The arc of the universe bends slowly, but, thank FSM, it bends away from stuff like this:
This comes via Vintage Bug and was, it seems, something of a Twitter sensation about a year ago. I missed it then, but am delighted to discover this glorious anti-personnel dish now.
It comes, as explained at the link, from a promotional recipe pamphlet from the Doughnut Corporation of America (who knew?–ed.). Lots more glorious horrors to be found in that post. Donut Rarebit is a particular glory/transgression (guaranteed to make “your menfolk [sic] ask for seconds”).
Anyhow, it’s reassuring, sort of, that for all the genuine horrors and random acts of cruelty that adorn our days, American food possibilities have streched in ways that ensure our children will never have to confront donuts engaged in such unnatural acts (except they will, no doubt, ironically, and aiming to smack the gobs of those prior generations who did so much to rescue the nation from ’50s cuisine).
With that, a picture of a happier table…
…and an invitation to adorn this open thread with the most extraordinary back-in-the-day culinary atrocities you’ve encountered. For me — it’s a tie between my mother’s creamed corn fritters (which I loathed with a passion that only 6 year-olds can maintain, leading to truly epic dinner table battles), and a marshmellow topped jello concoction served to me at a Thanksgiving dinner in Hong Kong in 1967. I don’t remember quite what made it so thoroughly repulsive, but we were guests at neighbors from Utah, and that dish was part of home to them, and my parents made it damn clear that I had to choke my portion down or else. I am scarred.
Image: Pieter Breugel the Elder, The Peasant Wedding, 1566-69
Jello salad was a staple of family potlucks during my childhood in Minnesota. Shredded carrots, cool-whip, celery. I think I even saw it once with olives.
My daughter gave me a book a few years ago called Regrettable Food featuring mid- century cuisine at its most deplorable. Sadly, it contained a good many things my mother had actually cooked.
Marrying into a Protestant family introduced me to the Jell-O w/cream cheese mix . Some fruit in it and it’s okay. Put the wrong thing in …
The web is full of examples of the wrong thing in a Jell-O mold.
Fried Bologna sandwiches. Mom was from Newfoundland, where this was a staple.
Waldorf Salad is something my Mom thought was the height of the salad maker’s art. I can not eat that stuff.
Thank FSM we have taco trucks on every corner now.
Did she cut slots in the side so it wouldn’t curl? If it curls or cups the grease pools in the middle. I can see how that would put you off
KFC and cheese are 2 things I refused to eat as a child. My mother took pity on me (kind of, sort of). These days, because of the way I was raised (“try everything, even if you didn’t like it before”), I am quite the cheese hound. I still can’t imagine eating KFC.
A few years ago I had a hospital stay of a few days, and I was just gobsmacked at how bad the food was. I was served food-objects that I hadn’t seen or, by the mercy of FSM, eaten in fifty years– meat loaf with an unphysical density covered with an unidentified sauce , ‘fruit salad’ in the form of small cubes of unidentified substances. The works.
I can only wonder what hospital nutritionists are actually taught.
The nastiness of American foods from the 50’s & 60’s continues to boggle the mind. I may not like tripe or cow’s foot or sweetbreads, but I can at least admit they have some culinary attractions to other people. These monstrosities seem to be about driving you away from food.
On a personal note, my mother once had delusions of inventive recipes. She stuffed a chicken with potatoes and roasted it. The whole thing tasted like a potato. I got my copy of Frugal Gourmet Cooks 3 Ancient Cuisines and never looked back.
@jeffreyw: It doesn’t take curling. It’s the damned bologna. Yuck.
I also am scared of your jello molds. What is wrong with you people? Nothing good comes from a jello mold except homemade soap.
Around here Kroger has the best fried chicken.
Donut Prune Salad. Mmmmm. Ass watering.
Major Major Major Major
Gosh, we had the usual midwestern insanity growing up (I don’t want to be the twelfth person to discuss jello but that sort of thing), but… nothing else really stands out.
I am extremely lucky: grandmother emigrated from Italy amd was an awesome cook, and mom is/was also a great cook, so most of these atrocities passed me by. However, I loathe tuna casserole, and always will. For those who want to dig more deeply, go read “Perfection Salad.”
@jeffreyw: Yes, she cut through it so it would lay flat. Still vile, though.
ETA: I also had compensations from my Italian father. Clemenza making meat sauce in The Godfather brings back memories of Dad’s weekend cooking.
Fried Spam sandwiches. I can barely believe I survived my childhood.
My Mamaw used to pit bing cherries, stuff each with a pecan, and add them to black cherry jello. I couldn’t understand why people hated jello until I saw carrots and lettuce in lemon jello. Yuck!
I remember going to a dinner party with my mother when I was maybe nine, and somebody gave me a bowl of “ambrosia.” I said “Ambrosia, really? This is what you think gods eat? Your poor gods.”
In college, when North Dining Hall attempted to make lo mein, the most awful smell would overtake the entire quad, even worse than the ethanol plant. I think that I may have actually gone over to South Dining Hall on those days. I guess that nobody in northern Indiana knew how to cook it? The other Chinese-American cuisine was okay.
Most of my complaints about my childhood food were about lack of spices (Mom being of Austrian descent, me having Italian genes)
@Kayla Rudbek: I’ll see your “college dorm” lo mein, and raise you:
Lasagna made with cottage cheese and pepperoni.
Liver and onions. /hurl/
If there’s one thing increased immigration has saved us from, is the attempts to make white-bread American cuisine more interesting by mixing ingredients together that should never even be put together even at gunpoint. Thank God for Indian, expanded Chinese options, more authentic Italian, and so much more. The food is much more seasoned and tasty than corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were back when my Dad took us out to Sunday Dinner.
I remember when the most exotic thing we could find was French Cuisine. (The Maisonette) and Chop Suey at the Yum Yum. (Both gone now-Cincinnati restaurants)
@TheOtherHank: My mom makes it with fruit and uses real whipped cream and it’s delicious. Shut up.
OTOH, I once went on a date to a fancy schmancy place offering an 8 course dinner that was out of this world except for the second course, which was fish in aspic, in other words, fish jello. I ate it to be polite, but it was all I could do not to hurk all over the table after.
My grandmother cooked everything to death. Can’t count how many times I choked down dry meatloaf WITH RAISINS IN IT and thoroughly sterilised canned peas. But she made the best desserts so it was sorta worth it and now I’m really missing her strawberry shortcake.
@divF: bologna is plain nasty whether cold or fried. Give me the braunschweiger with crackers any day of the week instead.
Probably the worst thing about the stuffed prune salad recipe is that it’s supposed to be served with mayonnaise! Truly revolting.
@divF: We used to have fried Spam sandwiches when we went camping.
Toasted Spam & Velveeta sandwiches, which I loved when I was a kid. Wouldn’t touch any other kind of cheese. My mom tried to get us to eat canned asparagus, than which there is nothing more horrible, but we all hated that.
It’s the prunes.
@Chetan Murthy: also a plain wrong combo!
@?BillinGlendaleCA: No taco trucks in this very white rural corner of America, but 2 very well visited Mexican restaurants in which English is a second language. Somehow or other none of the customers ever complain about that…. While sitting at the table.
Soul Food spared me the worst of it. Collard greens with salt pork wasn’t that nutritious, but it didn’t make you run away from the table. Later on there was the occasional bean pie and fish with seasoning. But nothing like ambrosia, which was Jello with fruit cocktail and whipped cream, which was something we sometimes had at school.
Major Major Major Major
@Tehanu: oh jeez, okay, I forgot about Velveeta.
@jeffreyw: IIRC Popeye’s ain’t bad.
@Tehanu:My grandpa used to make fried spam and egg sandwiches for me when I was a kid. I loved them then, can’t imagine eating one now.
I am a WASP of a certain age, so jello salads are nearly sacred in my memory, and I love ambrosia! My father loves spam, and it was his favorite treat whenever Mom wasn’t home to fix him dinner. However, even I would never go so far as to put a stewed prune in a donut, and to add mayonnaise?!? Gaaah!
