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Feel mighty queasy. Must go hurl.
I remember those mid-century cookbooks from my Mom’s collection. One difference between cookbooks then and now is the quality of the photographs. 50’s photos made the recipes look ‘painted up’ and flat. Nowadays, the pics look much more professional. Probably all driven by cost, expectations, and technology. No change in the ‘love’ though.
I see one of these relics in the wild at every work pot-luck. One older woman from the mid-west always brings a chopped ice-burg lettuce, thawed peas and carrots, mayo salad extravaganza. Wish I had a pic!
Foods that made an appearance at every family gathering and reunion picnic, growing up in semi-rural semi-suburban Ohio in the 80s:
• Pink Stuff (red jello powder, cool whip, and cottage cheese with pineapple chunks)
• Pasta shells stuffed with cottage cheese
• “Noodle salad” (ramen noodles reconstituted in Italian salad dressing)
• Spam orange bake (sliced spam, raisins, and orange slices baked in orange juice)
• Ants on a log
• Carrot salad (shredded carrots and raisins in mayo)
• Pimento cheese (shredded cheese, mayo, and pimentos)
quite the opposite. Even you mention, they were skinny when they started.
Good on ya, Karen. I’m sorry I opened up a line of negative questioning with my original ruminations. I think my tack was one of “I wonder if the good old days were really quite like we think they were” rather than “this is a waste.” I’m all for having fun like this, and the fact that you’re doing good while having fun celebrating a nutty phase in American culture, is fantastic.
I grew up in the era, and at least where I was these dishes weren’t everyday staples, just something to be tried occasionally for fun. I saw them mostly when people would bring a dish to someone else’s house, when they would want to be showing off with something special. (When we share food with friends we mainly use dishes that we eat regularly and know well, but times are different.)
Jello is really rather amazing stuff, and I’m thinking I should eat more of it. And I will say that anyone who hasn’t tried an ice box cake made from Famous Chocolate Wafers hasn’t lived.
For a ramped up jello experience, add two or three unflavored gelatin packages to the mixture. You can play catch with the stuff and it’s wild to eat.
Oh yes. Every single neighborhood potluck and bridge club supper looked like that in the 60s in the suburbs.
Some of it was edible.
I still love the jello+whipped cream+fruit abominations, and make them for the daughter occasionally - she insists on Cool Whip instead of real whipped cream. The husband won’t touch them.
If you increase the density so much there might not be always room for it.
I am familiar with all of those except the "noodle salad."
That sounds awful. (and don’t bash the pink stuff. It’s tasty! Or maybe, upon consideration, it was tasty compared to the rest of the offerings…)
The noodle salad was as awful as it sounds. An elderly aunt always brought it and we’d eat a little to be polite.
As for the others, I have fond memories of Pink Stuff and have made it for curious friends on occasion; cottage cheese in pasta shells is still a dish my mom makes for holidays, and it’s way better than you’d expect… but I have no defense of Spam-orange bake, which is an abomination to avoid.
I grew up eating Cool Whip. When I married my wife, I discovered the sublime joy of real whipped cream, and I’ve never gone back. I tried introducing Mom, Dad and my brother to real whipped cream, but they just patted me politely and kept on buying Cool Whip. Mom also preferred margarine to butter, and I’ll admit that to this day, a grilled cheese sandwich tastes right to me only if it’s made with white (Wonder, Sunbeam, etc.) bread, American cheese and margarine.
In my house:
“Butter” : margarine
“Mayonnaise” : Miracle Whip
“Pop” : Diet cola
“Whipped cream” : Cool Whip
“Cheese” : Kraft singles
“Bread” : White wonder bread
That’s the recipe the husband prefers! He was truly confused the first time I served him a “grilled cheese” (on homemade buttered bread with muenster and cheddar, sliced into diagonal quarters.)
My mom’s recipe was for toasted cheese sandwich: 1.toast 2 pieces of bread, 2. spread cheez-whiz on one piece, 3. sandwich together. There was no grilling.
Thanks for checking in, Karen.
My dad ran the Food Bank in St. Louis for a while. I’ve volunteered at same on and off. Hunger is something real even in our own well-stocked U.S.A. I am probably way oversensitized to hunger and people who have literally nothing to eat here and nowadays.
I was seriously wondering whether the food was created as art, props, meal, whatever, and I wasn’t clear on whether those creations of yours actually get eaten but now that you mention that you do, I think you’re even crazier and braver than I first thought.
ETA: clearer grammar (this is my week off coffee, and I’m a lot dumber right now)