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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's Not the Heat (Recipe Cards #28)

I hate summer. I disliked it for many years, sure. But I never truly experienced the amount of self loathing and hatred for all temperatures above 90 degrees until I found myself living in this state called "Texas". I say this as my fat ass was not prepared for days and days of triple digits. I say this as last week we found ourselves sitting in a personal house of hell heat when the capacitor of the air conditioner was out and I had to dismantle my cheapo Summer Escapes Wal Mart ring pool because it's not really something that was agreed upon whence we signed this lease. I had to hide my guinea pigs like forbidden secrets. Seriously.

It's so hot I don't want to acknowledge that a world exists outside my front door. To prepare for living in Texas, one must sit in their bathroom with a hair dryer blowing in their face for at least 4 hours, increasing said exposure by 15 minute increments for at least 6 months. It's the only way. Trust me.  

Why am I going THERE? Why am I sitting here bitching and moaning about being hot in August in Texas? Because I was in the middle of cropping pictures for my latest entry, all right in the world when suddenly it wasn't. The fan that I have heard reliably for the past two summers suddenly stopped whirring. I asked if anyone else heard that and nobody had words. I went outside to hear a buzzing where there used to be a whirr and a breeze. Instead of smelling outdoors, it smelled like burned metal.

A day of hell. It got to 95 degrees in this "house". Anyone who says the heat in Texas is "a different kind of heat" is friggen' correct.

The point is, I don't know what I was going to write about when I was doing these cards. I don't know how inspiring, witty or funny it was going to be. This insanity inducing hell heat robbed me of sanity and all I had left were these lousy Weight Watcher's cards. 
 

When it's 95 degrees inside your house and the HVAC guy was supposed to come at 3 pm and it's 3:22, you might need a little somethin' somethin' to calm your nerves. What better way than to think you are drinking sangria? You just need 3/4 tsp sherry extract, diet grape soda (pop for you up north), and some celery curls because they retain water after all.
Let's hope for the sake of sakes, your "company" also includes people with the same severe dietary restrictions as you have. That would be awkward.

 
This looks normal. Like fresh fish with a smattering of citrus to really bring it all together. A bit of zing and tang. It seemed that way until I looked at the back of the card and saw the second half of the recipe is a pâté glaze of unflavored gelatin, bouillon, mustard, buttermilk. I don't see that anywhere on the front! You almost had me, Weight Watchers. So close and yet so far away.


 
Sure, I've covered tomato everything from gazpacho to aspics but I've never discussed little doggy statues staring forlornly into the cold soup. I had a beagle who liked tomato based products. He'd have torn those pooches alive to lap up all that soup.

There's always a part two to these cards. These baby food balls neither sound like something I would eat, nor do they sound like something I would snub. However, the sauce is boss and it lost me.


When you have to flavor your sole with 2 cups of clam juice and soy sauce, you are doing it wrong. I guess the concept of eating peas with chopsticks is enough to make even the most hungry weight watcher just give up the fight.

I want to sit in my living room, family around me minding their own business, shouting "PAPRIKASH!" while clapping my hands. Must be the sprinkling of paprika on here that gives this PAPRIKASH some allure. Or is it Sole Epicurean because I see a recipe on the back of the card for this too. The only way to find out is to prepare these particular fish "meals", but that isn't happening. Nor does the recipe specify what type of fish is to be used in the PAPRIKASH.
I think there is a little faux pas with the spelling. I believe based on the appearance of tuhds, this should be called "Plopette" based on the sounds it would make as it splashes into the water. It's been a while since I've made a fecal reference. Bear with me.

