Back in my time-wasting grad school days I made somewhat of a hobby out of thrift shopping. Along with the mandatory copy of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream, every thrift store would have a collection of post-war, space-age cookbooks. Recipes, in this period, are a kind of recombinatory matrix of industrial ingredients. You take some cocktail wieners, a dollop of mayonnaise, some ketchup and a surprise ingredient, say dried prunes and roll them all up into a ball that roughly resembles a low earth orbit satellite and you’ve got dinner.
This is the culinary territory explored by “Retro Ruth,” the genius behind the Mid-Century Menu blog. She cooks up one mid-century recipe a week and feeds it to her husband Tom who does a kind of visually documented taste testing. It’s great fun and their blog is one of my favorite internet time holes, even though I’ll never make this stuff. In the past year they’ve been covering the outer-stellar potlucks featured in the background of the Astronaut Wives Club. Then there’s the cocktails. The disasters, such as the Salmon Vermouth Casserole, are particularly entertaining.
Did you grow up with this stuff? As always, we love your comments.