@Major Major Major Major: Yup, Nana thought Velveeta was good cheese and she bought it in five pound blocks. That I don’t miss at all.
Just FTR, Tom, I am looking at a framed print of that Breughel even as I type – it’s hanging over the TV. Brought it home from the Kunsthistorishe Museum in Wien after my first trip to Yerp in 1980.
The nastiest thing I ever had a hand in preparing for a meal was the Mizza, invented (or independently discovered) by the 4 of us Johns Hopkins sophs in 1968 an apartment just west of campus: Ground beef instead of pizza dough on a cookie sheet, topped with cheese & tomato sauce & whatever else & shoved into the oven. Wouldn’t have been so “offal” with VLF (very low fat) meat, but as financially strapped stoonts we used the cheapest stuff available – & draining the grease from a very hot sheet in oven mittens was no fun & rarely all that successful. Fortunately in those daze we all had digestive apparatuses of welded titanium.
Mom’s worst atrocity may have been Watergate salad, but that was rather late in the game. There was one dish from my childhood, mercifully infrequent, which consisted of potatoes & cut-up bell peppers in an egg-laced tomato sauce…but really anything with cooked bell peppers – the outer skin, which would inevitably peel halfway off, was the consistency of cellophane. Loved her stuffed peppers – but only after I’d spent 5-6 minutes with knife & fork stripping off that skin.
I’ve posted this link before, but author Wendy McClure found old Weight Watchers recipe cards from that era and posted them online. She eventually turned them into a book that is both hilarious and frightening:
correction-Yum Yum’s is still alive. But there was another Chinese restaurant where they had a picture of what I assumed was their son, and the proprietors were very old, and the place looked like they barely kept it open-or up.
A Ghost To Most
@hedgehog mobile: Liver, period. Onions do not improve it.
A cake whose main ingredient was tomato soup.
Cooked in a contraption known as an electric frying pan.
Dorothy A. Winsor
My mother was a terrible cook. My brother and I started college the same year and neither one of us could understand why our fellow students complained about the cafeteria food. It tasted pretty good to us.
My father was an extremely fussy eater so I was spared most of those atrocities in the 50s and 60s. On the other hand, we rarely got anything really interesting to eat.
I love Waldorf salad, possibly because modern ones usually replace most of the mayonnaise with yogurt or sour cream, which works better with the apples.
@Chetan Murthy: You’re making that up!
The worst: beef stew with the slimy fat (blanking on the name for it). My dad would make it. He finally got the message and kept the fat out of it, and it was pretty good after that.
Are you thinking of tripe? If so, I’m not sure I want to tell you what the “slimy fat” actually was. ?
No, not tripe. The FAT. Maybe it will come to me.
OT: I wonder what Adam would have to say about Mark Zaid’s comments (somewhat) decrying ex-government employees criticizing Drumpenfuhrer
[I mention Adam b/c he’s expressed thoughts on Zaid in the past.] It sure seems like this is contrary to the interests of his clients.
@TheOtherHank: I remember a few years ago the NYT published an article claiming grape salad was a staple in MN. There was a collective cry of “WTF?” heard from MN, where nobody had any memories of grape salad.
salmon loaf. the single most vile thing i remember. made from canned salmon and god knows what all else, it was a friday staple even though we weren’t catholic.
Beef fat. Lots of saturated fats. icky.
For some reason I no longer understand, I bought and hung a huge print of that painting on the wall of an apartment I once lived. Stared at it for at least two years. Absolutely no one seemed to care much for it, or quite understood why I chose it. And like I said, neither do I now… Still, then, like now, the fellow in the red shirt standing there with a flask of wine reminds me of Chico Marx. He did the first time I saw it- maybe that’s why I bought it..
@hedgehog mobile: I hated liver until I got away from home and learned that it did not have to be cooked to the colour and consistency of a hockey puck. Onions are OK but bacon is essential.
@Bostonian: Is that the ambrosia with the orange Jello, canned mandarin oranges, mini marshmallows, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese on top?
@Kayla Rudbek: I grew up in a mainly Irish Catholic neighborhood. Spices were salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. My Austrian great grandmother in NYC, however! Now there was cooking! Bay leaf, allspice, juniper berries! Also Mrs Antonnelli next door. She saved my palate from expiring from ennui.
Oh, also from time to time my mom would try to cook an actual heart. No idea who ate it, it wasn’t me.
Other that that she was a pretty good cook of the meat, potatoes and vegetable school. I was in high school before I encountered an actual GREEN PEPPER.
The Pale Scot
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Of course, Tacos are American food!
Blathering egg white omelet Tucker Carlson says America owns the taco.
@chris: Oh yeah. Velveeta wasn’t part of my childhood, thank the gods (I grew up in Berkeley and our food life was pretty excellent in those early days of the great American food revolution. I do recall watching in fascinated horror cheese being made in a tiny shop in Sonoma — but it tasted fine). But I remember the first time I went to Philadelphia and a colleague who must have really hated me took me to have a cheese steak which he insisted I have not with provolone, which would have been ok, but molten Velveeta painted on the bun. Deeply, truly, grotesquely repulsive.
Please. I just ate.
Back in the Chicago suburbs, I think I only ever had the dessert-y version of ambrosia, which would be mandarin oranges, nuts, marshmallows, and coconut with whipped cream or Cool Whip. It was so sweet it could melt your teeth, but at least the flavors all went together.
@Tom Levenson: Haha, molten Velveeta sounds like one of the circles of hell.
@Emma: Lordy I wish I were. The food at Rice in the mid-80s was so preternaturally abominable, I got lower-intestinal problems from it, and in my senior year basically gave up eating on campus (though I was paying for the meal plan). I ate at restaurants (and from my dorm fridge) the entire year. It was awful.
An extended camping trip with the original Tang and some sort of instant flavored outmeal scarred me for life. (Luckily we were in Mexico so I could just pitch a sneaky fit over breakfast and count on a much better lunch which would be local. Dinners were iffy again as camping-based.)
Luckily, it was my parents’ generation for whom parsley was an exotic spice.
Yeah, suet. Imagine actually cooking that into a stew. Yuck.
The Pale Scot
@OzarkHillbilly: Roy Roger’s had great fried chi
French Canadian Meat Pie is something I could never stomach Fortunately it was not something my mother made As a child my aunt would make a tenderloin roast that was put in the over at a high temperature when everything else was ready In order to polite I tasted it, but that is all As an adult rare tenderloin is special
Major Major Major Major
Kidney stew–much more gross after you found out what kidneys do. My mom would send us to school with anchovy paste & cream cheese sandwiches–I guess she thought it was a cocktail party and we’d need canapes? Finally, she would keep a whole tongue in the fridge: you could see quite clearly that it was a tongue, with the little fuzzy bumps and all. Kind of like growing up eating in the Frankenstein household. (Actually tongue tastes a lot like pastrami when sliced, but my depression-surviving mother was way too cheap for that!)
For people who like to make tasty and properly spiced food, Penzey’s is doing free shipping on a purchase of $20 or more until midnight Central time tonight, after which the minimum purchase required for free shipping will be $40.
They also have two free offer codes:
If you’re not already familiar with Penzey’s, you should be. Great quality product from people who hate Trump as much as we do.
Random finding my stomach won’t see, thankfully
@MoxieM: Strangely, I love kidney. & Liver. But a good fry up of kidney & veg for a holiday breakfast is a sign I’m on holiday.
@lgerard: We had an electric frying pan when I was a kid but we only used it for certain things. Dunno what.
I hear they’re making a comeback.
@Mnemosyne: Hmm, comparing our lists of ingredients, I’m led to wonder if my grandmother accidentally flipped two pages when copying the ambrosia recipe onto a 3×5 card, so that my family’s version is half sweet ambrosia salad, half taco salad.
This thread is inspiring all sorts of memories. Like my mom would put a beef roast (cheap, no doubt) in the electric fry pan before we went to church on Sunday, and when we got home would add carrots and potatoes (sliced onions were placed on top of the meat). Leftovers were turned into “juicy hash” which was great, except the time we went next door to my grandma’s (dad’s mother) for dinner because my mom was working to pay off my dad’s gambling while drinking debts* and my grandma had put RAW ONIONS in the hash.
