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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tonight we're going to party like it's 1959/69, maybe 1981

P-A-R-T-Y! Why? Because what child of the 1970's loves nothing more than being dragged from their Christmas toys in subzero December weather to visit a relative whom they only see once or twice a year? Let's be forced to play with cousins we wouldn't be caught dead with in everyday situations! Maybe the grandfather's new wife will experiment with something she found in a cookbook. Joy! 

Family gatherings became fewer and farther between as my relatives passed away, we grew up and moved to different states. One thing remains constant is the memory of cigarette smoke, booze, and whatever my step grandmother was creating. I wonder if she went through these cookbooks, had an "a-ha" moment and thought that she HAD to serve this to the family. Gluttons for punishment that everybody was, it still remained the central spot for family gatherings. 

From the kiddie table I present these books. Yes, there is a 22 year gap between them, but these look like the guests of parties in my imagination. What's wrong with my imagination? Yikes. 

Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookbook, 1959
Better Homes and Gardens Casual Entertaining, 1981

What starts out as a casual drink between lady with the long tie and red and blue leisure suit guy turns into leisure suit guy not realizing that long tie lady has a personal bubble in which he is severely encroaching. Serve your own pie! (BHG 1981)

The skies part, Angel sips her bubbly demurely while the ethereal glow surrounds her. She doesn't mind that she is being treated by a third wheel. Mr. 'Stache is far more intrigued by the allure of the frizzy perm haired Devilina. Angel is summoning a herpes spell on him. Hell hath no fury! On a more serious note, please note the picnic basket behind her. It's like Mary Poppin's purse. Look at the intact loaf and other large foods.(BHG 1981)
I'm not going to sugarcoat it but despite the formal table setting, this slick guy is plotting "dessert" a la cheesy 70s movies. Why? He's the only one with a bowtie and the lady in the mauve vest seems a little uncomfortable at the suggestion. (BHG 1981).
See what happens when you lie? Your nose grows and the little elf people hang pretzels from it. The little elf people have fruit shields in case you sneeze.
Great bread, but if anybody thinks kids aren't going to rip apart the snail bunnies instead of eating them then they don't know kids. By the way, that Easter grass is never going to leave. It will multiply. 10 years from now it's going to be wrapped around the hair on the vacuum cleaner spin brush.
Look what opening a can of tomato soup, beef broth,crackers and inedible parsley sprigs creates! Guests will be befuddled. Not at ingenuity, but that you half assed the soup and dared to float parsley on top of it. If the cracker gets soggy then the parsley gets into the soup. Then what?
I'm going to focus mainly on that cranberry ring. It starts out okay on top, but hidden beneath the lettuce is a gory mixture of mayonnaise, cream cheese, and tiny marshmallows. Twitch.
The Merrie Roast of Beef does not scare me as much as that tree creature clown above it.
Wonderful Sukiyaki! If e coli sickness is not a concern due to the close proximity of raw meat and fresh vegetables. I'm sure it's safe. That wok looks like a trustworthy beast.
Swedish Smorgasborg complete with rolled ham, big cubed ham, and SWEDISH meatballs. I get it. I'm ignoring the horse because I don't think it likes me.
If this is a tactic to scare children into eating, then it just might work. Either that or mess them up for life. Who is going to want to eat a pineapple with the memory of that creepy doll etched into their soul? The food on the left is called an "Outrigger". The book was thoughtful enough to inform the reader/chef in the making that the dolls are Chinese.
 I don't want to burst the bubble of anybody who thinks they are getting a taste of Italy by eating this needs to be informed that real Italian lasagna does not have 3 1/2 cups of large curd cottage cheese in the layers.
For 25 years, Herb carried Esther's purse, ate her cooking even when she was in her gelatine phase, let her work outside the home, didn't get too mad when she messed up his laundry, let her have her pink bathroom.For 25 years, she ran the ship. Herb looked at the pink display honoring their silver anniversary, pivoted smartly, and left. Last anyone heard of Herb, he was walking barefoot along the Florida coastline with a metal detector and a faithful Labrador he named Rex. All he wanted was to contribute to his friggen anniversary.
Five years old and already afraid of clowns. Thanks, Mom.
Somewhere in this entry there is a moral to my story. Maybe it is to cherish the memories because if you don't, the bad and ugly of retro food is going to be imprinted on a small piece of your soul forever. 

Until next time!!!

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