Get ready for holiday entertaining with the recipes in The Gallery of Regrettable Food, James Lileks's hilarious survey of recipes from the 40s, 50s, and 60s! Focusing on cookbooks put out by food companies and associations, Lileks went through such culinary masterpieces as Cooking with 7-Up, Victory Meat Enders (National Live Stock and Meat Board), Specialties of the House (North Dakota State Wheat Commission), Toast and Things (Toastmaster Company), How Famous Chefs Use Campfire Marshmallows, It's Dessert Time! (from Jell-O--dust off those jello molds), and Cooking for a Man (A-1 Steak Sauce), gleaning a bewildering array of dishes, complete with original photographs and retro illustrations.
Some of my favorites include: 7-Up cheese-filled pancakes, creamed brains on toast (perfect for that zombie party you're planning for next Halloween), spaghetti a la diable, harlequin spinach (made with Heinz Ketchup), standing frankfurter roast (looks sort of like a standing rib roast, tastes like, well, yeah, hot dogs), sardines with cheese sauce, Benedictish frankwiches (looks like eggs benedict, tastes like hot dogs with cheese sauce), and cucumber and salmon jello mold (not making this up). Lileks's sardonic commentary livens up what could have been a pretty grim look at American cooking. Still unsure what to serve your guests? Check the Milwaukee Public Library's Historic Recipe File.
Chris @ Bay View