Someone Call Terry Gilliam, STAT!

This happened on my Facebook page the other day. To preface: I had just read that Oliver Stone is planning to direct a movie about Edward Snowden. Even better, as part of the source material for his script, Stone has optioned a fictionalized novel about Snowden, written by Snowden’s lawyer in Russia. Because that makes sense. It would certainly help guarantee that, true to form as an Oliver Stone vehicle, this upcoming film will be blissfully unencumbered by things like reason, or facts.

I’ll grant him Platoon. He had one good movie, but Oliver Stone is generally…paranoid and ham-fisted, neither of which are traits I enjoy seeing on their own. Together?  Hoooo-weeeee! And I digress.

So I posted this on my Facebook page and then…well…read on.

 

A convergence of Garys. Plus, a bonus no-share smackdown by my mother. Go, Mom-O-Rama!

A convergence of Garys. Plus, a bonus no-share smackdown by my mother. Go, Mom-O-Rama!

Call. Terry GilliamNOWWWWWWWWWW.

I’m picturing Baron Munchausen meets Time Bandits, and Edward Snowden will land in Russia in a flying pirate ship. Oliver Stone will HAVE TO be played by Eddie Izzard in full drag.

Tout est parfait! Picture from whatculture.com

Tout est parfait!
Picture from whatculture.com

I got’cher close-up riiiiiiiiiiight heeeeeeeeere, Mr. Stone.

Terry Gilliam, I look forward to hearing from your people very soon.

p.s. My friends rule.

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Flea Market Find: The Story of Cane Sugar

…which sounds like it could be a porno, but it isn’t.  Instead, it’s a pamphlet that is–best as I can figure–printed before 1941, when the Pennsylvania Sugar Company was taken over by the National Sugar Refining Company. I’m only guessing that because there’s nary a hint of anything about National Sugar on the pamphlet, and why wouldn’t a parent company promote itself?

It's like a map. Did they give these out at gas stations?

It’s like a map. Did they give these out at gas stations? And what are those guys sitting on the boxes of sugar supposed to be?  Elves? Railway workers? I honestly can’t tell. Front and back covers.

As a side note, I *love* all the doodles on the cover. I used to do much the same thing when I was a kid; I’d write on anything and everything. I even remember writing on a bottle of baby powder, though I don’t remember why I needed to claim that as my own. Please note that in the bottom left corner, in the space surrounding the teacher in the blue dress, some imp wrote: Miss Wangor, The Old Crab. (At least, I think it says crab. Any and all other guesses welcome.) And I digress.

I came across this bizarrely charming little pamphlet while crawling among the racks at the much-beloved Street of Shops. The pamphlet is an anomaly of sorts, a throwback to an earlier time, when…

…ummm…

I actually don’t understand what this is. Not that I don’t understand what a pamphlet is, I just don’t understand why/where/how/the reasoning behind the Pennsylvania Sugar Co. printing up pamphlets to be distributed…where?

See what I mean?

But the fact is, I don’t really care why they made it, I just care that they did. These sorts of “modern miracles” economic history printings really speak to the idea of some kind of grandiose dreams of expansionism and empire. Anyway. Getting to it…

Why don't they finish the instructions for chocolate cake???

Why don’t they finish the instructions for chocolate cake??? HOW WILL I EVER MAKE THIS CORRECTLY?

The above image with its disappointing cake recipe was found on the inside pages, when you open it like a book. And then it folds out, first into a tri-fold that I have more-or-less stitched back together for you.

Sugar Cane trifold

Come visit the enticing world of sugar harvesting.

I love that the artwork is all scrolling and pirate-y and a completely romanticized glossing of the sugar industry, largely harvested thanks to slave labor or poverty-level wage earners. The industry saw a significant amount of unrest in the 1930s (i.e., roughly around the time this pamphlet was printed, and these links are but a few small examples). But it’s all good, right?  Because Nancy Tice reminds housewives: Sugar is one of the most necessary foods in the family diet (see the back cover image if you don’t believe me). So that makes it all OK, right? I also love that Thailand is still referred to as Siam and the rest of the Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam/Myanmar peninsula has been lumped together by western mapmakers as one big “Indo-China“. Who needs specifics when you’re pirating the sugar trade and working with slave labor? Yo ho, me hearties!

