The long weekend presented a great opportunity for the 50s housewife to get out of the kitchen and into the wilds of the rooftop patio for a BBQ with friends.
It also let me explore the 1958 Good Housekeeping's Summertime Cook Book - a collection of recipes that are "easy on the cook" but not exactly easy on the eyes.
That gorgeous "cover mold" surrounded by truly Satanic deviled eggs is Shrimp-Salad Jambalaya. Of all the things you thought that mold could be made of, I'm guessing shrimp wasn't one of them. As my husband is allergic to seafood and since I have a weird thing about not liking to throw up in public, I skipped that experience.
Thankfully, Good Housekeeping gave us plenty of other options - and some of them were even recognizable as food (I highly suggest clicking on the image to get a better look):
Ok, I admit - I had no freaking idea what most of those things were, save for the celery in a cup, that hunk of watermelon, and the cob of corn in a bun (huh?). Some of the lowlights in this picture include:
- Molded Potato Salad on Tomato Aspic (Near the top on the left) If you enjoy the skin that forms on tomato soup after it cools (and who doesn't!), you're going to love ketchup jello.
- All-in-one Sandwich Loaf (Top, near the left corner) What constitutes as "all"? Layers of each between bread: chicken salad, egg salad and processed cheese spread with chunks of tomato, olives and pickle throughout. The entire thing is then covered with cream cheese spread and garnished with bologna. I wish I was making that up.
- Sour-Cream Slaw in Cabbage Bowl (Bottom right) Because everything's better in a cabbage bowl!
- Chicken Liver Kabob with Pimento Olives (Bottom left toward centre of page) Here's a recipe for instant job creation: Street meat vendors start serving these to post-bar patrons = need for more city street cleaners. Thanks, chicken livers!
In the end, I decided a spread of minted iced tea, hamburgers (from a recipe that called for MSG. Darn, fresh out of it.) and hot dogs with all the fixings, "Best Ever" potato salad and something called Coleslaw Soufflé Salad - a refreshing molded vegetable side that brought together that classic duo, lemon jello and mayonnaise.
Our BBQ mates, our good friends Siobhan and Patrick Dell, brought my very favourite thing,
The day marked the first time in a week that Patrick (my Patrick) had to do some cooking. You see, BBQing is "man work." Why? Well, I think Ward Cleaver explains it best:
My favourite part of that Leave it to Beaver clip is when Mr. Cleaver asks for his asbestos gloves. Not because that's the clear joke of the scene, but because they're freaking asbestos.
Not only did I not provide Patrick with asbestos gloves, but I also stupidly didn't arrange for him to wear the classic chef's hat or an apron that says "Chef" on it, as shown in the illustration up top. Why is it that when men cooked then, they needed to get into a full get-up that says "ME COOKING. READ APRON. SEE HAT."? Did they really think it made them look less gay?
The meat turned out just fine, if not a little small. The burgers shrunk quite a bit (I guess that's what happens when you use regular ground beef and not the lean stuff).
The salads were revealed with fanfare that only "rose cut" radishes can draw. Oh, what a fantastic waste of time those were.
My Coleslaw Soufflé Salad (pictured on the left) did not want to come out of its mold so it unfortunately required a bit of scraping to be freed - thus wrecking much of the aesthetic. By Grabthar's hammer, I *will* make a perfect molded object by the time this experiment is over!
Siobhan mercifully ate the coleslaw with a brave face and even offered a
The boys, on the other hand, had a more difficult time disguising how they felt about it:
(Yes, that's my (unmanicured!) hand force-feeding my husband.)
Dessert went over better, thankfully. I made something called Honeydew Ambrosia (it's actually pictured above in the BBQ spread photo. It's in the top left corner) and atomic rocket popsicles, made with "pure and good" Kool-Aid (... Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid, a five-cent package makes two quarts of ... Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid ...).
At one point, one of the gents suggested that the mint iced tea I made (which was crazy sweet - next time, half the sugar!) would be good with rum. A quick dash downstairs for the bottle later, and yes, it really was quite good with rum ... sort of a Long Island Mojito. It also did wonders to wash away the taste and memory of the coleslaw. Friendship saved!
All in all, a lovely time was had. My kitchen was a total disaster, though. Unlike a 50s housewife, I didn't clean it right away, which means I'll be spending a good part of today doing that. Just how every girl likes to spend a holiday.
Many thanks to Patrick Dell for taking the nicer pictures featured in today's post (the crappy dark ones are, of course, mine)!
Image Source: Good Housekeeping's Summertime Cook Book