That looks like just enough food to really piss me off. Nothing else.
Okay. Call it that. It wouldn't be worthy of anything if not for the 2 pimientos, cut in triangles. That makes this or breaks it. Can you imagine a world without 2 pimientos, cut in triangles added in a subgum? I seriously looked up at least 10 recipes before I posted that. Not one of them had 2 pimientos, cut in triangles in the ingredients.
Oh a Newburg. Yawn yay. I will say this Newburg has more sherry extract in it than the fake sangria I first posted.
This looks so dry. So soul sucking dry. This is how I felt in the hot hell house last week while I pondered my fate. Just dry and devoid of soul. If you ever want to know what a house without a/c in August in Texas might feel like emotionally, just look at this picture.
Club of what and for what? Club of Weight Watchers? All I have to say is you best have Sauces, Preserves, Dressings; Card #14 so you can make a mock white sauce to go on top of this mock sauce. Your club day can easily be ruined without it.
After saying "basturma", you must spit on the ground and wipe your face with the back of your hand, then shake your hand in defiance. Try pronouncing this with a Chicago/Wisconsin accent. You'll see which way is better. Basturma! Spit! Wipe! Shake!
I have a guinea pig named Buckey. Last year Buckey and Ranger got into a scrap. Buckey had an abscess on his back that nothing has treated. That green stuff oozing out of this tuna fish casserole looks like the same stuff oozing out of Buckey's wound. Is your day better knowing this? Male guinea pigs are assholes.
Buckey. Who'd hurt this little fella? Can't skewer him and turn him into Basturma because he's infected.
Ranger. He'd make a good pork subgum, but he's old so his asshole guinea pig meat would be stringy and gamey. Could probably stew him...I have recipes for squirrel, raccoon, opossum, rabbit, rattlesnake. What's the difference?
Ćevapćići. Do you know and see why this was the last card? Do you see why I waited? Becaue of all the accents. HOW in the HELL do you pronounce this? Though I give props to the food artist for somehow managing to find a squirrel on a cabbage leaf and a cloth (napkin, tablecloth, curtain, housedress) in the same colors as the food, I can't get past the word "cevapćići" and as such, I have looked this card over since I received this collection.

My head is cooled. I have prevailed. I hear the a/c fan running as it should. I will sleep with one ear open until 
December.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stews and Stuff

I know this is a rarity to get three posts in a row from me. I guess somewhere in blog etiquette I'm not supposed to post too much. Since I am not much for blog etiquette and I know that I need to write as the inspiration hits me, sometimes there are three posts in a row. Sometimes writer's block cripples me and it's weeks until I am heard from again unless I post something on my Facebook page, which is growing slowly but surely and I like interacting with everybody. Point is, I have to strike while the old iron is hot.
Anyway, it's time for another Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking book, aka the Series That Never Ends, It Goes On and On My Friends. 

Volume 16 Stu-Veg includes:

STEW: Great Recipes from At-Home and Abroad--I like stew. It is one of the few dishes where I can throw things in my Crock Pot and it comes out perfect. 

VARIETY AND SPECIALTY MEATS: Sausages, Cold Cuts, Liver, and Kidney--I'm sure this was the go-to back in the day. All four of them can be combined to make a giant sausage and nobody would be any worse for the wear. 

 VEGETABLES AND THEIR VARIATIONS: Fresh, Frozen, Canned, and Dried. I can imagine this wouldn't be too popular amongst the vegetarian crowd considering they would have to thumb through stews and variety meats first.

MASTER INDEX TO ALL 16 VOLUMES: Yes there is an end after all!! Except of course I did all the books out of order so I think I have 3 or 4 left.


Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking, Volume 16, 1972 Ste-Veg. This couldn't be made into a word.
Vegetarians and just plain vegetable lovers. This is your book. Recipes start with A for artichoke and Z for Zucchini and out of a 2,045 page book series, gets a generous 55 pages devoted to your dietary needs. Sure you have to get through the other 15 volumes and 2 sections, but there is a place for you in 1972 cookbooks. Albeit small.
I have nothing bad to say about stew. As long as it doesn't have rabbits or squirrels or guinea pigs in it. Or don't tell me if there are rabbits or squirrels or guinea pigs in it.
Beef Jardinière with Marrow Dumplings. You had me at beef and you lost me at marrow. How quickly I turn.