But then.

And then.

The entire pamphlet opens up into a centerfold of sugary awesome, as the Pennsylvania Sugar Co. examines the total process of sugar production, from harvest to loading to ships steaming in to Philly, through production and then onto the trucks for distribution unto a hungry world clamoring for sweetness.

Centerfold? Hey, this did turn sexy!

Centerfold? Hey, this did turn sexy!

Oh, for a simpler time, when no one balked at the idea of using cheap labor, and the world was ours to harvest at will!

One question: what have they got going on in Louisiana?  While the world labors to make sugar affordable for all Americans, are the Louisianians…sitting around playing banjo? Is that it?

As gloriously jingoistic and kind of craptastic as this pamphlet is, I’m still having a hard time trying to understand its practical benefits. Mainly because I can’t figure out when or where this would have been distributed. I mean, sure, at the grocery store, but that begs the question of the consumer: why would you take it in the first place? Though–believe me–I know why I paid one entire dollar for this baby, and it was worth all 100 pennies. Hells to the yeah.

FYI: This scanned e-book is an interesting way to explore the concept of economic and trade pamphleting, but its writing style is dry and old-timey, so be prepared that it’s kind of like reading through sandpaper.

SCORE!

I was in the flea-markety basement of Street of Shops, the closest thing I’ve seen to a bazaar for freaks, weeding through old dishes and dated cookbooks and discarded dolls and rusted cookie tins. Lest you wonder why I was there, you can find treasures at the Street of Shops. I’ve found the dishes I use every day. I’ve found some great furniture.  And today, I found…this.

BRING ME SOLO AND THE WOOKIE.

BRING ME SOLO AND THE WOOKIE.

That’s right. It’s an orange lucite deer, chained around the throat to its own fawns.  And the whole deer family looks a little deranged.

A boy's best friend is his mother, Norman.

A boy’s best friend is his mother, Norman.

Not that it’s not understandable. Because as much as I love my mother, I don’t think I’d thrive if I was chained to her.

I LOVE MURDER.

I LOVE MURDER.
And apples.

I have them set up so that they’ll blaze bright every morning in the rising sun, because who doesn’t want to feast their eyes on that every day while making one’s coffee?

Seriously. What.

Seriously. What.

Even my adorable woodland deer salt and pepper shakers look on in bewilderment. George pointed out to me that I paid good money for them and I maintain that they would be a bargain at twice the price. Because you don’t just come across beauties like this every day.

I can’t believe someone got rid of them in the first place.

Score!

Travel Theme: Winter

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa’s travel theme is the seasonally appropriate “winter”.  Cool.  Pun intended.  It’s my favorite season.  Actually, they all are except for summer, of which regular readers have come to realize I am no fan.  Mostly, and especially this week, winter (for me) is nearly synonymous with Christmas, so there’s a reasonable amount of Christmas in this mix.  It’s not always about ladies in red velvety dresses with crisp white fur trim…

…except when it is.  I was recently visiting family in Myrtle Beach, who thought it would be great to go see the Carolina Opry‘s Christmas Spectacular, matinee, for my birthday (which just passed, two days after I totaled my car).  I might have been the youngest person there.  It was a delicious cheesefest.  I knew we were in for a real treat when, not ten minutes into it, Rita Gumm–the First Lady of the Carolina Opry–glided onto the stage, in a horse-drawn sleigh.

BEHOLD! Rita Gumm, the First Lady of the Carolina Opry!

BEHOLD! Winter in South Carolina.

That is some dress, my friends, red and vibrant as a Carolina sunset.  It was a Christmas miracle.