*he stopped drinking in the 60s and was with my mom for the next 40+ years. Thanks, AA!
@Mnemosyne: You people have spoiled me for other spices. My aunt went back to Cuba with a small box of Penzeys basic spices (as chosen by her) and also two containers of soup base.
Everytime Ive seen that painting (Bruegel) Ive wondered what the heck theyre eating. Gruel? How festive.
@Tom Levenson: @chris: You’re talking Cheez Whiz. It is stridently to be shunned.
I loved pretty much all the food I ate in Japan, but not the food I ate while in the hospital in Japan.
“Healthy” Japanese food included a lot of natto and konnyaku (yam starch pressed into rubbery, gray-with-black-flecks bars that made me think I was chewing on stewed slugs).
A Ghost To Most
My mother was an awful cook. It’s no wonder I went into the service at 117 lbs. They put 20 lbs on me in basic training.
More food memories. We were in China several years ago and had a guide who ordered food for us….. When it came included a dish of small brownish flattish…things. When I asked what they were I was told they were “a kind of fish.” In other words, small leeches. Did not eat……
Why yes, I am picky.
The Midnight Lurker
Just back from canvassing. My feet are killing me. All I want is to soak my feet… and have a donut!
I don’t know why I’m craving a donut. I do know that I check out BJ and one of favorite front pagers has posted an anti-donut screed at the same time my wife is giving me yet another lecture about all the things one may find in your average donut. Heavy metals? Really?
Wait until I’m CEO of the Donut Corporation of America, then you’ll be sorry.
“It tastes like feet!”
I know I’m supposed to hate “Friends,” but that show had some of the most quotable lines ever on television.
The one german dish my mom made was sauerbraten. My timid kid taste buds were repelled from the pickling brine it sat in for a day or two, but even more from the gravy flavored with ginger snaps. Yikes. The only that saved that meal for me was the homemade spaetzle.
In Canada, Cheese Whiz is made with cheese, and is good.
In the US Cheese Whiz is made with an oil base cheese like product and is gross.
Midwestern food in the late ’50s: Salad — a wedge/slab of iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing and slices of store-bought, cardboard-y tomatoes. Vegetables — canned corn, canned peas, canned green beans, canned spinach. Potatoes — scalloped/drenched in butter and baked/drenched in butter. When we moved from southern Indiana to southern California in 1961 and we passed by our first Mexican restaurant my parents said, “We don’t eat at places like that.” So I didn’t eat Mexican food till I went to college. Ever since then I’ve opted for it whenever I can, figuring I still have a lot of catching up to do.
Major Major Major Major
@Mnemosyne: we’re supposed to hate Friends?
Went to a Korean restaurant in the mid-30s in Manhattan back in the late 90s. It was on that street of all Korean restos. We all ordered stuff off the English menu. My adventurous housemate got enough of a translation of the Hangul menu, to order “boiled ox knees”. Heh. It turned out to be a (big) bowl of translucent boiled tendons. Yeah, we each ate -one-, and that reduced the size by 1%.
Recently I learned from my Korean friend that it’s a much-sought-after delicacy. De gustibus ….
@scav: I remember going with my Mom for a rare meal “out” (Walgreen’s, I believe it was) and there was a piece of parsley on my plate, which I ate. Mom freaked out. “You’re not supposed to eat that! It’s only for decoration!!1!!1!”
Plenty of folks remember Jell-O salads.
But how many remember the short life of salad-flavored Jell-O?
No, there was no cheese in the Ambrosia. But there was pineapple and shredded coconut. You know, just to make the texture extra squicky.
@Shell: Homemade spaetzle. There is never ever enough homemade spatzle, because it is better the next day toasted in butter — although nearly never experienced as such.
@The Midnight Lurker: No one’s saying you can’t have a donut, just that you shouldn’t top it with cottage cheese and prunes.
Say, were all 1950’s recipes built on the Chopped principle? “In your basket, you’ll find three stale jelly donuts, dried prunes, cottage cheese, and — a squid.” (There’s always something with tentacles.)
@Major Major Major Major:
It made a whole generation think that New York City was populated solely by white upper-class twits. Even “Seinfeld” did a better job with diversity.
Plus Rachel ended up with Ross, which was the most boring and dumb choice possible.
??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??
Well, it was super white. I mean, a shown about friends in NYC? One of the most diverse cities in America, even in the 1990s, and all of the cast is white, upper class people? I mean, come on.
@Shell: I thought it was pies. And if you thought 1950s cookbooks held terrors, you’ve not seen what they put inside pastry crusts in the 1500s.
Might be trenchers, now that I look at it. The white ones are mysterious, did he run out of paint?
@scav: Amen. Just simple little egg dumplings but why are they so gooood!
Alton Brown, of all people, loses mucho points for providing a recipe for ambrosia salad.
@Ken: Either mushroom soup to bind everything together or pineapple to make it Hawaiian sem to be de rigueur. Maybe including vienna sausages or spam as a licit third alternative. Oh! And Jello, that’s another mandatory food group.
Green Jello Salad – Lime jello. Just before it sets, blend in Miracle Whip, cottage cheese and crushed pineapple
Amrbosia – Fruit Cocktail (with maraschino cherries), Cool Whip and maybe walnuts or pecans.
Orange Jello Salad – Orange Jello, Pineapple Jello. Just before it sets, blend in mandarin slices, Cool Whip and miniature marshmellows.
I’ve seen cottage cheese in lasagna as a substitute for Ricotta (shudder). I’ve always used at least 3 different, grated cheeses, but never parmessan.
Maybe youre right. The little kid in the foreground is holding one on edge without anything spilling.
@Major Major Major Major: Draft dodgin’ oatmeal eaters.
@Jay: Figures. They get all the Cheez, and we get all the Whiz.
My gosh yes! Lemon & lime jello with shredded carrots and cabbage. It is actually rather tasty but very out of style.
Because of my moms catering business we ate foods from many different nations but the ‘American’ meals often had a ‘jello salad’. It really was a hat tip tp the days when wealthy people has aspics.
Mom was from Los Angeles and we had fried baloney sandwiches. I think I was maybe 12 the last time I had one.
Mark Zaid is willfully ignoring the real problem: that the current Administration and its miscreant-in-chief are doing so much that needs to be spoken out against.
Did you read it as Kentucky Fried Crap?
I did. And I tested out the theory. I was right. Doesn’t happen often but there you go.
They know but are hemmed in by the budget guys. Any place that charges $50 for an aspirin is not going to spend 30 cents on decent food.
@John Revolta: Ah! Cheez Whiz on white and Wheat bread, crustless cut into triangles and topped with olives were REQUIRED for Mom’s Tupperware or card parties. :-)
Thanks for that.
I had fried bologna and fried spam as a kid. Hmmm, that might explain a lot, come to think of it.
@Amir Khalid: Well, yes. What I’m wondering is whether there’s something else going on. And I mused that perhaps Adam could enlighten us, since Adam told us Zaid seems to be the go-to attorney for folks when it comes to security clearance issues. Who knows what else Adam knows (and is able to tell) about Zaid.
Circa 1978, my dad was the stay-at-home parent who had a little too much time on his hands to read Adele Davis’s Diet for a Small Planet and the like. He was (and remains, which he cheerfully admits) a terrible but creative cook who was also extremely health-conscious. He decided to make a healthy dessert that didn’t involve carob one night, and worked up a blackberry shortcake using buckwheat flour instead of the all-purpose that was called for. He added blackberry juice to the dry ingredients, thinking that would make it extra palatable. What it made it was an atrocious, shapeless purple-brown flat blobby mass that we all — even he — pronounced inedible. We ate the blackberries neat. It’s been remembered as the Blackberry Cow Flop ever since
By Sixties standards, that wasn’t bad.
