19 Feb 2011

Let's Clear Something Up

I was interviewed recently regarding the 50s Housewife Experiment (yes, still happily milking that thing) and the person interviewing me was really surprised that I gained weight following a 50s diet.

"But people ate real food back then!" she said, referring to the fact that we're eating a lot of "Frankenfood" now.

See, I'm sure that some people ate wholesome, farm-fresh, made-from-scratch, not-so-complicated meals back in the day. But some people in the 1950s also ate crap like this:


Want to guess what it is?
  • Is it a very rare beef tenderloin covered in strangely coloured whipped potatoes?
  • Is it Gumby's severed arm?
  • Is it actually just a plastic prop from my 50s Christmas Cocktail Party?
It's a special treat called a Cranberry Yule Log. It consists of two cans of highly processed cranberry sauce (still in can shape) smothered in green dye-tinted cream cheese with a bit of nutmeg, topped with cherries and spearmint candies. You eat it with a knife and fork and a doctor on stand-by. It appeared in my December 1957 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, compliments of Ocean Spray.

The magazines and cookbooks from the era are brimming with stuff like this. But let's not fool ourselves into thinking it's any more healthy when it's recombined and beautifully photographed to look like this:

Cranberry Cheesecake Tartlets, compliments of Ocean Spray
...except we have the added bonus of there being high fructose corn syrup in the modern version! Hurrah!

1 comments:

Marsha,  3:11 am, February 20, 2011  

While I appreciate the concept of "cooking from the good old days", I come from a line of long lived, yet kitchen challenged women. If they ever saw it in a cookbook, it was the gospel truth. And the inedibilty of the dish was irrelevant. It was in a cookbook! You must eat it! It is a sad state of affairs when guys in my family stated that they would rather eat army food than what the womenfolk prepared.

A minor aside in the history of eating. When I was in the U.S. Army Reserves, the food was pretty good. They never cooked the life out of a vegetable. I was grateful

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