Saturday, March 28, 2009

One of My Hobbies

Having little money and seemingly meager amounts of food you would normally eat can make one very creative and resourceful when it comes to cooking for the family. It has become kind of a hobby for me. When we did have a little more money in years past, I would flock to estate and yard sales to stock up on vintage cook books but back then it was only because I love(d) to read them and I admired the pictures and quaint graphics. I wasn’t really going to use them for their original purpose. The more I read, the more enchanted I became and pretty soon I was trying out the recipes. To this day, when I try a recipe I write the date and any notes or opinions next to the recipe right in the book. Some of these previously owned books have pencil marks from the 1950s with faded, lady-like handwriting stating the date and the event for which the dish was made. Little details like that really make a book that much more valuable to me.
Most of the dishes are extremely dated, a food snob’s nightmare, but charming as ever in my opinion, even if they don’t sound appetizing.

Salmon Cocktail Mold
(Recipe from The New Antoinette Pope School Cookbook, Second Printing, 1962)

2 cans salmon (doesn’t say what size!)
¼ cup chopped green onion and stems
¼ cup chopped green olives
½ cup chopped celery
About ½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing thinned with 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and stir until well blended. Place in a small bowl and chill at least 1 hour.
To serve, turn out onto center of a platter, and with spatula go over mold to make it smooth. Garnish top with hard-cooked eggs, olives, or vegetables cut to simulate flowers, or as desired. Place crackers around base of mold.
Serves 8.

I made this recipe for a dinner party I hosted. If I remember correctly, nobody ate it. It’s a shame because I ate it and thought it was delicious. And I ended up polishing it off myself over the next 2 or 3 days. It isn’t attractive to the mainstream, in my opinion. It’s a big sculpted mound of light pinkish brown with tiny bits of green and red here and there. The hard part is the canned salmon, which I had never bought before—there are hundreds of tiny bones mixed in that you must pluck out by hand, unless there is some tool of which I’m unaware. The book this came from has tons of extremely dated, sculpted, unnatural looking dishes (think cream cheese dyed green and shaped into flowers and fruits adorning a gelatin mold salad made of chicken and peas). I love it.

Green Beans w/ Oranges
Easy; combines two well-liked foods
(Recipe from Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, 1972 edition)

2 (10 oz) pkgs. frozen whole green beans
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
3 tblsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook beans according to package directions, drain. Add orange sections and butter. Heat through; season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

That recipe above doesn’t sound very tasty to me but someone must’ve thought it was good enough to include in a DoubleDay cookbook. I found it when I was looking for ways to use the canned green beans in my pantry. Not sure if this is the way I want to use them.

Buttered or Cheese KIX
(Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, First Edition, 1950)

Each taste calls for another.

Melt in heavy skillet 5 tbsp. butter. Remove from heat. Stir 5 tbsp. Parmesan –type cheese, if desired. Add ¼ box KIX (4 cups). Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Stir well.

Now THAT sounds tasty! I’ve never heard of using KIX cereal to make an appetizer. Did you know KIX was that old?
That was fun. Thanks for reading.


Iris said...

That WAS fun.

About that recipe you made, aww that sucks. I would hate it if that happened to me. If it did, I would be the one to say out loud, "Hey, someone try this dish! I made it. I want to know what you all think!"

Oranges and green beans!? I don't know why, but I want to try it O__O

I really like trying new things. Today, I made a pie crust out of nilla wafers. It was pretty ok...

That Kix recipe really sounds good too. I didn't know Kix was that old school! MMMM Next time we come over, make some of that Kix shtuff for us ;)

I've got the munchies now :) I like your hobby.

Sarah Jane said...

The orange/green bean thing sounds like it could be healthy if you just use a little EVOO instead of butt turd.
Your pie crust sounds GOOOOOOD. I haven't eaten Nilla wafers in such a long time. Thems is o'd schoo'!