Veal Ragout. It's so chunky it looks like cat food. I am expecting to see a fluffy, pampered, fat cat bounding towards this bowl.
Lamb Burgandy, trimmed with fluted mushrooms. I just need to know if any of those things actually move because they look glued or shellacked in place.
Dutch Pork Hot Pot. Another shiny, happy, never moving food. I am aware I am incapable of appreciating the beauty and simplicity of food. I know there always has to be a negative. Because there always is!
"Ham and yams mingle in piquant Louisiana Hot Pot." While the olives cut in and crash the party.
Keilbasa and Kraut. Food with balls. Sure it might wreak havoc on your gut for a few days, but I bet you feel badass eating it. How can you not? All that kraut and sausage? Pat that bloated belly and be proud.
Who wants a sandwich?
The versatility of cold cuts. Bologna (horse cock, R.I.P. Dad) wrapped around potato salad. Maybe it's to protect the potato salad from the overgrowth of bacteria and inevitable food poisoning.
"Ever thought of grilling cold cuts and serving them hot? Try grilled jumbo cold cuts for a real treat." Never crossed my mind. I don't think LIKE THAT!
Liver Ragout. If you just have no ideas on how to prepare that beef or calf's liver. I have no ideas but if I did, it would not be disguised as a pot roast. I have children to feed, not scare them from the one thing they actually eat.
Or if just plain Liver and Onions won't suffice, dump a bottle of French Dressing and simmer until bubbly. Just remember while the onions are cooking to snip out the veiny parts and skin from the liver. Would I have thought of it? Absolutely not. We all would be eating veiny liver and onions in Catalina. GAH I don't want my food touching like that!!
Okey Dokey Artichokey. Because I had absolutely nothing to say about this dainty Ruffled Artichoke Cup. Except maybe that's about all I would know what to do with an artichoke.
Asparagus Pinwheel Pie. This is an uncomfortable close up of something I don't want to see up close and personal.
Green Beans, Celery Crescents, and Crisp Bacon Crumbles. This looks like it would make a difficult jigsaw puzzle. And the crazy thing is I would probably put one like this together. I might even glue it and put it in my room.
Orange Spiked Carrots Elegante and Broccoli Crown. Egh why does everything have to be full of mayonnaise? Not saying I would eat the broccoli crown. The knowledge of mayonnaise has me even fearing the tomatoes on top.
Sweet Sour Cabbage. While there is nothing wrong with red cabbage it's the description saying it is "laced with grenadine syrup" that piqued my need to include this. "Laced" makes it seem like something was put in there that shouldn't be and an ill effect will be the result.
Carrots and Golden Raisins. Another jigsaw puzzle moment. I think all that orange cut up into 1,000 pieces would make me crazy. And it would be cut to where the inside pieces look like the border pieces.
"Herbed Carrots and Celery, one of the happier vegetable marriages." Of course it's going to show it in front of lima beans, waxed beans, and green beans. They must make themselves look good, you see.
Is the Help-Yourself Platter really in a good spot? It's on a seat which could have had someone's sweaty ass in it before the picture was taken, maybe some birds crapped on it too. I just can't think I would want to eat where someone's sweaty ass was perched. Do I overthink? Hell yeah. I have to in this dirty world.
Creamed Celery. If you were Amish, something like this would be served at your wedding. Probably wouldn't have a picture taken of it in 1972 pre-Instagram though.
Dinner Stuffed Onions. Maybe if it looked less like a Muppet clam. Maybe not. 


And so another Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking is put to rest. We're getting there. Lame titles and all :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Potsal and Roast Overkill

This is my 131st post. I've somehow managed to come up with 131 topics and hundreds of pictures from these old cookbooks, recipe cards, pamphlets. I even somehow manged to make a dirge about a promotional pamphlet that came with the Sears Coldspot refrigerator from my growing up years. Sure, the content can get a little repetitive and sometimes I spend hours scanning a cookbook and cropping the selected pictures, only to get a few hundred views for that post when I think it's my best one ever. It's worth it because this is my hobby and I really do enjoy blogging about retro food. In the past year and couple months, I somehow have become very knowledgeable about the midcentury foods and menus. I'm in too deep and I will continue as long as I have ideas.

