“Garnish with eggs; detonate; let congeal.”
Ah, Thanksgiving. The joy of paging through one’s heirloom cookbooks, contemplating the treasured recipes of the past: the ginger-and-cardamom spiced cookies, the wholesome breads, the… cream of asparagus soup in lime gelatin with minted mayonnaise? Are you kidding me?
If you’ve ever stared at the pages of old cookbooks in horror, if you’ve wondered how so many frankfurters came to be encased in gelatin on purpose, or how the aproned housewives of the 1950s fit into their wasp-waisted dresses and did they really have such curiously-pointed noses? This is the book for you. The Gallery of Regrettable Food is the MST3K of cookbooks, the most badly-conceived and poorly-photographed dishes of the 1940s-1960s served up with all of the mockery and occasional stunned silence they deserve.
The meats that even Anthony Bourdain wouldn’t sample… the gelatin molds that would leave Chef Ramsay at a loss for four-letter words… all are here in the less-than-glorious technically-it’s-color photography of the vintage cookbook, where slabs of meat reign supreme and a speck of pepper is spice enough to make a dish “devilish.” Peruse chapters such as “Glop in a Pot,” “Poultry for the Glum,” and “It’s the 1950s and Everyone’s Human but Mom!” Reminisce about the Jell-O salads and egg-and-olive penguin garnishes of yesteryear. Be thankful that none of the dishes on your Thanksgiving table look like these.
Originally inspired by the official recipe book of the North Dakota State Durum Wheat Commission (“the basic appeal of Durum macaroni foods is their chewy texture and bland flavor”), the Gallery of Regrettable Food began its life as a web site, where you can sample such highlights as:
- bleached scalp of Klingon,
- the Great Meat Glacier, and
- the unbearable sadness of vegetables…
- …with set design by Hitchcock
Check the WRL catalog for The Gallery of Regrettable Food.
Back for seconds? There’s a sequel: Gastroanomalies.