Category Archives: Recipes and Food

Wednesdays are for Vintage Aspics, Self Contemplation and Tim Gunn – Recipe Wednesday

Several folks have asked me to post more retro recipes, especially everyone’s favorite, gelatin molds! Obviously I’m more than happy to oblige! But I find myself wondering, after all these years am I becoming immune to the horrors of the vintage aspic? So, as anytime I have a problem, I look to Project Runway’s Tim Gunn for answers.

Gunn once told a contestant that his design was like living in the monkey house at the zoo. He explained that when you first walk into the monkey house you are overcome with the scent, then after a while in the monkey house, it doesn’t seem so bad. Finally if you were to actually live in the monkey house you wouldn’t think it smells at all.

Sometimes I come across a vintage recipe and think it doesn’t look all that bad…in fact maybe I will try that recipe.  Am I living in the monkey house?

tim gunn concerns

In order to test my gelatin mold tolerance, today I bring you an assortment of god’s creatures that swim, fly and amble all encased in a very very shiny gelatin embrace.

Test 1: “Movie Recipe” Chicken and Vegetable Aspic.

chicken movie aspic
Not so bad. Tomato and cream cheese could be pleasant with the right menu. I am wondering about the movie theme. How on earth were you supposed to sneak a chicken and vegetable gelatin mold in to the theater in your purse like so much clandestine candy?

 

Test 2. Jelly Beef Mold

jelly beef mold
A little more concerning. Doesn’t seem terrible, just weird. Though this is one of the shiniest mold in my memory.

 

Test 3: Jelly Tongues

jellied tongue
Yikes! Could it get more retro than jellied tongue? Hard pass.

gunn shocked

 

Test 4: Mayo and ….Fish…?

mayo fish mold
Shrimp, “fish” made from pimento, herbs, and “cauliflowerettes” you are meant to slice this and slather with “mayo ripples.”  This is one of the most concerning retro ads I’ve seen in a long time. Not only is the recipe just terrible, but it almost has a Damion/ Satanic Panic vibe about it in it’s ominous imagery. Furthermore, that is some hard line sloganing there, Hellmanns!

 

The good news is Aunt Mary still maintains some manner of astonishment after the ravages of  vintage recipes. The bad news, it seems demonic cults were once a viable target market for at least one condiment company.

what a day gunn

 

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Of Tiny Men and Eggnog

Last year I lamented the punch bowl missing from holiday festivities, and I thought I would expand on that theme by exploring what’s up with Eggnog. Love or hate it, eggnog’s a staple of the holidays and likely one of the earliest social lubricants – evidently it’s been an American winter drink dating from the pilgrim days.

It seems boozy eggnog advertising was dominated by two brands, Four Roses and Bacardi. Each took their own path to lure their customers to holiday cheer.

Four Roses stuck to the same visual, barely updated for the changing times. I’m serious. All the ads were the same:

These ads were from 1944, 1956 and 1937. Three decades of the same imagery! Still, I enjoy that they call their recipe “Merry Christmas!” It sure takes some jingle bells to try and brand such a common phrase.

Bacardi went with the whimsical route, featuring Elf on the Shelf’s other little known cousins – The Booze Brothers.

Are they elves, or gnomes or the 7 dwarfs on their day off?  I don’t know…I just.don’t. know…

Please note the “Man’s Recipe” for the eggnog. Men can’t be seen sipping some sissy nog, now can they?! “Sally, get away from that bowl! You know ladies can’t handle such a macho mix of eggs, cream and spices!”

Other notable eggnog ads include this Glenmore spot with more tiny bartenders, this time looking like a cross between Albert Einstein and the Monopoly guy.

glenmore nog

This very pretty ad showing Four Roses could do other things besides headless beings pawing at punch bowls, 4 roses

And though not eggnog related, I thought this was a fantastic ad! Get ‘er done, Santa! martini

Whatever’s in your cup, be sure to raise a glass for peace, love and good advertising!

Brunches and Lunches, A Cookbook for the Ages!

Vintage cookbooks can look bonkers to our modern eyes, especially when the recipes were created by advertisers attempting to brand their product in “new” and “interesting” ways.  Even the most simple and earnest recipe collection can look off to us due to contemporary styling and nascent color photography.  Aunt Mary collects vintage cookbooks and I can say many of them have me tossing my hands into the air and yelling “Oh Come ON!”

But not this one! My 1963 version of Better Homes and Gardens “Brunches and Lunches”is nothing short of delightful!  Not only does this cookbook have all the retro recipes we love to make fun of (Tomato aspic!) but some I actually think wouldn’t be that bad! Add in some charming retro table settings and we get a big ol’ serving of Aunt Mary thumbs up!

Cover
Sure, it’s really gold and orange, but that coffee pot is incredible!

 

eggs
Nobody cares if brunch is looking back at you when it’s this adorable (and glamorous!)

