Who’s Hungry?

I have always been a notoriously picky eater. Some combinations just shouldn’t happen. As a child, my family was used to my quirky eating habits, but it occasionally posed a problem when I was eating at a friend’s house. Unless the situation was dire, I would usually try to get out of eating things I didn’t like by saying I wasn’t hungry. When I found these vintage recipe booklets I was initially charmed by their cute graphics and peek into the home cooking habits of the 50s and 60s, but that subsequently turned to horror at some of these recipes. I would have starved through this era.


Aspic: “a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé.” Savory jello with food in it. Yikes. Not only do crab and tomato gelatin sound like a bad combination, I’m a little concerned about the idea of blue cheese in lime jello. It just gets worse from there.

There is a funny Tumblr called aspic and other delights about these cringe-worthy dishes of the past. If you google “aspic” you’ll find some pretty chilling photos as well.

Mmmm, tomato jello ring.

Wilson’s B-V referred to itself as an “extract of meat” on the package. The recipe booklet touted rich vitamin and mineral content and a diet-friendly solution to meat flavored soups without the extra calories of actual meat. This particular offender suggests that you put cottage cheese in your meaty tomato and horseradish flavored ring of gelatin. How enticing.

B-V Cream Cheese Delight

Another gem from the Wilson’s B-V Recipe Booklet, this time poured into green peppers. Any time a recipe has you anticipating the moment something starts to congeal it should be a cause for concern.

All kinds of wrong

This booklet of dried fruit recipes from the California Dried Fruit Research Institute (what a place!) has so many doozies that the fruit cake recipe isn’t even the worst of the heap! This page is particularly dreadful. The first three look like someone just threw together whatever they had on hand and deemed it a salad, and when the best thing involves mint and raisins it’s a pretty sad situation.


Molded Tuna!

Any time something is being molded or formed into a loaf a flag should be raised. On their own these ingredients would mostly work, but some genius decided that gluing them all together with gelatin would be a good idea and suddenly it became a whole different ballgame.

More of this unnaturally shaped fish nonsense. I guess you really have to get creative when your product it frozen fish fillets, but with this Captain’s Choice I question his judgement. Also note the fish loaf calls for MSG! Whoa.


Theoretically these recipes are fine. The Shrimp Chowder actually sounds good. I take issue with “Shrimp Custard”, however, not because of the recipe itself, but because of the gag-inducing image it conjures up. Thankfully it appears to not really be as custardy as it sounds.


The graphics in the “Kitchen Fun with Libby’s Canned Meats” pamphlet are cute and cheeky, but the photos sure aren’t getting the old salivary glands going. You can’t fool anyone with your fancy “vienna sausage” claim when the photo clearly shows you are just talking about hot dogs from a can.

Veal or lamb kidneys…anchovy fillets… One sentence in and there’s no need to know any more. Starve for the night. Claim a stomach ache. Run away from home. Do what you gotta do.

Glamorous prunes

While none of these sound edible, Fruited Veal Stew is by far the worst. Did the Department of Home Economics National Live Stock and Meat Board pay for these pamphlets? I can think of no other acceptable reason to allow that recipe to be printed.

Speaking of glamour…

Cute, trying to make frozen vegetables sound glamorous. I applaud your efforts, really. A few French terms and we’re off to a decent start. Then there’s “Pea ‘N Chicken Shortcake”. Hmm. Actually that sounds better than the name leads one to believe. We’re not out of the woods yet though – there’s the return of the good old aspic. Lemon or lime jello with vegetables in it.

Thankfully I more or less escaped the era of putting anything you could find into a jello mold, but one time I went to a party where the birthday girl’s mother thought it would be adorable to put fish-shaped fruit snacks into blue jello. It was HORRIBLE. The fruit snacks were slimy, the texture inconsistent, and she was at least matching fruit flavors with each other. There’s no way vegetables in fruit flavored jello could be good.

Hold the mayo.

Under no circumstances should mayonnaise be in the same dish as pears. Ever.

Sorry kid.

I appreciate marshmallows in an old-fashioned dessert as much as the next person, but if your mother gives you a bowl of applesauce with marshmallows in it and calls it dessert, she hates you.

When all else fails, there’s always TV dinner. Don’t they look delicious?


One thought on “Who’s Hungry?

  1. Pingback: Mid-Century Hosting | foodforfunandpleasure


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