Vintage Cookbooks

It's *all* in there

(originally posted 1.10.06)

Now, if you saw this photo without benefit of the recipe, or if you actually saw this concoction on a buffet table, a few questions might come to mind. For example, what is this food, in terms of category? Is it a sort of gelled antipasto? Feeling adventuresome, how do I shift some of it onto my Chinet plate? Do I then spoon it onto crackers, or dip pretzels into it? Finally, there are only two egg halves: am I allowed to have one? (Of course, this is probably a dumb question, as most likely there are two egg halves garnishing each dish on the table.)


You're wondering what's in there, aren't you? That amuses me. And now that I look at it again, I can't decide if the plant is hanging down, dragging in the food, or if in fact it is growing up out of the gelatin cornucopia.

Okay. Yes, you guessed it. Those are chunks of veal in the gelatin. And miscellaneous crunchy items.

Apres theatre


Another over-the-top presentation, to my way of thinking. Balls of meat: more Super Bowl, less Ballet Russe.The information on the picture is a little misleading, because it states that "these sophisticated meatballs are seasoned to a chef's taste," yet no actual seasoning is used in the meatballs during cooking. However, each unseasoned meatball is formed around a pimiento-stuffed olive.This dish is both sophisticated and surprising! The sophistication arrives tableside, where, if you desire a heightened flavor bouquet, you may sprinkle the meatballs with dried herbs. 


Dried chervil is de rigueur for the upper class meatball-eating set.

I could actually eat this...

(originally posted 1.10.06) long as it's not too zippy. 


Yes, those are eggs. Interestingly to me, this brunch treasure is actually worse than it looks. That is because it has canned cream of chicken soup in it. Plus cheese, of course, mixed into the soup and some nonfat dry milk in order to create a sauce for "one-step cooking at its finest." Remember, mustard adds zip! But only if you use no more than 1/2 teaspoon. Let's not get all crazy, now. Anyway, it's not meant to be served, only stared at.

Black and white means sophistication

(originally posted 1.10.06)



It's just that this goes way beyond dressing up a pig. That's Wonder Bread white toast on that plate. I don't know what's on the toast, but even if it's truffles and caviar and saffron, this is still way over the top, presentation-wise. But it's not that stuff; it's most likely calf livers in tomato sauce. I will find out and reveal all in time.

4.13.10 UPDATE:

This photo was taken from Woman's Day Famous French Cookery, published in 1969.

It is veal sweetbreads. And ham. With a sherry and onion cream sauce. On Wonder bread. I'm not sure why there's ham in it; who'd want to overwhelm the sophisticated delicacy of baby cow glands with something as common as salty preserved pork thigh? Maybe it's a yin-yang thing.  


(originally posted 1.10.06)

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My scanning partner thoughtfully named this photo "corpse stew." There are sliced okra in the stew, and whole ones in a bowl off to the side. That's too much okra in one year. The tri-colored rotini is an inspired, festive touch, though. In combination, the whole presentation gives an air of post-digestive creativity.


(originally posted 1.10.06)


Did you think this was going to just be called Hamburger Pie? Me neither. It's a "tasty one-dish meal dressed up for company with golden fluffs of potato and bright tomato slices." It also has green beans, onions and canned condensed tomato soup in it. Plus about a speck of seasoning. People were afraid of seasoning back in the day. But they weren't afraid of putting green beans in meat. Oh, if desired? You can sprinkle potatoes with "shredded process American cheese" before baking. This way, every food group is represented. Yum.

As a bonus to the recipe, the cookbook writers, in a separate section, instruct us in making our dish look just like the photo. This involves adding the sliced tomatoes on top, sprinkled with yet more cheese.

Some stuff on top of fish

(originally posted 1.10.06)

These are sort of fish rafts topped with some kind of stuffing, but it looks like raw ground beef in this photo. Unfortunately, printing inks being what they were, it looks like Steak tartare au fromage sur poisson. (raw meatloaf with cheese on top of fish. Everything sounds classier en francais, doesn't it?) It doesn't quite look "graced with" the sauce because that's all spilled over the sides and congealed. But you know this dish really made an impact when it was brought to the table. Especially if it was served for guests. They're probably still talking about it.


More "fish"

(originally posted 1.10.06)

Yes, yes, tasteful presentation, not overdone or tacky, no egg slices or pimiento olives in sight. But those are grapes. In fish. God only knows what's in the sauce. I don't even know what this is called. I've lost track of which book this came from, and that may be a good thing, because the fish is also wrapped around something and it could literally be anything. It might be sausages.

4.13.10 UPDATE:

Actually, this is just Filets De Sole VĂ©ronique, and the fish is rolled, but not stuffed. I was sort of disappointed to learn this; I hoped it would become a special entry in the "meat stuffed with more meat" category I'm about to do, and maybe have tuna or something inside it. From Woman's Day Famous French Cookery, 1969.


Still, those are grapes, broiled with fish. Funny French people. 

Git along, little dogie

(originally posted 1.10.06)

Hot dogs baked in corn tortillas, why not? And there's the parsley and stuffed olives so necessary for the completion of a meal.

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I don't really understand the woven horsey standing in attendance, though. It is a horse, and not a reindeer, because I'm pretty sure that lumpy bit at the back is a rider, maybe a cowboy. He's falling off the back of the horse in his excitement over "Wieners Enchiladas." And pimiento olives.

Fishsticks part 1/478

(originally posted 1.10.06)

The funniest thing about this dish is its name: Fish Sticks Polynesian. And the subheading: A good use for leftover rice. Well, sure. Why not? First, you're mixing things such as pineapple tidbits, soy sauce, and a bouillon cube into the rice, which then gets baked under the fish sticks, arranged "spoke-fashion." This can't go wrong. Pop some carrot curls on top and voila, mealtime just got a whole lot more exciting.