Sunday, November 4, 2012

Drown in Mayonnaise, Bake Until Puffy

This green book had been sitting on my kitchen shelf for years, a relic of my mother's kitchen that I hadn't looked at but was unwilling to throw away because it reminded me of her. This morning the hubster said, "Do we have any room in your recipe book to put in this recipe for smoked ribs? Because if not, why don't we use that other green book?" So I got down the green book and took a look, and Oh. My. God.

These things dated back to the early 1960s, remnants of the time my mother had two little girls under foot in a house at the very edge of the south Atlanta exurbs. Our house didn't even have a street number: there were several fliers in there addressed to "Rt. 3, College Park." These were relics of an era in cooking when  nobody was counting calories, all seafood came in cans (at least for those of us in the deep inland South) and you could make a salad out of a pair of old saddle oxfords if you just had some unflavored gelatin, canned fruit, miniature marshmallows and sour cream--or, possibly a gallon or two of mayonnaise. I only recognized one or two of these recipes as things I'd actually eaten, which I guess means they represented my mother's culinary aspirations as opposed to daily reality. But what aspirations!

1. No-name recipe: "In a shallow buttered baking dish, arrange stalks of cooked and drained broccoli. Lay thin strips of chicken on top. Cover with sauce made by folding one beaten egg white into one cup of mayonnaise. Set just below broiler just long enough to allow sauce to swell up into something resembling human flesh involved in blunt force trauma become brown and puffy." Let us move on. Quickly.

2. "Spiced Grapes." Why, Lord? Why?

3. "Skillet Supper. Take 8 small potatoes, 12 small carrots, one package frozen peas, one bunch green onions and one recipe meat balls. [I guess everybody knew what "one recipe meat balls" meant.] Arrange in large skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Add condensed consomme. Cover and cook about 20 minutes. Serves 6."  Six what? On second thought, maybe this was what the housewife of the 1960s set out on the back stoop for the hired man, assumed he still had the strength to stagger up to the house from the south 40.

4. "Egg Curry Ring. 2 envelopes plain gelatin, 1 and 1/2 cups cold chicken brother, 4 teaspoons curry power, some lemon juice, some Worcestershire, grated onion, 1 and 1/2 cups mayonnaise [you knew that was coming, didn't you?] 8 hard cooked eggs and and some chopped olives. Mix up everything but the last three ingredients and refrigerate until it looks like pus unbeaten egg whites. Blend in mayonnaise, eggs and olives; pour in a mold and chill until  firm." Transport directly to the nearest EPA toxic waste dump. (That last part is my tweak.)

5. "South Georgia Vichyssoise." I'm afraid to look.

More later.

No comments:

Post a Comment