Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Come On-A My House

So yesterday I was saying that I have a new hobby of sorts. It's called "obsessed with vintage cookbooks." Now, before you get all "wow lame-o, could you any be any dorkier?" I would say A.) did you not catch my Chandler Bing impression? and B.) wasn't my Chandler Bing impression proof enough that I couldn't get any dorkier? But vintage cookbooks aren't as boring as you think. The graphics and models in these books are wonderful. In fact, the fembot housewives posing by the BBQ pit like they're Vogueing is hilarious...not to mention the mid-century modern furniture in the background and the cars and clothes could kill me in my tracks. So vintage cookbooks aren't as boring as you might think. (Or maybe they are and I'm the dork. Damn proud of my nerd status, too.)

My obsession started the usual way, by total accident. A couple weeks ago, a few of my out-of-town friends stopped by for dinner and drinks. After a few more drinks, we started playing records and had a few more drinks. And you know that it rolls, you have a few mai tais and start scheming and making plans which sound like a great idea at the time, but then then next morning you're all "Why am I wearing different clothes? Why is the floor sticky? Where's my goldfish? And who is that sleeping on the couch?"

What we came up with is an idea to throw a period-correct, 1959/'60 style dinner party, complete with the apropos clothing, music, cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert. We're gonna party like it's 1959. Literally. At the time that sounded swingin', but guess who's stuck doing all the work? Google. And then me. I've been searching vintage food, vintage recipes, vintage desserts, you name it, looking for what would have really been served at a swanky party in 1959. And so this is how I stumbled across the vintage cookbooks that have taken over my life. Either the folks who wrote these cookbooks were part of some 1950's conspiracy of brainwashing housewives across America to believe that in order to prove you're NOT a Communist, you will use pimiento loaf on a daily basis- or- people just really ate that way, which I cannot accept the idea that anyone could enjoy dinner that was made in a mold.

Can I get a witness? The following delights below come from the 1962 cookbook "Knox On-Camera Recipes: A Completely New Guide To Gel-Cookery".


Thanks for gettin' our backs, Knox. I'm sure I'm not the only one bored with your old guide to gel-cookery. Also, there never should have been any guide written with the words "gel-cookery".

Behold the culinary atrocities that only the 1960's could bring! Warning: if you haven't eaten yet, you may want to skip these pictures. Most of these dishes look like they've already been eaten.



What the HELL? Really?! Stupid Knox jerks. Lemon jell-o with corn and a side of olives sounds perfect.


This is my favorite. Not only do I not want to even go near this, what with it's pale complexion and questionable meat paste filler, but it looks like something you'd go to the doctor to get removed.


  1. Hun, those are some of the freakiest meal dishes Ive ever laid my eyes upon!

    I will admit though, having like a 1959-early 60's dinner partay would be a lot of fun, but its not fair that youre stuck with all the work.

  2. Hey!!!!! Not only do I have that book, I, too am totally obsessed with vintage cookbooks AND host Mid-century Supper Club potlucks!!!! It all started when we found a group on Flickr who does it, and it escalated from there.

    Here are my pics on Flickr:

    And blogged:

    It is SO MUCH FUN. (Luckily, there are all sorts of vintage recipes for COCKTAILS.) And that's BS that you have to do it all -- make people go thrifting or look stuff up on the internet and make it a potluck. Give out prizes so that people have to WORK for it. I swear to god, they are the easiest -- and most fabulous -- parties I have ever thrown.

    You will have SO MUCH FUN, I swear! And don't feel bad if anyone ignores the tuna jell-o mold. everyone always does.