Speaking of cooking, I’m going to do a big cook-o-rama next weekend so I can have a bunch of meals to freeze so I can eat them while I’m laid up after my surgery on 8/31. I’m going to borrow a friend’s Instant Pot to use alongside my Crock Pot, so if anyone has a link to some good Instant Pot tips and tricks, please share.
We had dinner at a friend’s house back in the 70s & the lasagna was made with velveeta.
Oy. Mom used to complain when she could not get ricotta cheese and had to sub cottage cheese but she would never have used velveeta
Good eveing BJ.
Another weekend of work today…been winding down these hours after work before going to bed, catching up on my Aretha Franklin playlist (which I’ve been sharing on twitter, if you happend to follow me there), and I just happened upon my final clip of the night…
So God Bless America is my LEAST favorite of the “patriotic anthem” songs. I don’t really care to listen to any of them outside of the 4th or some patriotic event, but I’ll be damned, if this rendition, sung with the voice of GAWD…doens’t makes me even consider changing my mind hearing it.
She turned God Bless America into a church hymn!!!
At the end of it, even if you don’t, you’re like… well damned I love America…and God Bless her…lol
How was everyone’s weekend?
Everyone in the family liked liver and onions.
Except me of course.
My two real mom favs were the liver and onions and her brussels sprouts. They were horribly bitter, she over, over, over cooked them. I’ve eaten one, once since, grilled. Not bad, not my taste but eatable.
@Schlemazel: I have nothing against velveeta. It can be used to make *excellent* nacho cheese [with canned jalapenos and ground beef] when you’re a first-year grad student still learning to branch out beyond pasta.
But really …. in lasagna? Really?
Mom made fried spam rarely but I choked it down. Worse was hotdogs split down the center with cheese in the slit & wrapped in bacon.
@Jay Noble: Sounds festive!
@??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??:
Yes, they were all six of them white, but I don’t think anyone would think of Joey Tribbiani or Phoebe Bufay as upper class.
My mom loved to cook nasty vegetables like rapini (extremely bitter), brussel sprouts (ugh) and okra (slimy) and then it would be a battle for her to get my sister and I to eat them. Sad times.
Did she ever make you spam, spam, spam, spam and spam? Just asking.
Once a week my high school lunchroom would serve “macaroni and tomatoes”–and that’s exactly what it was. Macaroni cooked to a mush with canned tomatoes stirred up in it.
Since this is an open thread, I just came home from a fundraiser that featured Terry Mac as the main speaker. He sure sounded like a guy who is thinking pretty hard about running for President in 2020. Among other things, he’s been campaigning and fundraising for a lot of other Dems this year.
He’s a really dynamic speaker, if a tiny bit scattershot (and if you’ve never seen him, you’ve missed something), and certainly has a great record to run on, including a proud “F” from the NRA and endless bouquets from the reproductive rights people in Virginia. (When he ran for governor, he said he’d act as a brick wall to block any anti-choice legislation, and at the end of his term Virginia NARAL gave him a brick in honor of keeping that promise.) And there’s also individually signing something like 175,000 clemency orders to restore voting rights to felons who’d served their time, which based on how often he mentioned it seems to be the thing he’s most proud of doing. Of course, he’s got that Clinton scent that put people off him in 2013, but if you look at his record, the Dems could do a lot worse.
I still have fried spam and eggs occasionally.
But you have to remember I have no sense of smell and so an extremely limited sense of taste.
I was fortunate as both parents were excellent cooks (Dad learned in the Army in WWII), but from time to time we visited a sister of his mum (my great aunt?) who made tuna casserole – tinned tuna with potato chips and FSM knows what else – it would gag a maggot. The next horror was boarding school’s mystery meat. Gun metal blue – gray. No idea what it was and not keen to find out. At uni we had a friend who grew up in the mid-west and she would serve the jello based monstrosities of her childhood. Always had a sandwich before going there for dinner.
Canned peas. Taste like mud.
My French Canadian MIL served me “hot chicken” when I first came to her house. It’s an open faced chicken sandwich on white bread with brown gravy and peas on top. Plus fries on the side, obligatory. All good, except for those nasty peas. Several years later she served it on the occasion of my fortieth birthday, but swapped in frozen peas for the canned. Much better!
@JPL: the meat pie (tourtière) is all right by me. I have made it myself too. Lots of salt and pepper helps.
Penzy’s has great spices & they are not unreasonably priced. If you think you like cinnamon please try their VIetnamese stuff, it is a revelation & will change your life.
I find these surveys of the culinary horrors of mid-20th century America enlightening. I know that the socio-economic backdrop for those times was the post-WWII surge in prosperity. Could that have had something to do with the recipes from Hell?
That sounds rather tasty.
As we’re on to food of, um, questionable character, a short tale of what occurred when was in NY.
On my final night there, Mom and I went out to a more than a century old upscale steak house (no, not Peter Luger’s, but along the same caliber). On M-Th weeknights they offer a prix fixe meal which is really a bargain.
Anyhoo, as is her wont she ordered a side of the creamed spinach, took one taste, immediately passed the utensil over to me and said, “Tell me what’s wrong with this.”
By chance, just after I’d tasted it, either the manager or an owner stopped at the table to ask how everything was. I politely informed him that the chef had seemingly stirred a boxcar load of nutmeg into the creamed spinach. Way too much is an extreme understatement.
Unfazed, he immediately said in no uncertain terms that he’d inform the chef and offered a replacement side dish at no added charge, deftly removing the spinach bowl while listing them from memory.
Mom opted for sauteed mushrooms. The plate he brought out must have been a triple serving.
BTW, the tomahawk rib steak for two was both ginormous and superb. Mom took home 3 days worth of leftover steak.
Major Major Major Major
@??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??: OT, re: last night’s thread: I’m with NotMax— your story would be best as a novel-length original property.
@lgerard: My great aunt had a depression era recipe called ritz cracker pie which was reputed to resemble apple pie. I only tasted it once. It didn’t.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
Bet you still wouldn’t have liked the ship I served on for 2 yrs.
First 3 months or so was amazing. The head cook, a lifer of very, very close to 30 yrs, loved his job. Every meal, you never asked what anything was you just took some and enjoyed.
Within months we came within minutes of a mutiny over the food after we’d been out to sea for a number of weeks and the cooks simply couldn’t be bothered to give even a quarter of a shit. Lifers talking of breaking into the gun locker and taking over the ship. Interesting evening.
@randy khan: I remember when Terry Mac was the Clinton’s money man, and excoriated for it. His turn as VA gov was …. lovely. Showed us he wasn’t all about money, and actually was willing to get it done for progressives. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind if he were President.
But our next President needs to be a woman. Lots of reasons for it, but the most salient? She. Wuz. Robbed.
All that said, yeah, I have warm thoughts for Terry Mac.
@Chet: I wonder what I would think now, although I shy away from mysterious meat dishes The only time I tried it was at a church potluck
No but she did spam & beans a few times.
SO what foods did you hate when you were a kid? (I am guessing they are the sorts of things I craved). We always got to ask for whatever we wanted for our birthday diner & Nasi Goreng was one of my regulars. Nasi Lemek was a rare treat and Ayam percik also. But I bet thre was some sort of Jello salad equivalent you remember?
@Schlemazel: We used to have those. Made with by God Velveeta too.
It seems like kids would like such a thing, but…………………nuh-uh
@?BillinGlendaleCA:You would think so, right? But it just didn’t work. Put your damn teeth on edge, like licking the top of a 9V battery. Bleah.
Spam, eggs, sausage and spam hasn’t got much spam in it.
@Amir Khalid: It has been written that the upsurge in …. interestingly horrifying dishes was somewhat driven by corps. They were inventing all sorts of execrable manufactured foodstuffs, and they needed to convince Americans to consume them. Hence, Jello salads with mayo and shrimp. Etc.
It was all about selling the mystery meat from the Big Factory In The Sky.
@CarolDuhart2: commented that soul food saved her. I’m convinced that Mexican (and all the cross-border variants — New Mexico chili, YUM), Southern, and Cajun food are the true American cuisines. At some level all the rest were either imported from Europe with immigrants, or invented by corps.
