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Scary vintage recipes

How many of these terrors of the table do you remember?

The banana ones are particularly nightmare-inducing. But the little igloo meatloaf is kind of cute.

When I was a kid, my mom went through a serious health-food kick. The rule at every meal was "No matter what you think, you have to try at lesat one bite." Then, if you didn't like the brewer's yeast surprise or the kale cookies, you didn't have to eat them.

This rule stood until one morning when my brother barfed his one bite of wheat-germ-scrambled-eggs all over the breakfast table.

What's your scariest childhood food memory?


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Feb. 15th, 2016 04:58 am (UTC)

Hmmm. I don't know if I have a scary one? We've always been a "give it a try" family and I like a lot of stuff. What we don't like was then passed over or not forced on us, as a general rule.

Think think think.

I guess the worst thing was discovering that mum had to sift some of our grains and flour and stuff for weavils, overseas. That was gross, but I was also pragmatic about it? (Though we never ever told my brother.)

Feb. 21st, 2016 09:48 pm (UTC)
I guess the worst thing was discovering that mum had to sift some of our grains and flour and stuff for weavils, overseas.

Would that be the lesser of two weevils lol?!
Feb. 15th, 2016 06:47 am (UTC)
I'm sitting here at nearly 2 AM laughing out loud at these food...things.

My mom did make a couple of Jell-O loaf things in the 70s. Never anything with meat or seafood mash. I think there was one thing she mixed with sour cream and canned pineapple...? I probably still have the pamphlet with the recipe. She also did that rainbow Jell-O thing where you tilt the wine glass in the fridge and add more colors once the layers chill. That was pretty. Huh. Maybe I should...nah.
Feb. 21st, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC)
Actually the layered colors of jello is pretty neat. I just can't deal with jello that has creamy or chunky things in. Jello should just be, well, jello, right?
Feb. 21st, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
It gets an interesting ice-creamy texture if mixed with creamy things and then frozen. In a loaf shape. And then sliced. With colored chunks in it. Like maraschino cherries. Which I remember buying in the 1970s but I don't think I have touched in decades. So pretty, though!

It's the creamed seafood with artificial fruit-flavored gelatin that sends me right over the edge, screaming.
Feb. 15th, 2016 07:39 am (UTC)

On a related note, I have performed this delightful novelty/cabaret song by a legit composer, and I'm not sure that I ever appreciated its verisimilitude.

Feb. 21st, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC)
OMG that song is A RIOT!!!
Feb. 15th, 2016 11:45 am (UTC)
Fortunately, my mom never made any of those concoctions. Strictly meat, potatoes, and veg. No salad at all... which is better than being served jello salad I'm sorry, but JELLO IS NOT A SALAD!!! It is a DESSERT! Sorry to yell, but although I never had to face one of those things in my own home, Paul's aunt Marie and her compatriots used to make them and call them "salad". I would just pass it along the table without taking any and without comment, unless someone was rude enough to point out that I hadn't taken any. Then I would simply say that I don't eat "sweets". Which isn't entirely true. I eat sweets on occasion. But NEVER as a salad course!

Jello salads! What a thing to be confronted with over morning tea! I'm certainly awake now!
Feb. 21st, 2016 09:50 pm (UTC)

You're preachin' to the choir here, sister. I'm with you 100%!
Feb. 15th, 2016 01:36 pm (UTC)
That was fascinating! Thanks for the link.

In my house (I think I'm slightly younger than the target audience here, but not much), Jello was strictly a dessert option. But what an option! We had all sorts of canned fruit in our Jello, plus Jello parfaits, plus Knox Blocks (Jello with extra gelatin, if I remember correctly), and cakes that had been dyed and streaked with Jello. :) M.
Feb. 21st, 2016 09:51 pm (UTC)
I can't deal with chunky jello. It's just...no, I don't even like to think about it lol
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Feb. 21st, 2016 09:53 pm (UTC)
What amuses me about these sorts of midcentury grossout recipes is that they simultaneously assume you want to use prepackaged/instant everything for maximum ease, but are willing to spend an hour+ arranging those things into pineapples/igloos/gardens.

I know, right??? I guess that must have been how you showed your mad culinary skillz: since you didn't have to actually COOK anything, you had to DISPLAY. Kind of like, I don't know, this guy.
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Feb. 15th, 2016 09:42 pm (UTC)
Most of that is rather LOL what?

I now think that it is a blessing that Germany never got Jello.

BUT! The carved hot dog dish looks like one of the staples of Austrian ski resort foods and makes me very hungry for a hearty Heidi-esque meal. I really need to go skiing next year. Need!

The banana candle is so nicely pornographic that I am tempted to make this my dish for the next Christmas get together with my ex-colleagues. They would appreciate that.

