"Everyone Grab A Fork And Dig In"
Not every meal that's prepared for the family must have gourmet ingredients. In fact, some of the most enjoyable meals are the ones that are the simplest to throw together.
Weight Watchers has done it again. With just a few slices of bread, some diced hotdogs, and a healthy portion of condiments, any family can chow down on this easy-to-make Frankfurter Pie.
"Everyone's Presents Are Under The Tree"
Every year leading up to the holidays, people rush to and fro in an attempt to make everything just right for their big family holiday dinner. Sometime in the middle of the last century, Oscar Mayer released their idea for how to be known as the "host(ess) with the most(est)"...
Those are not Hostess Twinkies hanging on that little tree, they are meats. As long as there are no pets at home, this isn't the worst idea for an appetizer, however, if it's the holidays, it might be a good idea to go with the good meat.
The middle of the 20th century was a profitable time for the people who created Spam. It was a lump of cheap canned meat with a long expiry date, what's not to like? The problem was getting the kids to eat their veggies.
Mmmm. Spam 'N' Limas. A casserole that's layered, from top to bottom, with both items and baked in a mixture of canned tomatoes, onions, and green pepper. If they weren't eating their veggies before, I'm not sure this is going to help very much.
"If That's Perfection, I'm Fine Being Mediocre"
By looking at the salads and salad alternatives that are on this list, it's clear that last century people were not as enthusiastic about healthy eating as they are today.
This is called the "Perfection Salad", but is clearly anything but that. As recent as 50 years ago, to get kids to eat salad, parents used to resort to gelatinous molds mixed with dressing and filled with veggies.
"Just A Small Slice For The Missus"
When going to a barbeque or a picnic, it's almost a guarantee that someone will be bringing potato salad. What kind of potato salad it will, now, that is the question. Will it have pickles or not have pickles? Will it be chunky or creamy? Only time will tell...
One type of potato salad that I'm sure most people would not be expecting, is the kind that's infused with gelatin. It's not even a salad anymore. It's more like a potato log than anything. No one wants to ask for a slice of potato salad log, it just sounds nasty.
"Anyone Seen Jimmy?"
Some vintage recipes sound terrible but don't look too bad. But some look like something straight out of a horror film.
It looks like the local cannibal used whatever leftovers they had at home, and tossed in a handful of frozen shrimp when they prepared this Shrimp Aspic Mold for the neighborhood BBQ.
"That Poor Melon"
In the middle of the 20th century, there were a few menu items that would sneak their way into as many meals as they could. Most of them had some sort of gelatenous texture.
Stuffing a skinned honeydew with a raspberry gelatine mixture and coating it in Philly cream cheese, does not make it a salad. Without the gelatine, this actually sounds tasty.
"All Food Should Be Shaped Like Cake"
Expecting a large group of people for brunch this weekend and desperately in need of food for the affair? There's only one choice for something that's easy to make, easy to clean up after, and a can't miss amongst partygoers.
Between its multiple layers and "icing", a party sandwich cake has something for everyone. Remember not to slice too large of a slice of this cake, or else there won't be room later on for the cake the really matters.
If the chef of the household is looking for something with a bit more nutritional value than Spam, but hoping to steer clear of high-calorie foods, there's always chicken to fall back on.
Some roast chicken, a can of chicken broth, and some Knox gelatine (but only if it's the REAL unflavored stuff) are all it takes to make a wonderful Silhouette Salad. A taste of this gelatinous chicken ring is all that's needed in order to make someone feel like nothing more than a shadow of who they were before subjecting themselves to this "salad".
"It's Not What You're Thinking"
Housewives, in the early part of the 20th century, would constantly be experimenting with new ways of how to please their husbands. Some of them got a bit more creative than others.
Great for either an appetizer or dessert, this is a candle salad. The pineapple base must be large enough to support the banana candle, but not too big that it takes the focus away from the cherry flame or melted candle wax (either cream or salad dressing).
