; nope, kids are about to kill themselves and each other, pets create havoc, and one dad sleeps through it all.

He's a funny one old Frank. Click here for more examples of his work.

Now I'm off to find a pair of those sexy lace up shoes...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cold or Hot, it's what's for Lunch!

If you've got guests coming, you know what to serve! Spam goes great with a pile of shredded iceberg. And when you add a side of pretzels, you can dip them in the cottage cheese and say that it's  the appetizer.

Don't forget; it's pure pork. Not sure what parts of the pig are included, but be assured that there no beef tongues are included.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ooh la la!

Is it weird that I'm fascinated by the evolution of French Dressing?

I think it might be. Especially after seeing this vintage Holt Howard salad dressing cruet:

But I think I'm going to write an article about it.

After reading all these old cookbooks, I'm seeing some interesting trends. It used to refer to a simple vinagrette, but evolved throughout the 20th century.

Here are a few pages from the 1942 New American Cookbook which includes recipes for a number of varieties.

Wikipedia says that the phrase means different things in different countries. Apparently so, for example, when looking for vintage images, one of the top hits was this picture:

Turns out French Dressing is sexy! Kraft couldn't even deny it. Look what they did in the 1960s:

For me, the sexiness is just a bonus. The story of how the vinaigrette became such a mid-century staple is what I find interesting. It stars in all sorts of dishes, in all sorts of ways.

So stay tuned. You may be hearing more about French Dressing. Might want to get yourself a lettuce hat and some silk stockings.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fun Facts About Champagne!

I just stumbled across this informational sheet on champagne from, and while I haven't done a lot of posts on booze, I thought it was kind of a cool summary. For example, I never knew that champagne started out as an accident, and that the bubbles were viewed as a quality problem.

I love this sort of foodolution (evolution in the food world). Happy accidents turning into great new dishes. Or a lack of ingredients leading to amazing culinary breakthroughs.

I wonder if the monk who "invented" champagne chats with the Earl of Sandwich in heaven, comparing notes about who's invention is the greatest?

Have a look. Interesting stuff.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guest Post: Mom's Cinnamon Buns

A few weeks ago I asked my Mom to do a guest post about the cinnamon rolls she used to make when I was growing up. She agreed, and her recipe is below.

Thanks Mom!

It's funny how your mind plays memory tricks on you though. I could have sworn her rolls were made of biscuit dough, but apparently not. That just might explain why mine never turn out like hers... Ya think?

Cinnamon Buns  
One of the things I enjoyed doing in the 1970's was, making homemade yeast cinnamon buns.

In order to bake something that took hours to make, involved a strategy on my part.

1. There would have to be enough uninterrupted hours
2. The laundry would have to be caught up
3. The antique kitchen hutch would have to be ready for bread making.

Editorial Note: Here's a picture of a hutch that looks a lot like the one we had:

I used to sit at the hutch with an old mechanical adding machine and pretend I was a secratary. Très glamorous!

I’m sure this list will seem strange (to the average baker) but, alas, as a working mother & wife (who also worked Saturday mornings). This is how I figured that... Sunday was The Day.

I think any yeast bread recipe would do for cinnamon buns; I just needed to make a sweeter dough, by adding 3 tablespoons additional sugar with the other ingredients. ( I used the recipe for bread from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.)

Here’s a tip for using the yeast. One package of yeast is dissolved in ½ cup of warm water 110-115 degrees; let this wait for about five minutes before proceeding.

After all the ingredients were mixed together, it was time to manually knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, I shaped the dough into a ball, and place in greased bowl, covered by a hot, wet, clean dish towel. I needed a nice warm spot, for the dough to rise, so I placed it on the floor next to the floor furnace. Depending on how warm the spot was, the dough would rise enough between an hour to an hour and a half.

After the dough had risen to about double in size, it was time to punch it down. Then I rolled the dough into a large rectangle, about 24 inches long and 16 inches wide. Next I buttered the dough throughly with softened butter and sprinkled a mixture of brown sugar (about 1/2 cup) and cinnamon (about 2 tablespoons,) and raisins (about one cup) over the top (this is the time to add chopped nuts, if you like, although I never used any nuts.) I then rolled up the rectangle, starting with one long side and working toward the other long side. I pinched the edge, and the ends of the rectangle to keep the filling from falling out.

Now it is time to cut this dough into the cinnamon buns. I found that a long thin bread knife, makes a nice clean cut. I made the cuts about one inch wide, placing the cut side down touching each other on a large cookie sheet. The buns are now ready to rise for another hour, so I covered them with a hot wet cloth, as before, and then down next to the furnace to rise for the last time.

