Monday, May 01, 2006

In need of regretable 1950s recipes

Our "Cold War Culture" history class meets for the last time on Monday. My main concern related to this should be fleshing out my final paper so that I can present a coherent outline of it in class. (I'm buried in sources I've been collecting all semester, but haven't written a word. Luckily the actual paper isn't due for another two weeks.)

It has also been proposed that we all bring in 1950s-themed dishes to eat while we're listening to people explain their topics. Someone has already spoken for Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge, so I'm trying to come up with some other uniquely cold-war-era recipe that I can make. Any ideas?

UPDATE: For some reason, Blogger apparently ate this post and it never made it online. So I'll just give you the post-action report. After a not-massively-helpful discussion with my cold-war-era parents, the only really good idea was Tomato Aspic.

I was looking for something with a little more pizazz and a little easier to transport, so on Sunday I stopped by the library at Simmons. Unfortunately, the library is in the middle of a massive, multiyear renovation project, and something like 2/3 of the collection is now stored off site and takes a day or two to retrieve. It seems that the 1950s cookbooks didn't make the cut for staying on campus. So after browsing every cookbook that was left, I headed back to my office to ponder my options.

But then, while aimlessly wandering the web, I found this reprint of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook from 1950, and it has the "search inside the book" option! So I searched for "appetizers." Booya! Pages of classic 1950 party food.

I desperately wanted to make the "flaming cabbage." But alas, it seems that Sterno is harder to come by than it was in 1950. (I tried the drug store and grocery store at Porter Square before giving up.) So I went to plan B, which was essentially a layer cake made of out bologna and mustard/chive flavored cream cheese, and garnished with sliced olives. The cookbook calls this cholesterol and nitrite laden delicacy "wedgies." Yum.

When I got to class, this was definitely the most, umm, unique food there! A few brave souls actually tried it. No deaths have been reported.

Oh, and the part where I talked about what I wrote in the paper that I hadn't written went pretty well too. (Apparently all my research this semester has paid off -- let's hope I'm as loquacious when I actually sit down to whip out 20 pages this weekend.)

After Monday I should have a lot more time -- no classes for a month! So perhaps blogging will become a bit more consistent.