Wendy McClure is the daughter of a guy who had a crush on me in high school ?
@Amir Khalid: A little more: one thru-line for all of these recipes is that they involved either a (at the time) new-fangled ingredient, or new-fangled cooking device.
Come to think of it, no. It all tasted great, okay at worst.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison!
It was cheap hot dogs, plastic cheese. It was a economy thing when money was tight
OTOH, mom made bread every Saturday, enough for the whole week. I was probably 9 or 10 before I ever had store bought bread. I didn’t appreciate it enough at the time but I miss her bread now.
I think it was Napoleon who said that an army marches on its stomach. I guess it’s the same for sailors, with less actual marching. ?
Thank the FSM I had Italian and Greek grandmas so the horrors of American ‘innovative’ foodstuffs missed me, but I have some friends from the heartland who loved to curdle my innards with tales of jello ‘salads’ of their childhoods. Best of these was “Red Hot Salad” which included Lemon Jello mixed with melted cinnamon candies, apple sauce (“for texture”), and chopped up celery and pecans. Served with a salad ‘dressing’ which was Miracle Whip.
@Ruckus: Fried baloney is also a Buffalo “delicacy.” I hate the stuff
I haven’t read the thread but my mother found this recipe sometime in the late 60s or early 70s for “Chicken Curry” that was unlike any curry I have since eaten, but was a family favorite. Unfortunately it was garnished with your choice of: sliced bananas, shredded cocoanut, peanuts, diced hard-boiled egg, and sliced green onions. I’ve spent years trying to figure out its origin. Any help much appreciated.
G went to high school with Wendy McClure, which he only realized when I was showing him the book. Oak Park is a smaller town than they want to admit!
Cracker pie to replace apple was a Civil War Southern thing. I tried it once simply out of curiosity. To say it did not taste like apple pie it only half true. Sherman was not as bad on the South as that stuff was
Lovely (?) selection of “insane vintage recipes” here.
And a different site at which to smirk, because who can resist a tomato-banana tart?
I have seen that recipe, though never had the thrill of tasting it/
I never understood the concept though….weren’t Ritz crackers more expensive then apples? No one was standing around on street corners selling Ritz crackers.
My entire family was thin Asian vegetarian and in the 70s in England that was considered an unhealthy lifestyle. I was the thinnest of the lot, so the doctor basically scolded my mom and told her to increase protein in our diets (lentils and beans were apparently not enough). So she started giving me warm milk every morning with a raw egg in it. The memory of that will stay with me forever! Disgusting warm slime. It makes me gag even thinking about it. I drank it for about a week after which I refused and ran out of the house to school without breakfast. Mom had to give up. I don’t blame my mom. It was common at that time to be told that vegetarians were unhealthy.
A friend makes this once a year in memory of his dad, who loved it — shredded raw cabbage set in lime jello, made in a special mold that had little bumps all over it you’d insert maraschino cherries in.
Unmolded it looked some weird jiggly translucent alien boob/udder
Another thing. Other than in the literary works of James Fenimore Cooper, I haven’t come across much mention of Native American food. There must have been something that got into the wider American culinary culture.
The big thing back then was convenience. Prosperity breeds laziness! ;)
SuzGrandma, of Franco/German stock, did most of the “cooking” when I was a child. Her food was reprehensible. When she died in 1995, we found spice jars from the early 60s, and they were mostly full. Everything was bland and burned and vile. She was a big Jello salad fan. Carrots in Jello. Fuck. I won’t eat Jello ever again, I think.
Major Major Major Major
@Shana: A bizarre take on Thai food?
Anyone else ever have Chocolate Eclair Cake? (Graham crackers, vanilla pudding, Cool Whip, and chocolate icing)
You lucky bastid! :) I can’t imagine those foods that are so special to me being an everyday thing. Maybe you would have a similar feeling about an ambrosia ‘salad’!
The frozen tundra in the 50s & 60s was not a place to find things like shrimp paste or other ‘exoctic’ necessities to make make anything much more exotic than perogies. Mom depended on a vast network of friends who were either recent immigrants of their children. But she pulled off many miracles to allow us to eat a world of flavors.
@Patricia Kayden: My mother believed that all vegetables needed to be BOILED until they basically fell apart. I had no idea how delicious they could be until I started cooking for myself. Aside from the occasional carrot or celery stick I think my childhood was largely vegetable free because YUCK.
He’s a big fan of food folkways. He had segments on Koolickles and lutefisk on one of his road trip shows.
Went to navy B school at Great Lakes. Every day they’d march us to the chow hall and make us take food, mainly because otherwise no one, not one human alive would eat there. Every thursday we’d have what I called filet of brontosaurus butt. It could not be cut with a razor sharp knife, I know, I brought mine in one day and tried. It was a brown lump of something, warmed in a big steam kettle and thrown immediately into a special trash can, that we knew was just to store them till the following week. It’s only redeeming quality was that it couldn’t be eaten even if you really, really wanted to.
@Schlemazel: I was lucky in that my dad was in school and doing Southeast Asian studies when I was a young child. My dad’s Thai, Malay, and Indonesian friends would come to our apartment and cook things.
Particularly in Texas and New Mexico, what gets called “Mexican” food is usually also what the local Native American tribes ate (and the indigenous people of Mexico are of course Native (North) Americans as well).
Pretty much anything made with corn and peppers probably originated with Native Americans, particularly in the Southwest. And I’ll bet that people from New England have traditional dishes that originated from them.
@Argiope: Diet for a Small Planet was Frances Moore Lappe’; Adele Davis was Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit. (Granted, any household with one of those undoubtedly had the other.)
@Amir Khalid: Well, Tucker Carlson tells us that it’s all American food now, man, henghhhh!
Seriously, the entire cuisine of the Southwest can probably be traced back to Amerindians. [Probably?] Everything that’s great about Texas food (other than BBQ) is directly traceable to Native Americans (both before Independence, Tejanos) and after (undocumented immigrants).
I remember driving with my mom up a road from her house to downtown Fort Worth, and seeing a short mobile home with a sign “tongue tacos” back in 1994. I made her stop on the way home so I could have one. Damn!
“We’re from Oak Park,
Couldn’t be prouder!
And if you can’t hear us
We’ll yell a little louder:
We’re from Oak Park,” etc.
My college cafeteria in the late 1970s did weird things with hot dog buns. “Tuna Boats” were hot dog buns with a layer of tuna salad topped by melted slices of American Cheese. For “Cheese Dreams,” they laid the cheese on first, then topped it with strips of bacon. We rechristened the latter “Nightmares.”
@Shana: That’s part of a Dutch rijsstaffel. Colonial curry via Indonesia/Dutch East Indies. Dutch mother of a friend used to make it, usually with chicken. It’s still popular in Holland.
ETA: If memory serves, the little side dishes of banana, etc. were called sambals.(sp?)
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Ruckus: Holy crow. That sounds… exciting?
I even liked the hospital food.
This is the weekend for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Wacipi (pow-wow) and we went again & had a great time again. There are a few things that are disappointing & one is the food choices. The vendors are all native american but the thing most sold is an “Indian taco” which is just a taco served on fry bread. They sell well & there is nothing wrong with them but I wish they would try something more authentic to their ancestry.
I’ll post a link to videos & photos probably Tuesday. If anyone has not been to a pow-wow they are really missing something special. This one is one of the largest ( the SMSC casino is # 2 in the nation so money is not a problem) and there are at least a thousand dancers in multiple disciplines. When the all come in during the grand entry march is it a dizzying array color and sound that is unlike anything I have ever seen.
Lots of uses of corn meal or pounded corn. Suppawn (a milk and corn porridge), for example, was commonly served. And squash and pumpkin, of course. However, in colonial Louisiana corn was shunned and detested.
Wonderful YouTube time sink documenting 18th century cookery.
