OLD COOKBOOKS

AUGUST 8, 2007

by Kelly

Sometimes we just stumble onto this stuff! My grandmother recently moved out of the home she lived in for more than thirty years. And my family is having one mess of a time cleaning out said house. As with any home someone has lived in for so long, there are items in nooks and crannies that date back decades. Such was the case when I came upon these cookbooks in a kitchen cupboard. I immediately knew they were "Project Absurd-worthy!"

I will save the best for last and start with the more low-key cooking guide, the Blender Way to Better Cooking (their capitalization, not mine!):

I'm pretty sure this cookbook is from the mid 1960s to early 1970s. Blenders were huge from the 1950s through the 1970s, but, there are several mentions of this cookbook online. There was once a hardcover version of this cookbook sold in stores and it is copyright 1965. I'm thinking sometime after that they started packaging a soft-cover version with every blender sold. And that is what this is.

The index for your quick perusal:

 

Did you realize you could make all of those things with a blender? Neither did I! Unfortunately, some of their recipes are downright nauseating. I hope this is readable. This is two of the pages dedicated to Dips and Spreads:

   

What sounds better? Liver Sausage Dip? Anchovy Dip? Tuna Dip? You could make yourself a Snappy Cheese Ball. Or perhaps some kind of loaf? Of course, you can't have a Sandwich Loaf without Frosting! And for those trying to keep score, that Frosting includes Worcestershire Sauce and cottage cheese! Yummy! Relax, if that isn't your style you can always have the Cheddar Shrimp Spread!

Moving right along, there are more delectable suggestions in the Salad section!

 

Yeah! Avocado Mold and Kidney-Bean Salad! Who came up with this stuff?

My personal favorite salad? The one that contains boiling beet juice, lemon Jell-O and a horse-radish:

Another hint that this cookbook came from the 1970s is this Warranty Registration Card my grandmother never sent back, which was tucked into the Salad section:

I love the "Please use a soft lead pencil - thank you." So old-school (and polite)! I still can't remember what these computer cards were technically called. Someone help me out here!

Another goodie in Salads:

Skipping over Breads and Main Dishes, let's get right to Desserts. And what an inviting illustration for the Desserts section!

 

I'll spare you the Apricot Whip. Incidentally, Desserts does not include cakes and cookies - that's in another section. Why? I have no idea. Remember, this is Blender-World, folks! Desserts does include Tortes, Cheesecake, Frappe, Pudding, Ice Cream and...Applesauce! Um...ok.

In Cakes and Cookies, they start off with some really delicious cakes!

 

I have been looking everywhere for that recipe for Cake Mixes! Whew! It's not like they put it on the box or anything, so...! Honestly, why would you want to make your cake with a blender? Is stirring so hard?

The best section of this cookbook has to be Vegetables.

Not to beat blend a dead horse (and there's got to be a recipe for that in here somewhere!), but come on people! What is with these recipes?!  Lima Beans Supreme? I'm gagging just thinking about lima beans, bacon and cheddar cheese together! *Ack!* There, I actually gagged! Nothing on this Vegetables page is making me feel any better, either (Turnip Casserole? Really?). I have to get out of this cookbook now!

I think it's high time for the somehow even more daft cookbook of the two - Cranberry Dishes For Holidays and Special Occasions:

 

Just look at it in all its late-1950s beauty! Fabulous! Inside the front cover is this yummy photo and a little blurb about the wonderfulness of cranberries:

The reason I am fairly certain this cookbook hails from the late 1950s is that it was put out by the National Cranberry Association, which, according to a website I can no longer find (derp), officially changed its name to Ocean Spray Cranberries in late 1959. Evidence of the National Cranberry Association (and also the index to the cookbook):

The writers of this cookbook are convinced cranberries are appropriate for any occasion. And I mean, any occasion! They start with the beginning of the year - New Year's:

Pay careful attention to the comments at the beginning of each section. There's usually something sexist or plain ridiculous in there.

"If it's 'cake and coffee' you're planning, this ruby-topped Cranberry Festival Cake is wonderfully good and easy to make. Men love it."

Oh really? Somehow, I don't remember my grandfather singing its praises.

Here's a... salad... thing you can serve on New Year's:

It looks like Jell-O with something shiteous on top, but tastes like cranberries and chicken soup? Somehow, I don't think the folks will be saying,

"Well, doesn't that look pretty!"

No, I don't think that's what they'll be saying at all.

Up next we have Father's Day (Valentine's and Easter were worth covering, but I mean, I don't have all day...). Again, pay special attention to the comment:

UARGH, where to start?! Dad is so sunburned! He looks angry here - the sunburn is probably why. Is Dad really so much better than everyone else that he gets the Special Tablecloth and no one else does? And - here's a shock - there's not even a section in here for Mother's Day. Heaven forbid Dad cook up something special involving cranberries for Mom! And, "Honey, that was some dinner!" Can't Dad come up with better compliments? Did Dad just finish reading Charlotte's Web ("He's Some Pig!")?