When the rolls had risen for an hour, I lightly touched a roll to check to make sure it does not dent in when touched. Time to bake. 425 for 20-25 minutes.

As the buns baked, the smell in the house and outside the house was so wonderful; voices were often heard asking, "Are they done yet?"

Time to eat cinnamon buns!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

I've been traveling, with no time for posts. Or not enough discipline for posts. Not sure which.

It was a good trip, with much that was accomplished. But it is so very good to be home.

Big news! My Mom sent me her cinnamon roll recipe, which I'll be posting shortly. YAY!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In Honor of National Plum Pudding Day: Jell-O Plum Pudding!

I picked up this little cookbook just in time for today! National Plum Pudding Day!

While it doesn't contain a publication date, I'm guessing it came out in the early 1970s. Maybe late 1960s.

As luck would have it, I came across a plum pudding recipe in it. Who woulda thunk it?

Not me. It would never occur to me to put plum pudding and Jell-O together. But turns out it's been a thing for a century.

First, here's the recipe in my booklet:

Jello-O Plum Pudding
A make-ahead holiday dessert that's simple to prepare.

1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lemon or Orange Gelatin
Dash of salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1cup cold water
3/4 cup finely cut raisins
3/4 cup finely cut cooked prunes
1/4 cup finely cut citron
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
3/4 cup Post Grape-Nuts Cereal

Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin and salt in boiling water. Add spices and cold water. Chill until very thick. Fold in fruits, nuts, and cereal. Spoon into a 1-quart mold. Chill until firm. Un-mold. Serve with a custard or hard sauce, if desired. Makes bout 4 cups, or 8 to 10 servings.

NOTE: If desired, 1/34 cups cooked dried figs may be substituted for the raisins, prunes, and citron, and 3/4 cup crushed vanilla wafers or graham crackers for the cereal.

I found an ad from the early 1900s which highlights Jell-O plum pudding, apparently for children's parties:

And here's one from the 1940s, starring Kate Smith:

Apparently it's her grandmother's recipe. Cool, no?

She uses raspberry Jell-O, which is something I saw in other recipes around the interweb. These versions claim that it makes the pudding a lovely shade of pinkish.

So there you have it. Jell-O Plum Pudding. I only wish I'd had one more day lead time so that you could have made it for today.

What better way to celebrate National Plum Pudding Day? There's always room for Jell-O. Especially when it contains prunes and Grape-Nuts.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sack O' Sauce in a Can O' Meat

All due thanks to the Cathy Peters and the Gallery of Regrettable Foods for this image:

Just wow.

Of course I had to find more examples for your culinary(?) enjoyment.

This one may be my favorite. Apparently wieners in a can were just the thing to have on hand in case the doorbell rings when you least expect it. It even comes with recipe suggestions, such as "Barbecue wieners stuffed with dressing".


This picture has slightly better image quality so that you can really see the juicy meaty chunks:

Plus check out the little egg shaped guy holding a huge wiener in the lower right corner.

What do you suppose his story is?

The ghost of sack o' sauce past?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate Fluffernutter Cake

DiDi asked me to make a cake yesterday. She'd bought a Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix and a container of Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting.


Being a self-sacrificing sort, I complied.

I'd feel like a poser if I made a cake from a box without kicking things up a notch, so I substituted sour cream for the oil in the recipe and threw in 1/4 bag of mini chocolate chips.

She'd asked for coconut in the icing. Unfortunately I didn't have any, which is a mystery, because the last I knew there were two bags in the cabinet. Is shredded coconut like socks in the laundry, disappearing without a trace?

I wouldn't think so. But I can't explain it.

After accepting my apologies graciously, DiDi's second request was that I melt some peanut butter flavored chocolate chips and spread it around on top.

(I don't suppose I should call them chocolate chips when they aren't chocolate. But "baking chips" sounds a bit snooty, and this way you all know what I mean.)

Turns out the Whipped Fluffy White frosting is rather marshmallowy, and reminds me of Fluff.

I melted the chips with a bit of oil to help with consistency, and poured it in stripes atop the frosted cake, then pulled a spatula through in an attempt to make it look fancy. The peanut butter goo was a bit thick to cooperate fully, but the marbling wasn't bad. And the flavor combo is an absolute winner!

Yum! DiDi's suggestion was brilliant!  It was like a fluffernutter sandwich with chocolate cake as the bread!

Next time I might just mix peanut butter with confectioners sugar and milk to make a softer consistency... the chip goo hardened back up so that the prettiness factor is disrupted in the cutting. But other than that, the combination is fabulous.

Luckily we had guests last night so we aren't forced to eat the whole thing ourselves. Because that would be sad.

Wouldn't it?