Feeling like getting a little bit crazy with tonight's meal? Well, with a little bit of imagination, even a frankfurter has the potential to be part of a spectacular meal.
Baking a pineapple, that's been wrapped in frankfurters, and then garnishing it with chunks of that very same pineapple and an assortment of veggies truly is a spectacular sight to see.
"They've Been Framed"
An Egg in a frame (or egg in a basket) is an old breakfast favorite because they're delicious and fun to eat. But they're just not that filling.
Problem solved. Just spread some mashed-up kipper fillets onto toast, grill it up nicely, and then crack an egg into the center of this creation. A little extra protein in the morning never hurt anyone.
"That Is Not The 'Joey Special'!"
After decades of eating gelatine and mayo with everything, the '70s and '80s led to a health craze that has continued to this day.
Unsuspecting families have been their household's chef's test subjects for years. Telling kids that they're having pizza for dinner will definitely get them excited, but once they sit down at the table, they won't see this as pizza. They'll see it as a cruel trick, and one that they'll remember.
Pineapple upside-down cake is a dessert that, when prepared properly, looks and tastes unbelievable. It was only a matter of time before someone took the idea and "Frankensteined" it.
A journey through the ghosts of recipes past wouldn't be complete without taking a look at this Spam Upside-Down Pie. It's got cheese. It's got horseradish. It's got a biscuit base. And, of course, Spam. The Spam Upside-Down Pie is the perfect dinner for a family that prefers dessert.
"The Great Prawn Massacre of the 20th Century"
Prawns have long been somewhat of a delicacy in most Western countries, but are usually quite expensive. The high cost of the sea dweller has spawned some fairly creative methods about how to stretch a small number of prawns, across many portions, and still appear to be part of the upper-middle class.
This filling of chopped apple, mayo, prawns, pickles, and tomato paste is given a little extra flair with a dash of tabasco and a few stuffed olives. This dish is best served chilled and it's recommended to fill the apples just before serving, but let's be honest, it probably doesn't matter.
"Anyone For A Cocktail?"
Are the evening's guests getting on everyone's nerves? Dinner hasn't even started yet and one of them keeps making inappropriate jokes while the other has become drunk and unruly.
Try serving them Jellied Tomato Refreshers. This mix of tomato juice, gelatine, and beef bouillon is the perfect dish to send (almost) any guest running to the closest exit.
"Nature's Potato, The Potato"
If the kids are refusing to eat their potatoes, don't worry. More than half a century ago someone at Kraft came up with the only clear solution for children who do not enjoy potatoes. Potato fudge.
Fudge nugglets are for the child who refuses to eat a baked potato with fudge on it. Alternatively, they insist on their parents cutting the potatoes into cubes and cooking them in melted potato fudge.
"You Sure That's Not Supposed To Be For The Dog?"
They say that "good things come to those who wait", but they never tell us how long we need to wait. If the saying is accurate, which it must be because "they" say it, then Beef Sticks must be incredible...
Beef Sticks are perfect for the family that's tired of eating Spam and gelatine-based foods and are willing to wait 4 and a half days to eat something a bit different.
"How Can It Be Pregnant If They Scoop Out Its Seeds?"
For many years, there has been a trend of parents trying to trick their children into eating their veggies. One of the more common methods is to bake the vegetables with meat and hope that the flavor soaks in.
Stuffing cucumbers with a meat and veg mince just sounds wrong. Cucumbers aren't turkeys, they don't stretch very well. Even the cucumber in the illustration looks less than impressed about the whole situation.
"Ooo, What's The Occasion?"
As we make another visit to the Spam section of our journey back through culinary brilliance, we come to a recipe that helps to show the true adaptability of Spam.
That's right, Spam isn't just for baking or eating right out of the can. When someone's partner has had a long hard day at work, a great way to make them feel better is by making them feel special. Try grilling sliced Spam along with some bananas and asparagus on any stovetop grill. Before they know it, the tough day will have melted away with all of the nutritional value these bananas and veggies once had.