We had rather cutesy 60s and 70s foods: half a tomato on top of a boiled egg, decorated with dots of mayonnaise - voila! Toadstool!


Also: cheese hedgehogs:


Actually, things were made to look so ridiculously pretty, that the party food of the 60s and 70s is having a bit of a comeback in Germany luckily I have inherited the cookbooks from my grandma and don't have to buy the new editions ;)

Feb. 21st, 2016 09:54 pm (UTC)
LOVE the tomato toadstool lol! If you do make the pornana thing you must promise to take/share pictures XD
Feb. 15th, 2016 10:27 pm (UTC)
At various times of my life, I have rubbed elbows with the very privileged. One of them told a story about a luncheon at their home where a school friend referred to a lobster in aspic dish as "wicked Jello".

I feel the friend had the right of it.

From my youth I recall a casserole of rice and canned tomatoes topped with cheese. I do not recall liking it much.

But it was better than green bean casserole. * shudders *


Oh! Then there was the time my mom was frying liver (nightmare right there), the thing started flapping about in the pan, throwing hot grease all over me. My hand to God, the thing flopped out of the pan onto the floor. My big brother pinned it with a butcher knife. This may explain my interest in knife-throwing.

Edited at 2016-02-15 10:32 pm (UTC)
Feb. 16th, 2016 04:17 pm (UTC)

German food must have set me up to like all things horrible.

Now I am hungry for carved hot dogs, fried liver with apples and onions and herring salad (went off on an image-search tangent).

Not necessarily all at once. Or even on the same day.
Feb. 21st, 2016 10:00 pm (UTC)
I will actually admit to liking fried liver and onions. I've never had it with apples but it sounds pretty damn good.
Feb. 23rd, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
It's a Berlin specialty - mashed potatoes with fried apples, onions and liver.

It's also quite good without he liver ;)
Feb. 21st, 2016 09:55 pm (UTC)
...a school friend referred to a lobster in aspic dish as "wicked Jello".

::dies:: Oh that is priceless XD
Feb. 16th, 2016 08:51 pm (UTC)
Are you familiar with James Lileks' books on this sort of topic, The Gallery of Regrettable Food and Gastroanomalies? Pretty funny stuff. Although often, I think, when you actually read the ingredients they aren't that terrible, maybe bland and boring, but frequently it's just awful food photography. The idea of foods arranged to look like other things or other foods probably goes back at least to medival "sotelties".

That said, my mother had a lot of those Sunset cookbooks that had some of the worst offenders. Thankfully I was never made to eat anything that weird (but then, my childhood was mostly in the 80s and early 90s, not the 50s-70s). And say what you like, I actually kind of like layered Jello desserts with or without fruit in them. "Ribbon salad" (lime, cherry, and cream cheese or sour cream blended into lemon for the "white" layer) was traditional for us at Christmas for a while and we also sometimes had "under the sea salad" (canned pears and I forget what all in probably lime Jello since it turns pale green when you put the sour gream in it).

Vegetable salads, though, ugh. Why, why, why. Especially that one with like, asparagus and bloody hot dogs and I forget what shit. WHY.
Feb. 21st, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
Are you familiar with James Lileks' books on this sort of topic, The Gallery of Regrettable Food and Gastroanomalies? Pretty funny stuff.

No, but I'm definitely going to go hunt them up -- thanks!

Edit: OMG the summary over on GoodReads is hilarious XD

Edited at 2016-02-21 09:57 pm (UTC)
Feb. 19th, 2016 06:41 am (UTC)
Can't say we've ever seen let alone run into these recipes up here, eh. For scary food memories 1 I kind of caused was bringing my fish casseroles during my university days to my office hours for clubs or my commissioner (hockey, baseball, clubs) sessions and being too close to a fan in the room that basically made sure everyone knew what I was eating, and most of my friends were (and still are) not seafood fans. But the #1 childhood food memory that haunts me today is simply this: DURIAN. It's an Asian fruit that some claim tastes good but DEAR that smell! Go look it up, safer than smelling it.
Feb. 21st, 2016 09:59 pm (UTC)
I make tuna noodle casserole a lot, and I'm always of two minds about whether it's OK to bring leftovers to the office :) I have heard of durian fruit. It appears to be some kind of demonic infliction upon humanity, as near as I can tell. Ugh.
Mar. 10th, 2016 07:09 pm (UTC)
That immediately made me think of these posts by Wilson Library at UNC: http://wilsonlibunc.tumblr.com/tagged/recipes

The best part is, they have staff make the recipes and have a taste test. The comments are hilarious.
Mar. 12th, 2016 12:11 am (UTC)
Wow, those are awesome lol! The chicken pudding is pretty scary...
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