Winter for me means decorations and sparkly things, and the decorations can be elegant and beautiful or whimsical and sweet.  I love this penguin.  It was given to me by a friend and former co-worker who I adore, and we all know penguins = snow and ice and snow and ice = winter.

Yay, decorations and sparkly things to brighten up dreary winter nights!

Yay, decorations and sparkly things to brighten up dreary winter nights!

While driving down to South Carolina, we stopped in a grim little restaurant with uninspired food and faded, 1930s-era cabbage rose wallpaper in the main dining room.  I’d say what restaurant it was but I’m hoping to extort them for hush money (*cough cough* Shamrock).  Anyway.  So the food was uninteresting (I think I’m still getting over my sodium headache) and bizarrely expensive, and left me feeling as though I’d been tricked somehow.  But you know?  The surroundings, at the foot of the Catoctin Mountain Ridge?  When they were heavy with fresh snow?  Were fantastic.

Out back behind The Restaurant That Shall Remain Nameless (Shamrock).

Out back behind The Restaurant That Shall Remain Nameless (Shamrock).

Closer to home, my little ‘burg has an annual tree lighting and high-school-chorus-singing ceremony, that takes place in the town square with the frilly street lamps and the absolutely frigging enormous tree that has to be strung with fancy lights thanks to the use of a cherry picker.  Or maybe the town keeps a de-toothed bumble in the maintenance shed.  Off camera there’s a gazebo.  It’s insanely picturesque, and I live here.

Did I mention the art deco movie theater and the overall cool architecture?

Did I mention the art deco movie theater and the overall cool architecture?

And finally…

No winter in recent memory has been complete without a trip to see my former Russian professor.  She lives just outside of Boston and YES, I go north in the winter.  Judge me for it, I don’t care.  It’s the most snug and welcoming house in the world, filled with great conversation and lovely people and delicious food.  While we were there this past February it snowed big fat flakes, giving me an eye-feast from Elena’s cheerful kitchen window.

IMG_0071-001

This is one of my favorite places no matter what season, but for me? It’s extra-special in the winter.

This is a relationship in which I consider myself incredibly lucky.

Have fun checking out the rest of the participants at Ailsa’s place this week!

Word a Week Challenge: Unexpected

I’ve never participated in the Word a Week Challenge, though I often check it out.  HOWEVER.  This was too good to resist, as I’ve been waiting for the right forum in which to post these photos.  I took them about a year ago; my boyfriend was driving and I was thrilled I had the time to grab my camera.

Huh. How 'bout that?

Huh. How ’bout that?

In case you’re not sure what you’re looking at, let me assure you: it is, indeed, an 18-wheeler hauling a very securely strapped down toy truck.

That's not something you see every day.

That’s not something you see every day.

I think the toy even had a “Wide Load” sign attached to it.

Just because it’s unexpected doesn’t mean it’s unwelcome.

Travel Theme: Costume

Ailsa’s travel theme this week involves costume.  How do people wear them?  Where do they wear them?  Why do they wear them, if they’re not on a stage?

Admit it, we’re all, always, on stage.  Some of us are just more apt to dress that way than others.  So here are a few memorable costumes I’ve run across while going about my business.

In Boston…which is always good for finding some kind of people in some kind of costume somewhere…a historical re-enactor grabs a sandwich and a beer at The Green Dragon, which was home turf for the planning of the battle at Lexington and Concord.  Bonus: the food is good, and the bartenders are awesome.

Hail, barkeep! A plate of ye olde nachos, make haste!

Hail, barkeep! A plate of ye olde nachos, make haste!

When I was in Paris, I happened upon a living statue street performer, dressed a little bit like the love child of Neo and Uncle Creepy.  Imagine my total excitement when I realized I immortalized him forever mid-poke.  It’s like catching the ventriloquist moving his lips.  Day=made.

Slick. But not slick enough.

Slick. But not slick enough.

When in Bayville, NJ, I was hanging out with my dreadfully handsome brother, who was handed a pair of costume glasses to return to his wife, who had left them behind at some Halloween party they’d gone to.  One perfectly timed picture later…

I think the fact that the glasses are upside down makes this  even more charming.

