Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Friday, October 08, 2010

PSA: Friends Don't Let Friends Stuff Pickles

This morning I was surprised by Tanta running up to catch us on our way to the bus stop. Tanta took the day off--hooray!

On our way home, as we reached the foot of her driveway, she invited me up to the big house for a glass of fresh, unpasteurized apple cider and to see if I wanted any of her old cookbooks before she donates them to the Church fair. I do love me an old cookbook and some snappy cider, so up I went.

Oh, the gems one finds in old cookbooks. Aunt Elaine had a bazillion of them at one time and Sister and I gleaned out the best, most repulsive ones we could find to give to Raz on Christmas every year. Raz now has a collection of "Foods To Induce Nightmares" that is well on its way to becoming its own museum.

I thought I'd share a few gems with you from the well-worn pages of such culinary classics as "Campbell's Cooking With Soup" (circa 1968) and "The Heinz Recipe Book" (circa 1939). There's one wee pamphlet called "The Knox Menu Diet" that deserves its own post, and it must be eased into lest you get the bends. Trust me.

So to begin, as a bit of an amuse-bouche, if you will, we will examine some hors d'oeuvres from the pages of the Heinz Recipe Cookbook from 1936. Bear in mind that these people just survived the Great Depression, so anything that didn't taste like last winter's wool coats was probably welcome in the kitchen.

I believe you can embiggen the photo if you set your brower to Wambo. Or by just clicking on the image. If you still can't read it, though, let me spell it out for you.

Step one: hollow out a dill pickle. (You have to know that when a recipe starts with you coring a pickle, it's really all downhill from there.)

Step two: stuff the cavity with your choice of cream cheese, pimento cheese, or deviled ham. (But for the love of all things holy, DO NOT combine them. *shudders*)

Step three: After chilling for 3 or 4 hours, slice thinly and arrange on a plate in threes like wee shamrocks. Don't forget the thin strips of pickle for the stems and the watercress for garnish. Festive!

Oh, and this is what the note says: "This salad (and clearly they use the term 'salad' loosely here) may be used as a main dish salad for St. Patrick's Day, serving sandwiches or hot bread with it." What aspect of St. Patrick's day does stuffed pickles and hot bread celebrate exactly? St. Pat's time in an Irish prison? Good Lord.

Moving on, we have a whole page of hors d'oeuvres from the good folks in the Heinz test kitchens. Next to classic standbys like Deviled Eggs, Stuffed Celery, and Cheese Cubes (and I pity the fool that needs a cookbook to make them, by the way) is this gem: "Frankfurter and Pickle Appetizer."

Appetizer. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Step one: slice a small frankfurter and a Heinz Genuine Dill Pickle (accept no substitutes) into thin rounds.

Step two: using two slices of each, stack alternately then spear with toothpick.

YUM! Oh God, I'm sitting here drooling even as we speak. How can you not find yourself just salivating at the thought of raw hot dog canoodling with dill pickle on a plate? You can't. You just can't.

Leaving the Heinz recipe testers teetering on the precipice of a world war, we fast forward to 1968. America was embroiled in Vietnam, hemlines were on the rise, and the innocence of the early 60's was about to give way to the free-wheeling 70's. Naturally, the first recipe that caught my eye was "Penthouse Chicken" and I have to confess that I've just edited out a whole bunch of copy that was just completely inappropriate and wrong. I'll leave you with the words "fur bikini" and we'll just let it go at that, shall we?

Now, the good folks at Campbell's Condensed Soups assume that any asshole can open a can of soup. And the rest of us, as Sister will attest, know that if you open the cupboard and/or the fridge and throw whatever shit you can find in there into a casserole dish, chuck that can of soup on it, cover it with potato chips or Ritz cracker crumbs and toss it in the oven, you've got a meal. And back in the 60's, if you had a package of hot dogs (or frankfurters, if you will) and a jar of pimentos in the house, you had a feast fit for guests.

But there's a section called "Teen Soups and Snacks" geared just for the youthful set, so in a spirit of wholesomeness, I have selected two award winners.

Remember, you're serving this to your teens. As a treat.

First, we have a "Summertime Special". The recipe claims it's "great after a swim". We shall see, Campbell's. We shall see.

Step one: take a can of frozen condensed green pea with ham soup and a can of frozen condensed cream of potato soup, combine them with 2 cans of water or milk and a pinch and a dash of thyme and nutmeg. (Y'know, for flavor. I'm surprised they didn't tell you to add salt.)

Step two: heat all this shit together in a pan until the soups are thawed, stirring often.


Yes, you heard me. Chill that green mess and serve it in a chilled bowl with crisp carrot and cucumber sticks.

I'm not sure what your teens were smoking back in 1968 that they'd consider this a nice treat after a swim on a hot day. But then I suppose if your appetite was whetted up with pickle-and-weiner-kabobs, God knows what you'd eat.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Actually, I can only begin to imagine what you're thinking. I've had time to let these culinary masterpieces ruminate around in my brain. You're getting them cold. If you have to go lie down with a couple of Tums for a bit, I understand.

What you're probably thinking is, "While cold creamy pea and potato soup sounds scrumptious, isn't there something lighter for my teens to sip while lounging by the pool?"

Of course there is, silly head.

Try the "Sunbather's Special".

Step one: combine a can of condensed beef broth, a half a can of apple juice, and a dash of ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

Step two: pour it over ice cubes. Enjoy!

How's that for a random "snack"? You can wash down your stuffed dill pickles with it.

In my next installment, we will discuss all the ways you can serve Heinz Cooked Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce. I'll give you a hint: one way involves frying bologna in butter until it "cups."

You're totally welcome.


Blogger Kaye said...

Do you ever think people will look back at our cookbooks and laugh? Holy crap, is what we eat now this disgusting??? Or will ever be as disgusting as apple juice and beef broth? I swear to god that's what they served me in the hospital after my c-sections and I nearly dry heaved my newly sewn uterus up.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous SiressYorkie said...

This was one of your best blog entries EVER. I'm still wiping away tears of laughter...!

3:51 PM  

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