30 May 2010

He's a Good Sport

Sorry for the delay in getting Day 13 of the 50s Housewife Experiment up! All will be explained with Day 14's post. ALSO: What is *up* with that man's hat in the picture to the left? Is this a glimpse into what happened once Maid Marian and Robin Hood finally settled down?

Never in my life have I ever thought of weekends as "disruptive" - but, boy, they sure are!

My weekly schedule has come to rule my life and when someone is laying on the couch in the midst of it, throwing newspapers and dirty dishes and socks around, I have a weird inability to do my 50s housewife thing as programmed. Instead, I growl from the kitchen (which is still totally my territory) and peer angrily into the living room that is becoming a mess with every second that passes.

Perhaps that is why I decided to serve my most disgusting dish yet, the Asparagus Meat Mold.

I had failed the dessert gelatin, floundered through two salad gelatin creations and now finally graduated myself to the entree level of jell-o based edibles.

This recipe, found in my Searchlight Recipe Book, sounded revolting, which is why I had to do it. The unflavored gelatin was first mixed with beef broth and placed in the fridge to partially set. Then, in a ring mold, the following were placed:

  • Asparagus tips
  • Chopped asparagus stalks
  • Celery
  • Cooked chicken livers
  • Cooked ground beef
  • Salt
The beef broth jell-o was then dumped on top of everything and all was sent to the fridge to set.

That recipe was all kinds of wrong, just like this article -> I found in one of my magazines. In case you didn't know, the term "gyp" is derived from the ethnic group "Gypsy". It's not entirely unlike coming across an article titled "Selling Your Gold: Tips To Avoid Getting Jewed at the Jeweler" Ugh - just writing that made me feel like the worst scum ever.

Anyway, the mold was taken care of earlier in the day so that it would be ready for dinner. I then went about doing several 50s housewife things like the "light dusting" of rooms (besides the living room - as that was occupied by dear husband and would have been pointless), hit the farmer's market with Jacquelyn and Ewan, planned my final 50s housewife meal for Sunday and made a few phone calls to friends (in lieu of e-mail and Facebook messages, my old standby).

By 6 P.M., my Asparagus Meat Mold had enough time to set and the dinner hour was upon us. I wanted this one mold to be perfect, so I used all the advice I had been receiving on gelatin-based structures from the blog's comment section. From my dad's cousin, Barb, I learned to grease the mold ahead of time. From my aunt, Janice, I received the advice to soak the mold, up to the rim, in warm water and then gently squeeze the mold out using a hot tea towel.

I did all of this, and then it happened.

The mold slipped out of the ring like butter and onto the lettuce-decorated plate as desired. Maybe I was caught up in the moment, but I swear the room suddenly filled with the sound of the Top Gun guitar solo. (P.S. Please watch that song's video - I think that dude in silver has to be my next Halloween costume and I need people to 'get' what I am.)

It was glorious. It was inspiring. It was about to get its hole filled with canned peas, olives and mayonnaise. (A sex joke here crosses every line, so I’ll refrain for once.) But, yes, you heard / read me right: Canned peas, olives and mayonnaise. If any of you ever wish to become bulimic and need a good trigger to keep on path, just keep rereading that last sentence over and over again until you're skinny - or just keep looking below:
As pleased as I was with myself for finally creating a mold that worked, the feeling gave way to the smell of the Asparagus Meat Mold hitting my unsuspecting nostrils. Until smell-i-vision is developed, you can get a sensory appreciation for the dish by going to your grocery store's pet food aisle, cracking open a can of ALPO and inhaling deeply.

It wasn't exactly the first time the food I was about to eat had been compared to dog food. My father, for example, has long attested that Chef Boyardee and Dr. Ballard are in fact the same man. It turns out he wasn't quite right about that one; it's Dr. Ballard and Jenny Craig who are the same person. No wonder Kristie Alley couldn't wait to get off that program.

Anyway - according to my rules of the 50s housewife experiment, Patrick had to try at least one bite of everything I made. I knew ahead of time that this thing was going to be vomit-worthy, so what you don't see off-camera is a stack of hot dogs that I made for him as a reward for suffering through his one and only bite.

For your viewing pleasure, I've documented a bit of the Meat Mold action:
It looked like dog food, it smelled like dog food and while I can't totally confirm it, I'm pretty sure the taste we experienced was also just like dog food. Who knew that there would be a time in my life when hot dogs were being used as the chaser.

Once we had our fill of palate-cleansing lips and assholes, it was time to get going as Patrick and I had a date planned! I had tried to think of something that would have been 50s-era appropriate and with no malt shops or sock hops about or a car to go to a drive-in movie, only one thing came to mind - bowling!

