adventure, books, canada, family, joy of cooking, summer, supposedly delicious, vacation

Supposedly delicious (II)

As I mentioned earlier, I love perusing the old cookbooks at the cottage to see what earlier generations enjoyed eating. People of my great-grandparents’ generation apparently cooked with quite a lot of lard in the 1930s, while those of my grandparents’ generation liked to cook entire meals in casserole dishes. (The 1950s and 1960s were apparently full of food fads like that.) These cookbooks are also entertaining for the quaint illustrations, like this one of a woman rolling out pastry dough in the 1960s Joy of Cooking:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t roll out dough using just my index fingers.
A number of the 1940s cookbooks claim American home cooking as the one thing that will win the war. The introduction to Cook It In A Casserole, 1943, argues that by forcing a wartime economy on America, Hitler is encouraging Americans to return to the good old casserole: “the oldest and the most satisfactory mode of cooking.”
And of course, there are also a few recipes that give me pause. Where I think to myself, Did readers actually eat that? And what does it taste like? (This is the moment where I contemplate making it myself. That moment is usually short.)
Of course, I know that many people still happily consume organ meat today, so I’m not trying to be critical. But as a young Western cook of the 21st century, I’m often surprised by how quickly food fads have changed.

So what do you think? Would you try any of the recipes below?

  • Baked Brains and Eggs(from The Joy of Cooking, 1967). The way the recipe title rolls off the tongue reminds me of the Monty Python Spam skit.
  • Heart Pie (from Cook It In A Casserole, 1943). Sounds quaint, right? Heart pie for Valentine’s Day? Oh wait.
  • Frizzled Beef a la King (from Cook It In A Casserole, 1943). It’s basically dried beef cooked with veggies, milk, and sherry. But why is it “frizzled”?
  • Scrambled Brains(from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1930). Scrambled eggs for breakfast plus a special ingredient.
  • Frozen Cheese Salad(from Meals Tested Tasted and Approved, 1930). Cream cheese + mix-ins, which actually sounds promising. But the title doesn’t.
  • Whale (from The Joy of Cooking, 1967). The editors begin with: “Last—but vast” and go on to describe how you have to cook it like beef, “which it resembles more than it does fish.” I can’t picture a Midwestern, suburban white family of the 1960s sitting down to a meal of whale. I do want to try whale, but unless I visit a northern Native American reservation, that probably won’t happen anytime soon.

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