Cereal dater

Benny got me a 1957 Betty Crocker’s Cookbook For Girls And Boys for Christmas, and it’s inspiring me to resuscitate yet another subject category here that hasn’t seen much action lately: Quick & Delicious Dishes. There are some legitimate recipes in this book and it’s nice to see that adults used to trust children with hammers and boiling syrup, but my favorite items are the “maybe the editor was on a deadline and also drunk” suggestions that you can always count on in an old Betty Crocker cookbook.

The following rogues gallery is prefaced by the encouraging: “Just watch your little brother’s face when you surprise him with the Little Man Who Wasn’t There…” which actually isn’t as sinister as it sounds,


except for the part where you’re putting an orange slice in milk. I’m not sure what the Smiles cereal for the Pig In A Poke is – it’s hard to tell if Sugar Smiles was still around by this time, and it’s definitely not Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs, nor the smiley-faced Kaboom.

What I do know is that if I were a kid making a weird cereal breakfast treat for my brother, I’d choose this one


but I’d call it When The Log Rolls Over, We Will Die, We Will Die. Just watch his face.

Swedish Chef

I’m not sure this is really a thing, because most of the articles online link back to one specific article at HuffPoUK, but I’m intrigued with the idea of Swedish pizza. Benny and Smoothie have accused me (perhaps fairly) of being an aficionado of “comedy food” such as hot dog-flavored potato chips and sushi burritos, but some of the combinations I’ve seen offered as examples of Swedish pizza give Dali’s Surrealist cookbook a run for its money. From the original article, here are some supposedly beloved combos:

Tomato sauce!

Tomato sauce!
Canned Fruit Cocktail!

Tomato sauce!
Black Currants!

Tomato sauce!
Pork Tenderloin!

I can’t find photos of any of the above except for one rather blurry image from Gawker that I refuse to link to, and the only other “Swedish pizza” photos I’m finding are for pies featuring “kebab meat” (gyros, it appears) with tzaziki… and that seems to be a perfectly reasonable pizza that Benny would order and Smoothie would come over to share. I have yet to see anything as silly as Pizza Hut’s hot dog crust or Mr. Pizza’s potato wedges/corn/”nacho chip flake” abomination. Is this Swedish pizza really a thing?

via Metafilter

An entry for the Bake-Off

Benny used to work in a Chinese restaurant in Oklahoma called the Fortune Cookie, and he learned how to make a really good fried rice there. He’s going to make some of this fried rice tonight, and I’m so excited that I started looking for an accompanying dish in this old Chinese cookbook that some exiled Benedictine nuns compiled after WWII. I love this book, even though I haven’t tried making any of the recipes. The pictures are so great that I can never make up my mind about what I actually want to cook.

Behold the illustration for pork with tofu:

Mushrooms with spinach (look how strong!):


Walnut bars (There are some other walnuts in the original illustration that are drinking coffee. If they’re at a bar shouldn’t they be drinking cocktails?):

And the simply incredible sour cream pudding:

Ha! Look how old he is. Of course that cream is sour. Oh, but geez. It’s happened again. I can’t decide what to make. Maybe I’ll just try Benny’s recipe for Chinese Fry Bread. I think I posted about Chinese Fry Bread before but I didn’t include a formal recipe so here’s your chance to try it yourself. I don’t think the Fortune Cookie will get at me posting their secret recipe if I leave something out.


  • 1 package Pillsbury® Buttermilk Biscuits
  • hot oil for deep fryer

Open biscuit package and cut the biscuits in half so that each biscuit is a semi-circle. Heat oil in a deep fryer to (redacted) degrees. Place biscuit semi-circles in hot oil and fry until golden brown, making sure the inside has been fully cooked or you will get sick from eating all that uncooked dough. Probably serve this with some beer.

Actually, I don’t even think the Fortune Cookie exists anymore, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential litigation.

Bankrupt hostess

It’s happened again. I should know better; this always happens. We’re having some friends over for a simple dinner tonight, I couldn’t find the recipe for the spicy hot nuts, and now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of terrible hors d’oeuvres ideas from old recipe booklets.

I can’t really blame The Calvert Party Encyclopedia for its miserable-sounding ideas – snacks called Hot House, Tongue Treat, Cheese Breeze and the like – because the thing was compiled by a gin manufacturer who wanted to add a few more pages to their “hey, mix this with gin, and you could also try this with gin” marketing effort.

It’s this Good Housekeeping’s Appetizer Book that gives me pause. I believe I’ve discussed this book here before, but the last time I looked through it I don’t think I noticed the “I’ve given up” recipes. Here are a few examples in the “Quickies” section:

English Muffinettes: Spread split English muffins with butter or margarine; sprinkle with poppy, caraway, or celery seeds. Broil till bubbly; cut into wedges to serve.

Seasoned Popcorn: Pop a big bowlful of popcorn; sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Potato Chips: Heat in oven; serve in basket.

That’s just sad. I prefer the happy, bat-shit crazy attempts. Let’s try some Ham-Grape Pickups, shall we?

Ham-Grape Pickups

12 scalloped round crackers
1 2 1/2 oz. can deviled ham

About 1/4 cup commercial sour cream
6 halved, pitted green grapes

Just before serving: Spread each cracker with deviled ham; top with small mound of sour cream. Press grape half, rounded side up, into cream.  Makes 12

Or maybe you can try that. I just found the spicy hot nuts.

Tomato guy

Oh, look. I just made this tomato guy.

Hey, Tomato Guy. I’m learning some stuff about you today.