We got to Bathurst Bowlerama around 7:45 P.M. and wow - was the place ever jumping:
Want a quiet, intimate date? Go bowling in Toronto on a Saturday night. By the time we left (around 10 P.M.), the "prime" bowling time, only two other lanes were being used.

But back to us! The 50s housewife was finally freed of her heels and got to wear some bowling shoes - the first flat shoes yours truly has put on since this wacky project started nearly two weeks before. I also had my first beer - a Heineken (with a nod to Betty Draper) - that night. I'm still not sure a 50s housewife would have been caught drinking beer (it seems so unladylike) but I was willing to be gossiped about at the PTA in exchange for the cold loveliness of hops and malted barley.

Now, I've been called many things (amazing, talented, bendy in the right places) - but athletic or coordinated have never been one of them. Check out these disastrous bowling scores:
But you know what? It was fun. It was really, really fun. I think we'll be making a return trip, perhaps with a few friends in tow and maybe we can drum up some business for the poor Bathurst Bowlerama. While I'm not sure if our friends can bowl well, I know they'll exceed at running up the beer tab. Hey, business is business, right?

On the bus ride home, Patrick turned me.

"I like being with you," he said.

"I like being with you, too," I replied.

Not a bad way to end a day.

Image Sources: S.O.S. advertisement, circa 1946 and Today's Woman Magazine, November 1952. "How To Beat The Merchant Gyps."


Colleen 8:28 am, May 31, 2010  

My favourite entry yet. I came an emotional full-circle! I was annoyed with Patrick (oh, the mess), I laughed at Patrick (the mold, oh) and then I fell in love with Patrick.

I may have even teared up a little a the end and I'm pretty sure that's because we are one entry from the end.

Unknown 8:41 am, May 31, 2010  

Colleen said it perfectly! Well Done and thanks for feeding my dogs yesterday ;-)

Anonymous,  12:57 pm, May 31, 2010  

This is great! And just the description of canned peas, olives and mayo made me want to vomit!

Christie 8:01 pm, May 31, 2010  

Oh my - that mold thingie may be the most disgusting thing I've seen! That belongs in here: http://lileks.com/institute/gallery/index.html

Susan J Barker 9:53 am, June 01, 2010  

you do tell a wonderful story, all in all, I have enjoyed your experiment even though some things were not as correct as they could be -- close though and the trying is the thing...

Jen 2:58 pm, June 01, 2010  

Thanks again for the comments, everyone!

Colleen: Yes, Patrick has a strange way of redeeming himself on about a daily level. Ha ;)

Erin: Thanks to your dogs for taking care of the garbage!

Anon: You and me both.

Christie: Thanks for the link. And ah! I see they they too discovered the Frank n' Bean Bake!!

Susan: Thank you! Yes - there's no way to get things perfect when doing such an experiment - especially when so many people had different experiences during that time that we just can't quite replicate. Best to try but then go with the flow! :)

Tammy,  10:24 pm, February 16, 2012  

Love the irony that you compare the butcher article on 'gypping' to gold and Jews... Yet no one noted the author's name. Wonder if it was a pen name to double whammy the stereotype?

Cherish 8:46 pm, February 19, 2012  

Just ran across this series and I'm loving it. But that mold, ARGH! That's puke-inspiring just reading about it.

Anonymous,  3:30 pm, May 17, 2013  

Peas...olives...mayo...what's not to love??? Bring it on.

Anonymous,  1:33 pm, August 12, 2013  

I totally teared up when Patrick said he likes being with you. As a housewife myself, this 1950s experiment makes me look like a complete slacker. I do have a 4 year old and a puppy to look after and they can be real time sucks into things that I've planned to do. I've always wondered what would posess people to make Jello for dinner after seeing movies like "Edward scissorhands" and the neighborly housewives' impromptu barbecue as a cover for their snooping. I don't mind Jello on occasion. FRUIT FLAVORED Jello. I can honestly say that the only thing that even comes close to "meat Jello" that has ever touched my tongue is a really well made soup stock that gels when put in the fridge. We don't usually have dessert after dinner, but I do bake goodies from time to time. I was a baker before having my daughter. I also feel especially house-wifey when I bake my own hotdog and hamburger buns, which is more often than we buy them. My house may not be gleaming, but the kid is alive and happy, the dog is walked and taken care of, dinner is made 95% of nights, the rest is the odd take out order. I do feel like an oddity for not being a "career woman" but you only get so much time before your baby isn't a baby anymore. Love LOVE the blog even if I'm reading it waY late.

jecika,  3:56 pm, April 02, 2015  

Colleen said it perfectly! Well Done and thanks for feeding my dogs yesterday ;-)www.businesssosbook.com |

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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