I think the fact that the glasses are upside down makes this photo even more charming.

Love you, big bro!

Moving on, to the Vatican.  Everything you’ve heard about the elaborate costuming worn by the Swiss Guard?  All true.  (Not accounting, of course, for the many many many  blazered and earpieced and guns-in-forearm-slide-holsters undercover security walking around.  You don’t take pictures of them.  Or maybe you could, but I didn’t want to try my luck.)

Well, helloooo, Mr. Fancypants.

Well, helloooo, Mr. Fancypants.

Annnnd…

Right here in beautiful downtown Lewisburg we have an annual “Victorian” parade (which is much more thematically engaging than your standard Christmas parade), and all the marchers dress up in costumes.  You have characters from works of literature like A Christmas Carol and Mary Poppins.  (And p.s. if you’ve got a problem with me linking to Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, then you meet me in the school yard at 3:00.)  Anyway.  So there I was, at the Victorian Parade and what becostumed thing to I see rolling toward me but…

A Christmas dalek.

EXTERMINATE!

EXTERMINATE!

OK, so normally I stop at five photos (for no reason except for just because), but since I have that picture of my big brother in doofy glasses, I figured I’d include one of me.  In my own doofy glasses.  So we may stand in solidarity.  This was taken at the local Halloween store.

Keepin' it sexy in the 'burg.

Keepin’ it sexy in the ‘burg.

There are so, so many reasons this picture cracks me up.  But mainly, it makes me feel like I should have had a starring role in the Beastie Boys‘ video for Sabotage.

So, that’s what I’ve got.  What groovy costumes have you run across in your life?  Join me at Ailsa’s!

So Long, Roger Ebert, and Thanks.

By now, we have all learned about–and, I hope, mourned–the passing of Roger Ebert.  The first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, he was also a keen-eyed social critic and a lot of fun to follow on Twitter.  Ebert’s life has already been eulogized here and here and here and…if you hit Google, you’ll find plenty more.  That is a conversation to which I cannot add.

But I can say thank you.  He was funny and thoughtful and eloquent and could write like a total motherfucker (I really need to sit down and study his style).  He once said about movies, “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.”  Cool.  Which is why I need to thank him, not just for his work as a film critic, but how he went about co-writing one of the greatest camp/cult classics ever spawned from human minds, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

It is not a sequel, indeed.

Actually that’s true, it’s not a sequel.  It has nothing to do with the book or movie Valley of the Dolls.  Written by Jacqueline Susann, the original Valley was a (theoretically) serious, soapy peek behind the showbiz curtains to a world full of chemical dependency.  It’s kind of a melodramatic nightmare, complete with swelling organ music and tight close-ups of tear-stained actresses having drug-addled fits, but it was crazy-successful.  Apparently, Fox initially asked Ms. Susann to write a sequel and then gave her script the finger, turning it over to Russ Meyer (king of the low-budget sexploitation flick) and his good friend, Roger Ebert.  Why they did that?  No one knows, and years later even Ebert admitted it was kind of a miracle.  It couldn’t be a “sequel” because Jacqueline Susann sued 20th Century Fox over the Meyer/Ebert work, claiming it was so tawdry she didn’t want there to be any connection between her work and theirs.

Whatever, lady.  Get over yourself.  Their film was better.

It is a murderous, violent, drug-addled flick filled with boobies and eyelashes and self-important people.  And it is hilarious.  Ebert said that in the six weeks it took to write the movie, he and Meyer spent their time laughing maniacally.  Part of the reason this film works so well, though, is that Meyer directed his cast as though it was a serious script.  It’s the same reason the character Lina Lamont works so well in Singin’ in the Rain; Jean Hagen knew Lina was someone who would take herself seriously and so playing her straight would create the comedy.  This is what Meyer banked on, and the clash of straight performance and WTF dialogue and situation makes us watch BVD with our head tilted a full 90 degrees, as though we are the dog confused by the ceiling fan.  As an added bonus, Meyer and Ebert gave the world an impressive list of  memorable lines, most notably “This is my happening, and it freaks me out!”, decades before Austin Powers ever uttered it.