  • Your scientific name lycopersicum means “wolf peach,” and people used to think that witches could turn into werewolves if they ate your cousin the nightshade.
  • Aztecs called you the “thing with a navel.”
  • Some other guys in your genus are the giant devil’s-fig and the kangaroo apple. Altogether you sound like a pretty tough gang.
  • Hernán Cortés was probably the person who brought tomatoes to Europe, so he did at least one thing in his life that wasn’t completely terrible.
  • Shakespeare never wrote anything about you, but Dickens referred to you six times in The Pickwick Papers.
  • Botanically you are classified as a fruit but the US Supreme Court labeled you as a vegetable in 1883. You are the state vegetable and the state fruit of Arkansas.

You’re a pretty interesting guy, Tomato Guy. I’m glad I made you. Now how about lunch?

Armour meats

It seems I’ve found a fancy dish more questionable and double-entendre-sounding than meat pinwheels. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the helmeted cock:

Yes, that is a roasted chicken wearing a helmet and carrying a shield, and he’s riding on a roasted pig. Here’s another one:

It’s not a new thing; it’s medieval. Really. People did stuff like this when there was no television.

via Metafilter, where you will also find a medieval half-pig/half-turkey creature. Magic!

Take on a regal aspect

I got a very interesting book this weekend entitled The Art of Serving Food Attractively by Mary Albert Wenker. I thought it might provide me with a quick and easy idea to spruce up the presentation of some creamed onions I’m going to make for Thanksgiving; after all, Mary Albert’s Rule #2 of Garnishing is “Beauty is obtained through simplicity. Garnishes should appear natural, fresh and dainty – never overworked or overdone.” Well. Let’s see what we have here.

An egg boat. Hey, that could be cute. A little egg boat floating on a sea of creamed onions? I don’t know. I don’t think anybody would be able to guess that it’s supposed to be an egg boat. Here’s one I could handle:

Four cucumber slices crammed into a hard-boiled egg. I could definitely pull that one off, but why?

Meat pinwheel. That’s just asking for ridicule. Next.

This one would be good if I were making some sort of vertical meatloaf that was supposed to represent a burning building, and I could have cucumber slices jumping out of the windows onto the lemon slice held up by the other cucumber slices. I could even make little pimiento firehats for the cucumber slices holding up the lemon slice. Or perhaps that is too overworked and overwrought.

Ooh, look at that little guy! A little turkey. Let’s see – pear halves, cream cheese, graham cracker crumbs, pineapple slice, red-skinned apple slice, cherry and a date. I don’t think that is going to work with creamed onions.

Pickle boats. Turnip stars. Beet cups. Pear airplane. Tomato cheese rose. Troutlettes. Cucumber linked chain. Ugh… I think I need to go to bed. Oh look – ideas for bed trays. Maybe Benny will bring me a gumdrop-pipecleaner pilgrim while I recover.

Drizzle in the forecast

This house is nearly perfect.


I’d probably add a butter pat welcome mat, berry landscaping and a fried egg throw rug inside, and I’m really conflicted about the meat curtains, but it’s nearly perfect. What’s the down payment?

via Pee-wee Herman on Facebook

A torte is not the same thing as a torta

My birthday is in a few days, and this year I’m going to make my own cake. I have two cookbooks devoted entirely to cake recipes so this shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

Pork Cake

1 pound ground salt pork
1 pint water
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour
1 pound raisins
1 pound currants

Pour the water, boiling, over the ground salt pork. When cold, add sugar, soda, cinnamon and the other spices and ingredients in order. Blend thoroughly. Place in large pans and bake in slow oven for four hours.

Okay, this may be a little more difficult than I originally thought.

Recipe from Aunt Sally’s Favorite Recipes, via Cakes Men Like
Published in: on August 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

So on and so fourth

Benny and I are going to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow in the traditional way, barbecuing with friends and watching fireworks. Because we are celebrating in the traditional way, I think I am also going to start a new tradition of ignoring Facebook on this and all holidays.

Lately, holidays on Facebook seem to be filled with hyperbolic status updates like “My mother farts flowers and she is my bestest friend” or “If you’re walking around in your white shoes stuffing your face with hot dogs instead of meditating deeply about the war dead all day, I am going to punch you in the nards” or “STOP TRIVIALIZING FLAG DAY.” Okay, actually Flag Day was pretty tolerable this year. But the others are so full of … I don’t know what. Post an anecdote of patriotic loved ones, tell your mom you love her, great; but don’t make this into a competition and don’t tell me what to do. Tomorrow I’m going to eat a goddamn hot dog, watch some fireworks, and not feel guilty about it. It’s Independence Day.

But what kind of goddamn hot dog? That’s a very good question. I have my trusty Better Homes & Gardens Barbecues and Picnics book right here, and wouldn’t you know it? There is a chapter devoted to “fancy franks and burgers.” Let’s see here; Nutty Pups?

Nutty Pups

A new favorite for all ages –

Broil franks to suit yourself. Serve in hot toasted buns spread with chunk-style peanut butter. Great when made with Frank Wrap-ups. Pass pickle relish.

I don’t believe I will. Let’s try again.

Circle Pups

1 1-pound can (2 cups) sauerkraut1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon sage
1 pound (8 to 10) frankfurters*
8 to 10 slices rye bread, buttered
Prepared mustard

Drain kraut, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Mix flour, sage, and reserved juice; stir into the drained kraut. Heat and stir till mixture thickens. At 1/2-inch intervals, cut slits across franks, going almost but not quite through. Broil franks over hot coals until hot through – they’ll curl as they cook. Place franks on bread; fill center with hot kraut; top with mustard.

I think this is the winner. Here is a picture of the Circle Pups:

And there you have it. Oh wait – I forgot the asterisked note about the frankfurters. That’s the best part.

*If using the chubby dinner-size franks, count on 2 to make each circle. Curve on bread making ends touch.

I love living in a free country.

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