But..

The hardest thing for me to do is find a title to go with the content. Seriously. That should be easy.

Thank you to to the Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking books for helping me make my title easy. Potsal it shall be. And potsal almost looks like a word. Because I suck at titles. 

Here's to another 131 posts of hard to figure out titles. If you have any ideas, by all means..

I've been wanting to use this one, Pot-Sal, as the last of the Family Circle books because I started out with # 7, which I guess is supposed to be lucky. 

Getting on with the book. Volume 13, Pot-Sal. In this fine volume, like the other Family Circle books, are several topics:

POTLUCK LUXURY: Spur-of-the-Moment Meals to Impress Drop in Guests-- Okay, that's all well and good but why would I care to impress the special ones who can't bother to call before greeting me with their presence? Stop by my house unexpected on a Saturday, you'll be lucky if I even take my hair out of my towel turban let alone me trying to scrounge something edible together.

ROASTS, JUICY AND TENDER: Beef, Veal, Lamb, Pork, and Ham--Arteries and pancreas, pshaw.

ROASTS ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL: Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers: Or they can be put in a container and eaten the next day. But I better get my container back. That's all I ask. 

SALAD DAYS: A Gallery of Popular Salads--Our favorite topic and it should just be a book unto itself. Oh wait, it has. I wouldn't have missed that book.

Because some of these captions are pretty lamebrain, if I have mine in quotes it is because they are coming from the book and not my brilliant (haha) and sarcastic mind. 

Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking, 1972, Volume 13 Pot-Sur. I might be creating my own language with the aid of Family Circle. Who else gets to say that?
Simple enough to my unannounced friends who pop in. Don't do that and I won't have to garner the coping mechanism to put up with your lack of manners. Why must the huge portfolio of salads and salad dressings be an afterthought?
I hope the unannounced guest likes tomatoes because it appears that is what they are getting. I might even put out the tomato picture if I like you enough. 
AntiI hope if someone drops in unannounced at lunchtime, I have this book handy. I wouldn't be able to cope gracefully without it. 
"The easiest way to cope with hungry teenagers--pizza!" Especially if it is a ham and salami pizza or Antipasto pizza. Too bad there is no picture of the Wiener Winner Pizza.
Cobble Buns, Rabbit Ham Rounds, and Quick Viennese Mocha. Be an unannounced guest at your own peril. Nobody said you can come over anyway.
"Apricot Ham Steak, Baked Potato Cups with Chive Dressing make an easy, elegant meal for impromptu guests." I guess I have been crashing either the wrong houses because nobody has ever offered to make me Apricot Ham Steak when I drop by unannounced. Forget that in this great and large state of Texas, I know 4 people and they all live under my roof. I guess I need to get out more.
Classic Rolled Beef Roast. I like my roast to look like a critical angiogram.You are what you eat after all.
Prime Ribs at their "most perfect best." Is it most, perfect, or best? Can't have all three or you sound like a redundant 6 year old.
Roast beef and dinner combinations. I'm sweating here. Not a health food nut or anything, but there's just so much fat.
"Australian Beef Roast is actually a one-dish dinner." That ought to lay to rest all the arguments about how many dishes it takes to successfully execute an Australian Beef Roast.
Sicilian Beef Dinner. You can see it, right? I don't think that book is quite large enough. Seriously, my daughter was born in Italy and I had to sign the birth registry book at the U.S. Consulate and that damn thing had to have been two feet long.
"Roast Beef in a skillet? Why not?" Really. Why not.
Glazed Corned Beef. Are we tired of roasts yet? No? Good because I have more to share.
Paprika Veal Roast. "Festooned with lardoons of fat salt pork." I want to eat some lardoons. Just to say I've eaten lardoons.
Crown Roast of Lamb. I'm completely SMITTEN with the carrots, peas, rice, kumquats, mint jelly in the center. Kumquat is an awesome word by the way.
Cumberland Lamb Roast. I'm getting some serious Flinstone vibes here. Only the Fred Flinstone in my mind has Fred wearing a prosthesis and spearing the haunch with his hook. Only in my mind does this exist, you see.
La Cienaga Lamb Roast. Blanketed with flour to give that crusty look. Well done. Looks like it is vomiting egg yolks though.
I've been walking the same stretch of sidewalk over the course of the past few months and I still walk past something that looks like this laying in the grass.
"One of the loveliest of all lamb recipes, Pimiento-Stuffed Lamb." Matter of opinion.
If you look close enough at this lamb in pastry crust, you can see the face. Maybe I am looking too close for too long. I'm starting to see faces in chicken liver pâté. Hope is out there for me.
Killarney Lamb Roast. It looks so..crispy.
Regal Party Crown Roast of Pork. When this book said it would mention roasts, it was certainly being up front about how many there would be. This one is wearing an apple tiara.
Orange-glazed pork. I think I see pork in the fat rolls. A tiny bit. Someone is reading this and thinking this looks pretty damn good. And it does. I'll admit. I would probably eat the fat, and only the fat.
Harvest Stuffed Pork. Filled with corn and crumbs. That's pretty specific. Crumbs.
"Orange Blossom Ham Platter, shown dressed for a special dinner party. The garnish is far easier than it looks. Slice oranges, quarter, and fasten to ham with cloves." Ehh, who has time for all that drama? I would so eff that up. Those orange slices would be every way but the right way. I even took a cooking class in high school.
And nobody born after 1940 uses these "gay trims for ham" do they? I've never seen it. Though it would be spectacular. I don't know if 1940 is long enough ago. It seems like it would be long enough ago. I don't know what decade is archaic. Ugh.
All that scrolling and eye rolling was worth it because it got to the Salads section. A trifecta of awesomeness yet to come. Boeuf à la Mode en Gelee, Sweet and Pungent Pork, and Savory Stuffed Cabbage.
Molded Pork Loaf.  Just the right amount of carrots and green beans. This is a work of art to admire from afar and never think that it can be edible. Or that someone has actually eaten it and smiled in appreciation as the cold, lemon flavored gelatin melted in their mouth.
"A salad is only as good as what goes into it." Words to heed. However, they were not heeded. That's how molded salads wiggled their way into the food system.
Calico Cups. They must be so delicate and such a rarity that they are forever entombed in a glass box.
Western Pea Salad. Another for the time capsule. Canned chick peas and green peas and canned olives and little sprouty things poking up from it all. I really made it out to be more complicated than it is.
Calico Pepper Baskets. It takes a special kind of a person to cut green peppers into cutesy baskets, filling them with coleslaw. I have to envy that skill.
If you are a potato salad lover, this is for you. From left to right: German Potato Salad Bowls, Sun-Gold Potato Mold, Garden Potato Salad, Swiss Potato Salad Tower. Go on, choose.
Coronet or Crown? Curried Chicken Coronet and Tomato-Aspic Crown. With a Rainbow Fruit Mold as a distraction.
This is EXACTLY what it looks like. Boston Beanie Ring. Tomato juice, lemon gelatin, catsup (not ketchup), can of baked beans, celery, and pickle relish. It is called a "new variation of an old favorite," but why mess with what isn't broke?
Raspberry Chiffon Royale. Sure, you are thinking what a bubbly shade of pink it is, strategically placed marshmallows, fun and delight in every bite. Would it burst your bubble if you knew the white blobs were egg whites folded gently into the gelatin mixture?
"Cornucopia Salad Bowl is almost too beautiful to eat." Swing and a miss. Not even close. 

While I was creating this, I came up with the title. It is more apt than the original one, Potsal. There were just too many roasts in this book for it not to be included.