@Amir Khalid: Also, Amerindian food in the Southwest (probably everywhere) was very, very localized. “Chili” in Texas is completely different from the dish of the same name in New Mexico. And so, in SF “Mexican food” is tacos & burritos. All of the other diversity of dishes from tex-mex food is pretty much unavailable (though there are a few places). Nothing like the ubiquity and quality of even a white town like Fort Worth.
??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??
@Major Major Major Major:
I think you’re right. But making it an original property would kind of make several elements redundant. The 80s setting wouldn’t really make sense because the basic story could be set in the present day. There really was no divergence from our universe since it was never really our universe to begin with. And it’s not like the events of the story wouldn’t eventually reach global awareness in the climax. So it wouldn’t make sense to have it take place in the past.
This also unravels several other things like the aunt character’s struggle to be taken seriously as a journalist. Misogyny still exists today, but not to the extent I would want to portray. I suppose having a “reset button” could work. And to assuage Mnem’s concerns about any magic involvement “fixing” white supremacy I don’t intend for that to ever happen. I firmly believe human society has to have self-determination in it’s own affairs and can’t be coerced into becoming better. Change has to happen organically. Humanity has to choose to be better. Individually and collectively.
My protags only really would act to preserve the status quo because of the above reasons. My story is fundamentally about the importance of agency to the human condition and that no one should wield uncheckable power so far above everyone else; that no one should get to decide whether entire groups of people/beings should get to exist. In short, enforced harmony in exchange for autocracy is not worth it. It doesn’t hurt that the villain’s true beliefs are repugnant.
When I was a kid, we often had a dinner side dish called breaded tomatoes. It was basically canned tomatoes with little bits of cut up white bread in it. I never understood the logic of that, but once a couple years ago, was eating at a local diner and they had breaded tomatoes.
That is my idea of heaven!
@Mnemosyne: grilled salmon from the Pacific NW. Also, fry bread. Basically anything with ingredients from North America, cooked without much in the way of spice.
@pat: tallow? I once knew someone who cooked steaks in half an inch of tallow–ugh.
@Schlemazel: The Lac du Flambeau pow-wow that I go to regularly has venison chop fry bread sandwiches. Yummy.
[email protected]Schlemazel: My brother called hot dogs with bacon and cheese “Francheesies” and asked for them on his birthday all his life.
Ambrosia to us was always a dessert (never a “salad”) consisting of pineapple chunks, sliced bananas, mandarin oranges, shredded sweetened coconut and a few maraschino cherries. Not my favorite dessert but not bad either.
One could march on an aircraft carrier. One could think about marching on the boat or flight decks of the LPH that I was discharged from. But on a destroyer, marching? Not gunna happen. We would get to run to our stations if general quarters was sounded, which happened more often than necessary and not always a drill. But that was running basically sideways down the one “hallway” on board, dodging overhead plumbing and wiring, stepping over the door sills which were about 12 inches off the floor, and each other. Because no matter where you were you needed to be at least half the ship away and everyone in the pointy half had to run towards the flat end and everyone near the flat end had to run towards the pointy end.
@Schlemazel: I would not trade my childhood for anything.
Gin & Tonic
Luckily my mother, a child of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire, did a variety of Mitteleuropa dishes fairly well, so we didn’t get stuck with a lot of that execrable “women’s magazine” stuff that’s the subject here. She had many allergies, though, so some things were limited, and for various reasons didn’t do shellfish and had a particular aversion to garlic. One time when she was away for a few days my dad (who did not have any restrictions I can recall) and I went to a local seafood establishment for shrimp scampi. A couple of days later my mother returned, and one of the first things she said was “who was eating garlic?”
As it happens, I do not share her aversions.
That sounds to me like a Malaysian thing. When mom made Nasi Goreng or Lemak it always had sides that were some set of peanuts, boiled egg, shrimp chips, cucumbers and a couple other things.
Now that is more like it!
We have some very good friends in MI who are Oneida and Seneca, he runs a fry bread food truck & is at pow-wows most weekends and does OK but I can’t help but feel A) fry bread is part of the obesity crisis and B) Native food had to be so much more than just that.
Major Major Major Major
@??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??: 110% certain you could still plausibly have a female character struggling to get ahead in a traditionally-male industry.
If you don’t have to set it in a time period you didn’t live through, then don’t. It will be easier to write.
I could see it as a desert but when it was introduced it was advertised as a salad. It is not bad, like you say it is good but not great
Seasonal thing, apples were cheap in fall, expensive in winter, inedible by spring,
and it’s called Mock Apple Pie
Some people say they still mourn for the days when McDonald’s cooked their fries in tallow.
Creamed chipped beef on toast is not just a lyric from a John Hiatt song.
Italians would puree that and call it Pappa al Pomodoro
@burnspbesq: Call it by its real name: shit on a shingle.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
One of the lifers took his tray (stainless steel trays that looked like bigger TV dinner trays) up to the wardroom and dropped it in front of the captain. I have this from 2 different sources, one an officer at dinner and one a Philippine friend, a steward, “This is my fucking dinner, this is all I fucking get, what the fuck are you going to do about it?” Captain sent the XO down to see what was going on. We could hear shouting coming from the galley, the XO stormed off and the Captain came on the intercom and said, “Tonight you can go back as often as you want, till you are full, the galley will stay open until no one is hungry. That’s the best we can do tonight, tomorrow we will fix this.” No one was actually satisfied but at least we weren’t hungry. And no one got shot.
Like I said, an interesting evening.
James E Powell
Anything with a tortilla, tacos, most things made with masa, cornbread, several other things made with corn, barbecue & jerk cooking.
Maize, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, chili peppers, vanilla, cocoa beans and squash were domesticated by Meso Americans.
@L85NJGT: Fuck squash.
YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S)
Hey, that donut fruit salad is just a Trifle by another name.
Popeye’s red beans and rice is the single best thing served at any fast food chain in this country.
@Amir Khalid: To add to the lists others have started, chocolate and vanilla.
@burnspbesq: It is known.
That might not be good but at least it would be more interesting.
I know from living on the res for a year that the Sioux & Chippewa had a lot of fish and game (not surprising) and wild rice but I don’t know how it was prepared or what else they may have had. Guessing they eat seasonally & had berries & fruits when available too.
But I wonder if a lot of that is lost now. I attended my first pow-wow 60 years ago and the whole thing is different now. the regalia was much simpler and the dancing much more structured. I assumed (based on proximity to the ancestors) that the old styles I remember are more historically accurate but who knows? So much has been lost both because of ‘Americanization’ and because of exclusion from their original life style.
@frosty fred: Good to know! I will expand my grudge to include both authors. OTOH, maybe those recipes aren’t half bad if well-executed. I guess I’ll never find out.
Served sos only once in the service. It was almost as good as mom’s. Fortunately she served it about as often.
@Schlemazel: The one I go to is for the members of the Nation not for the white public. We are welcome, but it is not for us. So you get the Such-and-Such Band veterans dancers. Very traditional and not aimed at entertaining white people.
YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S)
@Gelfling 545: I’ve seen the recipe for Ritz cracker mock apple, but never had one. I have had vinegar pie from the same era. Not bad.
??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??
@Major Major Major Major:
That’s probably good advice. I’m just afraid that would require more nuance than I’m capable of as a writer. You’ve seen the crap I’ve put up here.
BTW, what are your thoughts on the themes of my story? Too bland?
The native populations of the upper woodlands & plains were hunter-gatherers not farmers. They really did not ‘add’ much to the food bill of the Americas like those of the Southwest.
This list being compiled here is pretty good though. So many foods the world relies on today came from the agricultural work of American natives from the Southwest through South America. Corn, Tomatoes, Potatoes, squash, chilis. There is hardly a place on earth today that is not eating food discovered in the New World.
Some Popeye’s locations are enlightened enough to include fried chicken livers on the bill of fare.
The fried okra at Church’s fast food emporia is alone worth the trip. The baked mac ‘n’ cheese and also the corn nuggets ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at either.
@Omnes Omnibus: @burnspbesq: Shit on a shingle was required breakfast fare when my dad was on land. Of course we ate it when he was out on the boat too but not quite as often. In fact I still find myself craving it every now and again although I get too lazy to make it for myself.’
