Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reminiscing: Body Building Dishes For Children

One of my gentle readers inquired about how I come to be in possession of these cookbooks after my last "Reminiscing" post.  It all began with a special selection of cookbooks given to me by Aunt and Uncle of Ken for Christmas two years ago.  Since then, Mother of Ken and various other relatives and family friends have contributed to the stack.  I also look for these gems at flea markets and antique stores.  I believe that today's offering comes to us from the antique store up the road from my house and it may be the worst one to date.

So, without further ado, I bring you:

Back in 1952, this is how the Culinary Arts Institute believed children should be fed--let's hope this cookbook wasn't a bestseller.

The captions for these photos are quite something.  For the top left photo:  "A pottery casserole all his own for baked cereal is quite apt to coax the young man to eat."  For the bottom left photo:  "Here is a substantial luncheon dish for healthy, husky appetites."

As if those aren't bad enough, the opposite page has a recipe for "Cream of Salmon Soup," the appearance and texture of which I cannot imagine.

"When prospecting for minerals, consider the oyster, rich in iodine, iron and copper."  The photo of the oyster stew is so awful that it seems impossible to top, but then there's the next page.  Vienna sausages dotting the top of the lima bean chowder and recipes for "Liver Vegetable Soup" and "Liver Soup."

"Poached eggs in croustades on the holiday table make even the snowman bounce with glee."  The snowman only has one eye.  That snowman doesn't care about the poached eggs--he wants to find a stuffed green olive to stick on his face!  He also looks like he has overindulged in egg nog--perhaps that's how he lost his eye?

I can't decide which is scarier--the snowman or this:

"For a really hilarious dinner nothing equals this schoolmate of Donald Duck."  "Hilarious" isn't the word I would use to describe that hideous creature.  How about "grotesque" or "atrocious"?  Hey, Mother of Ken--I have an idea for a centerpiece at our next family dinner...

"For an afternoon of serious roller skating or cycling, fill up tummies with this hot planked fish and vegetable dinner."  Good luck getting anyone, let alone a kid, eat that pile of brain matter and eyeballs.

If that doesn't work, try some good old fashioned liver.  "Liver is your most valuable source of vitamin A and for once-a-week appearance, bake it often and serve with high-vitamin vegetables."  The same page has recipes for kidneys and hearts, so if one organ doesn't tempt their taste buds, perhaps another one will.

On the vegetable front, there's nothing better than artichokes stuffed with...I can't even describe that chunky, gooey filling.  If nothing else works, you can always put vegetables in  a ring mold, which makes everything more appetizing, no?

Some kind of hash?  Those eggs remind me of the summer that I went to art school and we learned how to make things out of this special clay-like substance that you had to bake in the oven.  I made Mother of Ken (who hates eggs in any form as do I, so I still don't know what inspired me) egg earrings that looked just like these eggs.  For posts, I used paper clips.  She never wore them ;-(

I don't know what any of this is supposed to be, but does anyone else see the sad, deformed face of the Gingerbread Man from Shrek in that top right photo?  Just me?

Mmmm...  "Peas cooked in lettuce."  I understand that those white blobs in the bottom right photo are mashed potatoes, but what else is in that dish?

Sandwiches...made with liver and liver sausage on a bed of cottage cheese?  And what is with the turkey cookies?  Why are they such different colors?  

"Zucchini boats with a cargo of buttered crumbs and tomatoes will tempt even the sleepiest."  What does that even mean?  And why did they waste bacon?

Bottom right--bunny salad.  Don't all children want to dig into bunnies that look like those mice that people buy for their cats to play with?  How about some "Clown Salad" or "Duck Salad" or "Jack-O'-Lantern Salad" or "Poinsettia Salad"?  The basic idea seems to be to combine a random can of fruit with some cottage cheese and marshmallows and perhaps a little something green like lettuce and then to give it a seasonal name.

This caption says it all (top right photo):  "Food for the youngest must not be chilled but the others feel very grown up with prunes and cream nestled in cracked ice."  The photo makes it look like vanilla ice cream topped with some blood clots.

Remember the episode of Seinfeld in which Susan brings her doll collection to the apartment she shares with George?  One of the dolls looks like his mother and the rest are scary as hell--that's all I can think of when I look at these photos.  And check out the shadowy creeper in the bottom right corner...

Children of the 1950s, if you were expected to eat any of this, I am very sorry and I hope that you were not permanently scarred by the one eyed snowman centerpiece, the "mock duck," or a creepy doll display presiding over your dessert.

Trying to describe the photos in this cookbook has made me realize how limited my medical vocabulary is.


Leah said...

Maybe they called it a "body-building" cookbook because they used the contents to threaten children into eating their normal food? "Timmy, if you don't eat your cheerios, Mommy is going to make the Loch Ness Monster and a Cyclops Snowman appear on the table!"

Rosie Hawthorne said...

What a gem! I'm going to have to start checking out antique stores for these jewels.