"It's Exactly What It Sounds Like"
Some of the meals that were being used 70 years ago, make it seem as though 70 years is a lot longer than it actually is.
People actually served this to their families. Frozen cheese on a plate, surrounded by broccoli bits. It's definitely cost-efficient, and having this Frozen Cheese Salad on the menu should help with weight loss as well.
"It Tastes Off"
It must be fairly obvious by now that many of these old recipes are focused on getting kids to eat healthily without realizing they're doing it. The same strategy was used in order to get them to drink milk.
Milk is already delicious, there is no reason that anyone should have been adding anything to it (other than chocolate), especially a fizzy drink. Carbonated milk sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
"You Don't Make Friends With Salad...Or This Thing"
Holiday-themed dishes are usually a big hit with people, especially when a fire is involved. It helps if the food is, at least, slightly edible though.
Meant to be served as a starter salad, this "cranberry candle" is made mostly of cranberry sauce, gelatine, and mayo. After being chilled into form, it's plated up and served while the flame is burning. That doesn't sound very "salady" to me.
"What? No Gelatine?"
For those who are a little short on cash but still hoping to throw together a meal with some nutritional value, fear not, Weight Watchers has the answer to almost all the low-budget-related culinary questions that one might have.
For a nice light lunch, try filling celery sticks with either egg or potato salad, and then let them chill until ready to be eaten. It's amazing how filling and refreshing these sticks could be, depending on what's used to fill them, of course.
"The Palm Jumeirah. Oh, Wait A Second..."
Planning a small gathering for a few close friends and looking for the perfect addition to the backyard picnic table?
Look no further than this carrot palm tree. The egg whites and yolks have been chopped separately in order to punctuate the tree's appearance and minimize its flavor.
"No Carbs, It's Fine"
Regardless of how much money someone makes or what they do for a living, everybody's family deserves to be treated like royalty.
Weight Watchers understands that kings are not born but, much like this "Crown Roast of Frankfurts", they're made. It's unclear, however, as to why this made it into the Weight Watchers recipe card book. This doesn't look like it's going to be helping anyone shed a few pounds any time soon.
"This Recipe Is Bananas"
There are certain foods that, although are great on their own or with other meals, should probably never meet in the same recipe.
These ham-wrapped bananas are smothered in hollandaise sauce and for some reason, unbeknownst to me, someone thought they were a sufficient enough meal to be served to their family. Someone even took the time and money to publish this recipe: 1. Take six bananas. 2. Wrap them in sliced ham. 3. Place ham-wrapped bananas in a casserole dish. 4. Pour hollandaise across the center of the ham slices. 5. Apologize to family.
When groceries are running low at home, it's time for the smorgasbord meal. There's usually one or two meals of the week that end up being a mash-up of all remaining leftovers from the prior week. These meals are the "smorgasbord" meals.
Forget about using sliced bologna to make dinner tonight. Go big or go home by using full logs of bologna, surrounding them with sliced bananas and a mix of other fruits, then baking this Jubilee to perfection.
"On Second Thought, Garlic Bread Will Be Just Fine"
Tired of regular appetizers and hoping to impress tonight's dinner guests with something new and unexpected? Dinner guests would definitely be caught off-guard by the Almonds-In-A-Haystack appetizer.
What could possibly sound more appealing than a mountain of chopped ham mixed with pickle relish and onions, covered in a Miracle Whip and cream cheese layer, and topped with slivered almonds? Oh yeah, almost anything else.
"Maybe We Throw This One Back?"
When sitting down to a meal, most people would rather not recognize the animal they're about to eat. It personalizes the experience and makes it harder to enjoy the meal.
That won't be a problem with this tuna casserole shaped like a fish. Made out of A1 sauce, gelatine, mayo, cream cheese, tomato soup, and, of course, tuna, chances are it would be difficult to enjoy this thing no matter what it was shaped like.