I can't tell you how many times we sat around talking about how fond we are of relishes, either.

Is ice cream and cranberry sauce honestly "the best eating you can imagine"? This cookbook is starting to make me sad.

Here's one of those special things you can make for Dad so he'll pay you the Greatest Compliment Of All-Time and say it's "Some dinner!":

I guess guys only like Fried Chicken and Cranberry Sauce during the month of June. Serve it any other time and you're out of luck! I think they're lying anyway, The National Father's Day Committee site says nothing about this being "the Official Dish For Father's Day." I'm not even going say anything about the "DAD" letter recipe. It, too, makes me want to gag. Celery and cranberry sauce? Really?

Here's the July 4th header with another one of their creepy generalizations:

Maybe I don't agree that "food tastes better out of doors." Maybe I like my food "in of doors!"

"This pie won a prize for Mrs. Adeline Gayoski at one of the Cranberry Festivals in Massachusetts. One of the best-tasting cranberry pies we ever ate.":

I wonder what she won? She's probably still up to her ears in her lifetime supply of cranberry sauce! I googled her name but came up empty. I hope she's still alive and somehow finds this post. Wow, "One of the best-tasting cranberry pies we ever ate." Oh, the English Major in me wants to take a swing at correcting that terrible sentence. First of all, that is a sentence fragment (it looks like a comma between "Massachusetts" and "One" in the picture but I looked in the book and it's a period). Secondly, it should say "we have ever eaten" and not "we ever ate."

Ok, give me one sec to get down off my high horse, it's quite a jump...

Here's another clue that this cookbook is on the older side (other than the woman above's June Cleaver dress): the way they spell "Hallowe'en." The word "Halloween" is a shortened form of "All Hallow Even" because it's the evening before "All Hallows' Day."  They originally kept the apostrophe in there when they shortened it. Anyway, I want to talk about that kid on the left. What the hell is he (she?) supposed to be?!

From directly under the above picture:

Somehow I am pretty sure I've tasted stuff better than that, thanks. And they think this would be a hit to hand out to kids! Oh, how times have changed! Can you fit a razor in a Cranberry Molasses Cream Cake? And, by the way - cranberries and molasses? Blarf!

Another delightful Hallowe'en treat:

In case it's hard to read: that's brown bread, cream cheese and cranberry sauce (which were "made to go together... a wonderful flavor combination"). Their constant cranberry-ass-kissing is incredible!

Here is something delectable you can serve next Thanksgiving:

That is hideous looking. Just hideous.

The Christmas header:

Heh, I have no doubt that this would be a memorable sight on your Christmas table:

I just can't get over these "mold" things that look like they're going to be Jell-O but will really taste like cranberries. Do people really eat this stuff? I mean, there you are, knowing what it is, but your tastes buds still expect Jell-O based on the looks of it, and they get cranberries, cabbage, celery and walnuts instead! Yick!

Near the end of the cookbook there is a section for Weddings and Showers. Seriously!

I'm getting married next year and I don't think so!

Another idiotic picture tops the section:

Is that some sort of Vietnamese rice-patty hat the chick in pink is wearing? She looks sunburned except for the white line on her forehead - maybe she needs a bigger hat. I could go on and on about this picture, but instead I'll move on to the header for Buffets:

Let's take a closer look at that buffet table:

Mmm...doesn't every buffet have a gigantageous table with candelabras on it? An un-carved turkey? An enormous TV dinner (I know it's probably supposed to be vegetables but it looks stupid). What's over in the corner by the guy? I suspect it's punch but it looks like marching band drums. This is the oddest buffet ever. I guess it doesn't matter since the people have no faces. Is that their mother-ship coming in on the right?

Here's a delightful recipe for your buffet:

I am running out of things to say about bad cranberry-intensive recipes. And my patience is wearing thin.

Some shiteousness for your TV tray:

I'm just gonna say it. If you serve these, your friends will hate you.

Finally, and thank the lord almighty, the end of the cookbook - the back cover.

(Said in snotty tone) "Like mother used to make."

Blah blah blah. None of these books show much wear and tear.  I don't remember ever seeing my grandmother with a blender. And I only remember ever seeing a basic cranberry sauce on her table and only during Thanksgiving dinner. My family and I are grateful. Thank you, Grandma, for having the good sense not to make any of the recipes in either of these cookbooks. Now that I see what the possibilities were I possess an even greater respect for you. And I didn't think that was possible.

(Posted 08/08/2007)

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