And yes we were allowed to call it that. My parents had a very liberal policy when it came to us swearing.
Major Major Major Major
@??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??: well you’re only going to get better by trying.
The themes are fine but don’t make the mistake of prioritizing them over the actual story. A lot of theme and symbolism you read is inserted or enhanced after initial drafts.
Pemmican, succotash, indian candy, soupowelli, grease, planked salmon,
A lot of the First Nations foods were built around storage, portability, high fat content and communal eating.
Lobster boils, crawfish boils, and clam bakes, minus the Bay Seasoning, are all “First Nations” techniques.
@Ruckus: I had a brigade commander who said that he could tel the quality of a unit by asking the enlisted men two questions. First, when was the last time you had a hot meal? Second, when was the last time the battery/company/troop had a mail call?
If there were only someone on this here blog who knew about Malaysian food, if only… //
@Yutsano: SuzMom loves SOS. She made me eat it once when I was a teenager and I spent the night with diarrhea and it didn’t look any different.
We don’t put slices of banana in chicken curry here. The other stuff, maybe. Nasi goreng is found everywhere rice is eaten; it originated as a way to use up yesterday’s leftovers, so the concept has no particular birthplace.
@Argiope: Actually, Frances Moore Lappe is the author of _Diet for a Small Planet_
Heard her speak, back in ’80. She is a lady of beauty, wisdom, and brains, and were she not married, ‘twould have proposed to her, then and there…
Major Major Major Major
The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has a pretty interesting cafeteria.
The one here is first and foremost for them not us. But they pay cash prizes so it is fairly commercial that way. There are many vendors on site, about half are selling materials for making regalia, the other half are tourist trade. I would guess the crowd to be about 70-30 native-tourist. I don’t assume they are not aware we are there but they make no allowances for us. They perform their ceremonies & operate on their schedule (our native friends call it “Indian time”) which means a 1PM event can happen any time after 1:20 or so. I don’t doubt it would be a different event if ‘white’ folks were not there though.
@Major Major Major Major
Whereas the cafeteria at the Holocaust Museum…
The Iroquois, Micmac, Malecete and Huron all farmed. They would clear a patch of woods in spring, plant the Trinity, erect a deer fence, and move on, returning to harvest in the late summer.
Plains and Westcoast Indian’s also “farmed”, by creating conditions for the better propagation of wild foods, canna root, berries,….
Some of the stands selling things would be different for one thing.
Nope, never had bananas with curry either.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Chetan Murthy: Some parts of the country, cottage cheese was a necessary substitution. I can recall the first time I found ricotta cheese in a grocery. And I still can’t find Italian sausage at just any grocery store.
No food related horror stories to recount from childhood. My mom is a great cook.
Two hundred plus comments and not a single mention of grits? That’s surprising.
Being born in Upstate and raised in Jersey, I had never seen a grit before freshman orientation at Washington & Lee. I asked the guy behind me in line “what is that weird white shit,” and amid howls of laughter from the spawn of traitors he proceeded to provide full details about how they are made. 45 years later, I still have never eaten a single spoonful, and I’m not about to start now.
@burnspbesq: I first encountered them in the army. The less said the better.
@schrodingers_cat: India did invent food. //
Sweet Home Chicago
The recipes in the original post were clearly produced by a random recipe generator, using IBM computing power of the 1950s, programmed to include donuts and then randomly assign other ingredients and steps.
American Indian food – Bison? The sad reason we’ve so few recipes from Native Americans is we nearly wiped out the food. On purpose.
I loved chocolate eclairs cake. It was a frozen dessert for me growing up. We would have it at summer cookout every year. We also would make turtle cake. That was devil’s food with carmel and pecans in the center.
@Jay Noble: No. As many people have noted.
Boot camp was better duty than that ship, other than liberty in some amazing places. And I was in the hospital for a week during boot camp. A dinner on Majorca, about 400 sq ft of chickens roasting on spits and two pigs. Dancing with a lovely Spanish girl after dinner, she spoke almost no english, I spoke a little spanglish from living in LA and Latin. Good times. Getting a walking tour of Antwerp and Rubens house by an old gentleman, very nicely dressed/with a cane who took 3 or 4 of us around the city, he walked up to the ship on a sunday morning and offered…..
What we tried very hard to do, was wipe out their culture and history.
Huge amounts of their food and cooking, we appropriated and now think of as “our food”. That’s how our colonies survived.
@??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??: If you want someone who was around and a grown-up in the 80’s to read your manuscript, I volunteer.
There’s probably some way one of the front pagers can pass you my Email.
??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??
@Major Major Major Major:
J R in WV
We used to call the bow the pointy end, just to piss off the lifers. And downstairs to go below. Ceiling for the overhead, bathroom for the head… Walls for bulkheads… it was endless. I didn’t know people on other ships did the pointy end thing. Most of us youngsters on my big sub-tender were avoiding being drafted into the USMC or Army, so no respect for the lifers.
Once after we were at sea for a while, I was standing bridge watch when a Master at Arms came in and told the OOD that guys were smoking that marijuana back on the fantail. The next day, before we put back into home port, they did a huge “inspection” muster and searched everyone’s lockers. No reefer was found, but a number of lifers with bottles of liquor were busted. Really funny.
Moved down south and was exposed to what they called congealed salad, which was anything shoved inside jello of course. My mother-in-law excelled in making congealed salads. Her piece de resistance though was pear surprise. Canned pear halves filled with mayo and topped with shredded fake cheese and a maraschino cherry.
Ambrosia in my Alabama childhood was Thanksgiving and Christmas speciality; fresh orange sections and dried shredded sweetened coconut, nothing else. Served in my grandmother’s cut glass serving bowl, we thought it a fancy treat.
@Omnes Omnibus: Umm . . . Yes, Bison was most definitly a staple of the plains diet. Not the only thing in their diet but a significant part. That’s why bison were driven nearly to extinction. By the Whites.
@Ruckus: OTOH, I had an encounter at O-fest in Munich. I was still an 0-2. But some obvious American servicemen were being particularly assholish. I, as an idealist young man, went over to them to say “calm it a bit if you would. I can see that you are Navy, but we need to live here.” He got pissy and suggested that I better be at least an O-3 if we were going to have that conversation. I told him that that we “could make it official” if he wanted. He and his mates went elsewhere.
Grits are great with sufficient amounts of butter and salt. Also cheese. I had some excellent cheese grits on Friday.
@Jay Noble: For Plains Indians, that may be true. What percentage of indigenous peoples were on the Plains?
@J R in WV:
We came back from the North Atlantic one time and we were boarded by marines with dogs to do a search for drugs about 3 hrs out. They didn’t find any except for an old block of hash that had been hidden for what they said was years. My liquor story is we had a lifer who started getting to be extremely obnoxious and some of the other lifers said he had sobered up. We’d been out to sea for almost 6 weeks at the time. The food almost mutiny happened the week before. Nicest guy, as long as his supply didn’t run out.
ETA It was real common to fuck with the lifers with the wrong terms. They hated it, which of course is why it was done.
Leberkäse for me. It’s like designer bologna and, despite its name, contains neither liver* nor cheese.
* True for real (Bavarian) Leberkäse.
My fun times like that were in the Shore Patrol. If you wanted to be a prick it would have been pretty easy. You also may have gotten your ass beat upon by some squid with a buzz and an attitude. I always found an offer of captains mast was sobering for the real malcontents. Don’t know what happens in the army but in the navy you get written up and go before your commanding officer. As I was in the Shore Patrol you also got to spent the night in a jail cell. And most knew that their captain didn’t really care if they got drunk but having to hold captains mast and have a demerit upon the honor of that ship? Yeah captains didn’t like that at all. Never had a taker.
My childhood (1950s-60s) was blessed by the fact that my mother was a great cook. She grew up on a Tennessee farm and added to her repertoire as we moved around in the Air Force. I didn’t appreciate this until I was grown up. When you’re a kid you just think the way your family is is “normal” for everyone.
