Post #659 Back in the Olden Days

July 17, 2019 at 9:18 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Recently I wrote about a recipe that I gleaned from the internet on a picture of what I call a Grandma card.  You may remember that I explained that Grandma cards are the cards, or pieces of paper, or clippings from newspapers and magazines that cooks collected to expand their recipe collections.  My mom used to tell me stories about ladies getting together for coffee in the afternoon and exchange recipes.  They wrote them on whatever was handy.  My mom remembers her mom had a shoe box collection that she got from her own mom with literally hundreds of recipes in them.

I’d give my eye teeth for those boxes.

I don’t know why I like to read old recipes.  Partly it’s the history.  Partly it’s the imagination.  Partly it’s learning new flavors or techniques.  But all of it combined, it’s just a lot of fun.

With the coming of the digital age, all those lost recipes have found new life on the ‘net, and I spend many happy hours chuckling at what was considered high fashion in the food world.

Here’s some I found recently:

Back in the day, to entice housewives to buy their product, food companies hired “experts” to create recipes using their product.  “Cream of” soups from Campbell’s were popular not only as soups, but as the base for a multitude of casserole style meals.  Here’s three.  And to be honest, they really don’t look too bad.

Spam is constantly looking for new ways to use their product.  I’ve even seen Spam tacos.  Not gonna do ’em.  This is just two more ways to use the meat-in-a-can product.  Mom once made a casserole with Spam and boxed potatoes au gratin.  It was about as “good” as you’d expect.

An elegant lunch was always a salad of some sort.  In the Olden Days, salads were made with gelatin or mayonnaise.  This one, trying to sell more mayonnaise, was a combo of the standard salad vegetables but instead of any kind of meat that was prevalent then (think tuna salad or chicken salad) this one used cottage cheese.  I’m sure it was meant to appeal the weight conscious woman.  Sounds pretty bad.

There’s never anything wrong with cheese.  When it’s actually cheese.  But this is Velveeta, a cheese-food product.  Velveeta is actually made from a blend of cheeses, and you can make your own by introducing a chemical to the cheese blend and putting it all in a loaf pan.  I have the recipe somewhere if anyone’s interested.  But a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon on top, instead of in, and using Velveeta just doesn’t do it.

Another example of a company trying to push their product.  Pillsbury still has its annual contest, and the prize has grown from mere notoriety.  Back in my teens, it was a pretty big deal and the prize money was quite the chunk of change.  I’ve tried many of the Pillsbury recipes, and this one looks interesting enough to try.  I noted they use cornflakes for added crunch.

Earlier I mentioned salads with gelatin as their base.  Here’s an ad complete with coupon to entice the weary shopper to part with some coin.  But I gotta say, to mix with a fruit flavored gelatin, none of these things looks all that appetizing.  I can imagine what lime and salmon tastes like together and it doesn’t look pretty.

Back in the day, I used to use Bisquick all the time.  We still use it on occasion.  I’ve never thought of a Bisquick ring fondue, though.  And tuna baked into a biscuit of any shape doesn’t sound delicious.

Those aren’t anchovies or eels as I first thought.  When I read the recipe, I finally figured out they’re the carrots.  But this is another example of the contest style recipe that middle America was known for.  And the sixty-nine cents per serving was added hype.  It would be interesting to know if it’s still that price today.

Okay, so another cheese ad with a recipe in it.  This time it’s actual cheese.  But the other ingredients?  Well, you decide if it sounds good.  Scrambled eggs, dill pickle, raw onion, American cheese, tomato slices all put into the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich.  I keep hearing the Life cereal commercial “I’m not gonna try it.  You try it!  Hey, let’s get Mikey!”

Okay, you just gotta believe the company was really pressed for ideas on this one.  Prune cake?  Prune cookies?  Prune salad?  Not even on a good day.  Just the image of that prune sitting on top of any kind of icing would put you off cake for a long time.

Okay, so we ate this one a LOT as kids.  I’m not sure you can even find these kits anymore, but as young kids, we weren’t too picky and we loved them.  I just did a quick Bing search, and they’re still available, and have grown up quite a bit since they last time I had one.  Good to know.

I couldn’t leave our furry friends out of this.  We fed this to our German Shepherd and he loved it.  Of course, he was a dog and would eat anything, including rabbit poop, but he did seem to enjoy this.  I found that you could get the same effect using cold water as well as warm, so he got a lot of cold gravy dinners.  Even as a kid, I thought this smelled pretty bad, but what the heck.  He was a dog.

So I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane.  At least, it was memory for some of us.  What were some of your favorite magazine or television recipes?  Share if you want to and share the post if you want to.

As always,

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