Monday, April 26, 2010

Reminiscing: 500 Snacks (Bright Ideas for Entertaining)

Gentle readers, this might be the best (read: most horrible) cookbook that I have made fun of to date. This particular copy of 500 Snacks is torn, tattered, and taped, which means that someone used it a lot. That frightens me. So, journey with me into the world of 1940s snacks...


Check out these enticing recipes right at the beginning of the cookbook. Stock up on sandwich bread, olives, and anchovy paste so that you, too, can make "Daisy" and "Igloo" canapes. Don't these look delectable?


Moving right along, we come to the staple of the 1940s American diet, the spread. Fish, meat, cheese--this cookbook has them all, including a recipe for liverwurst spread. The caption for the photo says "The canape tray is in all its glory at a party."


The first thing that I read when I turned to this page was "1/2 cup ground tongue." I think my eyes are trained to look for that word when I read these cookbooks. Anyway, the piece de resistance on this page is the "Pie Canape," which is an indescribable combination of rye bread, garlic, butter, mayonnaise, caviar, parsley, "sieved egg yolk," cream cheese, anchovy paste, Shrimp Spread and Salmon Spread. And look at that photo! This is so complicated and the end result is so horrible--how is this concoction worth all of that work and 1 1/2 ounces of caviar? Also, I can tell that Father of Ken was not involved in creating the concentric circles because they are terribly flawed.

Side note: For special occasions, we used to make baked Brie in a bread bowl when I was younger. Father of Ken, ever the engineer, was always in charge of cutting a perfect circle out of the bread bowl and it was always absolutely flawless. He also used to be in charge of putting my hair in a ponytail with those little hair ties that have the balls on the ends. My ponytail was perfectly centered on my head and no strand of hair was allowed to escape the ponytail holder. I have always had very thick hair, so this was no small feat. I'm sure he was thrilled when I cut my hair short.


Hot Tongue Canapes! Liver Canapes!


I included this page just for Mother of Ken, who loves the word "melange." Doesn't this one sound awful?


Why are they called "Celery Trunks?" That is so unappetizing. How about that tray of crap on the right side of the page?


One of my favorites, the "Jellied Loaf" is featured prominently in the photograph below. That meat tray on the right leaves me at a loss for words, plus there is another tongue-based recipe on that page.


Just for Leah, a whole column of "Balls on Picks:"


Also, a "Ham Mold" and a recipe for "Sail Boats," which seem extremely complicated.

Don't forget about the all-important "Liver Sausage" hors d'oeuvres:


I'm with them on the caption that says "almost anything you like can be rolled in bacon." I'm not with them on the "Gherkins in Dried Beef Rolls" or the "Sardines/Anchovies in Blankets."


I stared at this photograph for several minutes, trying to figure out what those things on the skewers are. They appear to have some kind of coarse coating, but none of the recipes call for anything that would cause that. They look like hush puppies, no?


Mmmm--"Baked Liver Patties!"


Aspic, Father of Ken's favorite. This page is full of some of the worst recipes I have ever seen in a single space at one time AND there is an awful photo to go with them. Here is a sampling of the recipes: "Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters," "Sliced Veal in Aspic," "Tongue Mousse," and Jellied Calf's Liver." I love the caption: "Frankfurters take on new glamour in this gleaming aspic." Really? 'Cause that is one of the least appetizing molds I have ever seen. I love how the cut hot dogs stand up along the edge of the dish with the sliced eggs in the inner part of the mold. This looks like someone tried to preserve the worst foods of the 1940s in gelatin so that it could become part of the "modern home" exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History forever.


Turn the page, and you get this:


"Whole hard-cooked eggs in this jellied tuna loaf add a gay and decorative note." I wonder, would it be inappropriate to serve this with some "Fish Balls?" Too much seafood?

Having seen so many recipes for "molds," I thought you might like a lesson in unmolding these dishes--here's a step by step guide, complete with photos:


Well, I'm thoroughly grossed out. Enjoy your next tongue-free, mold-free meal!

3 comments:

Leah said...

"I stared at this photograph for several minutes, trying to figure out what those things on the skewers are. They appear to have some kind of coarse coating, but none of the recipes call for anything that would cause that. They look like hush puppies, no?"

I think they're more Balls on Picks.

Ken said...

But the caption says that it is a "brochette" platter--what is going on here?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

There are no words.