 

chicken pot
Even something called “Eggs Goldenrod” would taste amazing if served out of a pale blue chicken bowl!
Image (4)
How hungry were kids in 1963? Evidently you can now get a lunch box version of the Tardis, that’s the only explanation on how all of this food came from that box.
butter balls
Evidently that’s an omelette on the blue dish. I was just excited by the spiky butter balls .
confetti mold
If it’s Wednesday we need a weird jello mold. I think this would have benefited from some color photography, it’s just so…gray. Frankly, not the worst mold we’ve seen.

Memorial Day Picnic – Ad Style

Happy Memorial Day weekend in the US! As the unofficial start of summer there is one thing everyone wants to do: Grill Out! Let’s see what’s on our vintage ad picnic menu, shall we?

First up: hot dogs! So convenient in a can! I can see thousands of cold-war era backyard bomb shelters stuffed to the rafters with cans and cans of wieners. Why, the nuclear winter will seem like a picnic with all those hot dogs!

canned weiners
If you are trying really hard to get Middle Schoolers to laugh, you can’t go wrong with the phrasing “Can o’ Wieners” paired with “Sack o’ Sauce”
weironie
By “a little bit you you!” I’m pretty sure they mean “internal organs.” 

Or maybe we can tempt you with a hamburger, fresh from the tin?

burger can 2
“Say, I know! burgers in a can, ya see?” 

Let’s not forget the condiments! What’s a picnic without ketchup?

ketchup
Folks must have had a lot of time to read ad copy back in the day. I’ve asked Uncle Mary to call me his angel whenever I buy new ketchup, but he had declined. 

Or folks losing their minds over mustard?

mustard
This is everyone’s favorite style of vintage ad! It hits me right in the ad loving spot.

…and to wash it all down?

Booze.

Seagrams cookout
I have never wanted anything more than to be at this party. 
Brewers Memorial Day
If I can’t be at the Seagram’s party, can I be here instead?

Many wishes for a happy and peaceful Memorial Day!

Big Game Snacks!

Superbowl Sunday is almost here! For we ad nerds, it’s a huge deal and I hear some other folks, mainly sporting enthusiasts, also enjoy it. Look at us all coming together!

Whether it’s the ads or the athletics that lure you to the warm glow of a television, there is one thing we can all agree on: Snacks! Everybody loves the snacks! Do you like salty? Sweet? Meaty or veggie? There are snacks for you, my friend!

If you are especially committed to the football theme, Aunt Mary may have some retro recipes to help you out.

ap-football

Do you have an inflatable football-shaped bowl, and not a thing to put in it?

Goal!!!

football-chili

Let’s harken back to the days of helmet-free football and government mandated chili meat.  (Best not to ponder too long on what made him “Jet Propelled.” All I’m saying is its an ad for chili…)

Touchdown!

meatloaf-football

You know what they say, nothing goes better with football shaped meatloaf than a side of gum!  Incidentally, we have seen this campaign for Wrigley’s Gum before, over at  Aunt Mary’s Facebook page. Glad to see they branched out to all manner of events!

Home Run!

Be sure to join me this Sunday on the Aunt Mary Facebook page for my second annual live blogging of the ads. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Go sports!

Punch Up Your Holiday Parties!

I think it’s time we bring back the punch bowl! Enough with the wine and craft beer at every party, I want a big crock of Cheerful Whatever poured into a cut glass vessel large enough to take a bath in.

You aren’t on board? You will be after you see these delightful retro recommendations!

7-up-punch
Dudes be creepin. I have a feeling “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is played in a loop at this party. 

You can find this punch bowl at literally any second hand store anywhere. I love thrift shopping and there is always at least one punch bowl at any local shop.

 

merry-christmas-4-roses

Named after someone in the Four Roses test kitchen was heard shouting “Merry Christmas”after sampling the newest punch recipe. They were later found sleeping it off under the break room table.

 

rum-punch

Is it just me or is this headline a little threatening?  Still, there’s meat and a bucket of rum in crazy-adorable cups so count me in!

 

xmas-tuna-salad

It’s important to have sustenance on hand to soak up all that hooch. Be sure to adorn your party table with Elf on the Shelf’s older cousin, Judgy McStink-Eye, who sits on the buffet and makes note of everything you eat and drink. “Oh, you’re having another plate of food…well that certainly is a choice.”

By the way, that’s a tower of tuna…at a cocktail party…where people have been drinking. Good plan!

I’m Not Crying, WE’RE Crying – Happy Thanksgiving!

Gather ’round the table, kids! Thanksgiving Day is almost upon us!

In the current climate of anger and division the only thing I have to say right now is this: kindness is a choice, a choice that needs to be made over and over. Choose kindness and love, that’s the only thing that matters.

I could show you some stomach churning vintage ads such as this nicotine soaked turkey that was undoubtedly cooked for a solid 9 hours until it arrived on the table drier than a mouthful of the cinnamon challenge:

thanksgiving-cigs

Or an always popular crap-floating-in-jello with more crap on top, the perfect solution to leftovers and guests who have stayed just a little too long:

thanksgiving-jello

But this is the ad I want you to carry with you on Thanksgiving and through the holiday season.

 

Please know that I am grateful for everyone who visits my page gets my nonsense. I hope you have the happiest of days full of peace, plenty and love.

 

Thanks to Alicia for showing me this ad.