Dad was a pretty good cook too. Master of the grill, of course, and he had some great Cajun and Creole recipes from when he did his residency in New Orleans, as well as a good potato soup that for some reason I hated for a stretch as a kid.
The only really bad food I remember is that sometimes when my parents were going out for the evening we would get fish sticks or a TV dinner. But that didn’t happen often.
On the other hand, when we were on car trips we would often stop for lunch at a rest area and have cheese and crackers, apple slices and Vienna sausages (pronounced “Vy-eena,” of course). Don’t think I would have one of those today.
@Ruckus: We had to do courtesy patrol when we we were duty battalion. We put E-5s clubs that were iffy, and me and my E-7 sat somewhere and waited for something to go to shit. When it did, I stepped into the middle. No one wanted to go to jail for hitting me. Then we would say that MPs would be there soon. It worked.
@Steeplejack: My father pronounced via as vye-ay, but he did say “Vienna” sausage. My mother was a wildly variable cook; the problem as someone mentioned already was the “ladies’ magazine” mindset. When she went wrong, pretty much, it would be in rejecting the country cooking of her cultural background. Her congealed salads tended to be pretty good, though.
At every family gathering someone made a 7-layer salad that consisted of iceburg lettuce, frozen peas, onions and sliced green peppers combined in a thin layer… each layer was separated from the next by a half-inch thick layer of Miracle Whip. The concoction was at least 75% Miracle Whip by weight. Truly disgusting.
At every family gathering someone made a 7-layer “salad” that consisted of iceburg lettuce, frozen peas, onions and sliced green peppers combined in a thin layer… each layer was separated from the next by a half-inch thick layer of Miracle Whip. The concoction was at least 75% Miracle Whip by weight. Truly disgusting.
@Omnes Omnibus: The one I go to is for the members of the Nation not for the white public. We are welcome, but it is not for us. So you get the Such-and-Such Band veterans dancers. Very traditional and not aimed at entertaining white people.
True, some pow wows include dances that aren’t traditional for a pow wow. And there are events including pow wows that are intended to invite outsiders, share food and community, teach culture and religion to outsiders and young people. There are dance styles in which lots of members participate instead of only ritually and spiritually trained dancers.
It’s not true to say that any of the dancing is aimed at entertaining white people, though. That’s not the purpose of either type you describe. Even if there’s an admission fee. The dancers aren’t doing that.
@Gelfling 545: James Lileks curates a web page for that, the Gallery of Regrettable Food, which I believe is where the book originates.
My grandmother and mom were great at cooking on open fires. I mean everything, even bread and pudding, fruit with crusts, chicken and dumplings, fish of course, things with cornmeal and molasses. Pancakes and meat. Every breakfast and dinner.
My mother would experiment with some of the ladies’ magazine recipes, but her “scratch cook” experience and good taste kept her from going astray.
I’m going to see her next month, and one of my projects is to check out the status of her cookbooks and recipes and to pick her brain about some childhood favorites.
One thing this thread has reminded me of is that back in the ’60s, contra the women’s magazines, Sunset magazine and, oddly enough, Arizona Highways had some good recipes in them. I think Mom still has a couple of Sunset collections.
Sounds about the same. But that armband gave a person a lot of power if they wanted to abuse it.
I have to say that the navy did, not a terrible job, I’ve heard of worse and of course a lot of the cities we docked at with the DDG didn’t have any military and we got to wear civilian clothes so we didn’t stand out other than the language. I think the decision to allow civilian clothing on liberty was brilliant. Even most of the signs, No Dogs or Sailors on the lawn were gone by the time I got out.
@Steeplejack: It was my mother-in-law who introduced me to Sunset. I still use some recipes from them, including what’s become our family’s classic Thanksgiving dressing.
Domestic short hair tabby (fka vheidi)
@ruemara: that is a great cookBook x
I almost dread to ask: what did it contain?
I could envision a postmodern ambrosia salad, but marshmallows are right out. I have a pretty strong sweet tooth, but I have developed a loathing for them.
Wikipedia (with picture):
Then you slice it thinly like other sandwich meats.
a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio)
In my father’s family, ambrosia is a dessert, and consists solely of supremed fresh orange sections (to make sure the juice is liberated) and coconut, preferably from a coconut that has just given its all* for the coconut cake that was a regular holiday season feature. No other additions are acceptable.
*or almost all, if you count the double handful that goes into the ambrosia.
“Squashed tomatoes and stew.” I had some memorably bad food when I started elementary school at the Montpelier School in Ealing circa 1957-58. Plus there was a dour matron who was determined to cure me of my left-handed-ness. Good times.
I think it was more that big corporations were taking over the food industry and applying their usual “push more product” strategies. “Smithers! We need a goddamn [Spam/Jell-O/onion soup mix/whatever] cookbook. Make it happen! And get some articles placed in the women’s magazines.”
@Amir Khalid: it was that the adults of the time were Depression-era survivors with PTSD from not having enough food as young children/teenagers/young adults and were willing to eat absolutely anything as a result (e.g. my grandpa who willingly ate US Army rations)
@NotMax: if you had finished it, you could have had some great hallucinations from the excessive nutmeg
@MattF: “A few years ago I had a hospital stay of a few days, and I was just gobsmacked at how bad the food was. I was served food-objects that I hadn’t seen or, by the mercy of FSM, eaten in fifty years– meat loaf with an unphysical density covered with an unidentified sauce , ‘fruit salad’ in the form of small cubes of unidentified substances. The works.”
All the “cooks” who are no longer employed by school districts for mystery meat lunches have gone to work for hospitals.
A couple of jumping-off points:
Good Instant Pot intro article with many useful links: “I Tried the Instant Pot. Here’s What I Think of It, 8 Months Later.”
Miscellaneous: “The Most Popular Instant Pot Recipes from 2017.”
I’m very late to this, but I wanted to add what was one of the absolutely worst jello monstrosities my mother made, and I was forced to eat. Fortunately she made it only once, and it became part of the family horrible dish lore. It was something called green mist jello salad. It was made with lime jello, shredded cabbage, cream cheese and Miracle Whip. The recipe was not a keeper.
Along with the pot, borrow and read the manual. If your friend can’t put her/his fingers on it, there’s most likely a .pdf version online.
@burnspbesq, @Omnes Omnibus:
Damn it, now I’m going to have to hit the “$5 boneless wing bash” this week so I can get beans and rice as my side.
Their biscuits, though salty, are damn good too.
My mother dearly loved to cook, but was not very good at it. Nonetheless, she would cheerfully try any recipe that came her way.
One of her most notorious concoctions went by the name “Italian Delight”. It was neither Italian nor delightful, and consisted of canned corn, mushy macaroni, canned stewed tomatoes, hamburger, and whatever cheese she happened to have on hand, baked in a casserole dish at blast furnace temperatures.
My father invited a new friend and the friend’s wife over for drinks and snacks one Friday night. Mom decided that she really wanted to make an “Italian dinner” for the couple, since they had just moved to the area and were still unpacking and settling in to their new house; she was concerned that they hadn’t had a real meal since arriving, in the midst of the chaos of the moving, unpacking, etc.
When Dad and the guests arrived, awaiting them was Italian Delight, a quivering green Jello and fruit cocktail mold, and scorched garlic bread made from Wonderbread and garlic salt.
The worst part was that, unbeknownst to Mom, the couple were both first generation immigrants from Sicily, and came from a long line of cooks and chefs.
Mom had a brief moment of utter panic, then pulled herself together and carried that casserole dish in like it was cordon bleu cuisine.
@chris: Thank you! I’m sure she found it in a magazine – Women’s Day or Good Housekeeping for some such.
@Steeplejack: You’ve just reminded me of the two cans of “Vienna sausages” and “Swedish meatballs” we had on the shelves of the pantry. Bought from the local Co-op when it went defunct
When the family house was sold 8 years later, the same two cans were still on the shelf. I guess my parents considered them “emergency food.”
That also sounds like the “Hawaiian Curry” my mother used to make. We had it on special occasions. And yes, it included bananas.