"Whip It, Whip It Good"
Tired of how messy salads look when being served? I know I am. Well, with just a little Miracle (Whip) and a lot of effort, tonight's salad can be so good that it should be illegal.
By hollowing out the center of a head of lettuce, filling it with a deviled ham mixture, and putting a healthy-sized dollop of Miracle Whip in the center, every bite of this deviled lettuce will feel like a sin.
"It Tastes Like Feet"
Having trouble getting the family to eat their veggies? Try making all of their dinners look like cake instead. It's amazing what changing the shape of someone's food can do for their appetite.
The Terrine of Garden Vegetables is essentially a Shepphard's Pie without the meat. Carrots...good. Leeks, green peas...good, artichokes...GOOD. What's not to like?
"Not On My Patio"
They say that a large part of how enjoyable someone finds a meal comes from the appearance of the dish, but no matter how good some meals look, nothing can be done to improve their tastes.
Mixing frozen lemonade, gelatine, Miracle Whip (or mayo), and a can of fruit cocktail together, and letting it set in the fridge, does not make someone a gourmet chef. It does, however, make me question their intentions.
"Anyone For A Slice Of Salad?"
Whether it's a ring, a mountain, a fish, or a loaf, people have been finding more and more ways to shape their gelatinous foods, in order to make them appear more appealing to those about to eat them.
I don't think that peas and mayo stuffed into a gelatine loaf, that appears to be made out of ham, should be served as a "Super Salad Loaf". Tell someone that the salad loaf is coming out next and take a gander at their reaction when they see this placed in front of them on the table.
"There's Not Always Room..."
Somehow, JELL-O evolved from a dessert food to part of the main dish. People actually prepared meals for their families that were based around JELL-O.
It's beyond me how anyone could have served cottage cheese-filled JELL-O with a seafood or meat medley topping to their families. It seems suitable for hiding a chisel in and sending it to someone in prison, but that's about it.
Trying to keep meals interesting for the family is an exhausting endeavor. There are only so many ways that someone can cook Spam or mold gelatine. Sometimes, it's just easier to go back to the basics, but with a twist.
These Corn Bologna Boats just might be the solution that a family with a child who's a picky eater is after. With all of the veggies being within the 'boat', the only logical way to get to the bologna is for the child to eat their veggies first...or to dump the mix into the bread and eat the meat. But it's a kid, surely, they won't figure that out.
"Do You Chew It First, Or Just Swallow?"
It's hard to imagine eating gelatin as the main ingredient in most meals, but for those who grew up in the middle of the last century, that's pretty close to reality.
Chock full of pimento and mayo goodness, and topped with fresh canned tuna, the Monterey Souffle Salad is the only logical alternative if the ingredients for a Patio Platter are not readily accessible at home.
"Too Bad, So Sad"
If Spam 'N' Limas aren't quite cutting it anymore, and the family needs a bit of a change, this Ham 'N' Lima Bean Sadness casserole might be the perfect substitute.
Adding gelatine and a layer of carrots to the mix should be enough to shake things up a bit and keep things interesting. Why is it called "Ham 'N' Lima Bean Sadness"? One taste will clarify that as well.
"Taking It Up A Notch"
If the old family recipes STILL aren't quite cutting it anymore, and the family STILL needs a bit of a change, sometimes a bit of an artistic eye is all that's needed in order to spice things up.
I've got to admit, this one is pretty great. If the kids are tired of meatloaf, try making an Igloo Loaf. It looks 'cool' and combining the meat, mashed potato, and gravy into one dish cuts back on the amount of serving dishes that will need to be cleaned after dinner.
"Where Are The Straws?"
It's always interesting to see other people's takes on what they believe qualifies a meal for having embodied the qualities of foreign local cuisine.
Frozen shrimp and canned mandarin oranges on a platter of lettuce...this doesn't look like a meal that will be leaving our tastebuds screaming for more. And the only thing "Mexican" about this is that margarita bowl centerpiece.