(These clips?  Probably not safe for work or small children.  Consider yourself warned.)

Or this, uttered by the soon-to-be-future-ex-Mrs. Russ Meyer, Edy Williams.

And God knows I need to drive across the country with a map superimposed over my face, singing about “The Gentle People”.

BVD gave the world Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell.  Fast forward to 2003 and it becomes strangely, creepishly prescient that the walking freak show-drug swilling-gun (and, eventually, sword!) slinging-murderous record producer was modeled after Phil Spector.

Only perhaps without the bizarre pyramid-shaped breast buds.

I promise, people, if I find a video clip where Z-Man utters the immortal line, “Ere this night does wane, you will drink the black sperm of my vengeance!” I will without a moment’s hesitation post it.  Because really, folks.  Roger Ebert wrote that.  You hear someone say that, you know that shit’s about to get real.

That’s what BVD is, and that’s what makes it a great movie.  It may be dated and cartoonish and bear the marks of rampant substance abuse, but it does so completely unapologetically.  That’s how this movie presents itself.  The dialogue is often ridiculous and the plot is absurd, the camera work is pure camp.  And this movie is all that, joyously.  It’s one of the best movie experiences I’ve ever had.

So farewell, Roger Ebert and thanks for the crazy ride.  You will be missed.

Image from pophangover.com

What Cookery is This? The New Joys of Jell-O (1973)

Hooray for the flea market find!  There I was, looking for some kind of book that would craptastically inspire me and…voila!

How many joys can one dessert gelatin provide?

How many joys can one dessert gelatin provide?

Now, I am like you…or many of you, anyway…in that I am disturbed by the concept of Jell-O, particularly when there is foreign matter suspended in it (no offense, Bill Cosby).  Peaches.  Tuna.  Olives.  I’m not making that up; there is a recipe for a Nicoise salad in this book.  Nicoise.  Salad.  The thought of it makes me want to stab myself in the brain, though I suppose I should admire the Jell-O peoples’ recipe sensibilities.  If you gelatinize fish, please use the lemon Jell-O.  Once you accept that as a possibility, there’s nothing that stops a person from putting inedibles in the Jell-O.  Panties.  Key rings.  For Mardi Gras they can produce a Jell-O King Cake.  Who’s got the plastic baby?  (Mardi Gras people…you know you want this.  Call me.)  So an entire book dedicated to the concept of the artistry of Jell-O?

Nightmare fuel.

Which is precisely why I’m so thrilled to share this book with all of you.  For the record, I have the entire thing scanned so if there’s something I post that you want more information about…I’m here to help.  I would be curious to know why you wanted more info.  Not that I would deny you that info.  Just, you know.  Curious.

I need to preface this first Jell-O recipe with a story.  When George and I went to Savannah, we went in the summer.  It.  Was.  Hot.  It wasn’t just hot, it was (literally) “Do not go outside, the air quality is too poor” sort of hot.  C’est la vie.  One day while we were out in the city we saw a lovely little cafe (whose name escapes me, which is too bad because their food was fantastic) featuring gazpacho as their daily special.  Must eat!  Must have!  I adore gazpacho. It was the pick-me-up we both needed considering the weather.  Delightful.  Cool, refreshing, a little spicy, rich-yet-light, tomato-y, crunchy.  It was a delicious soup for sure, but this one sticks out in my memory because it was so perfect in its ability to refresh and delight.  What it was not, was encased in a lemon-flavored gelatin, getting slimy in the southern summer heat.

PAY ATTENTION, PEOPLE!  THIS IS A BOWL OF GAZPACHO EMBEDDED IN LEMON JELL-O.

Mmmm, a heaping, giant bowl of lemon Jell-O. And onions.

Mmmm, a heaping, giant bowl of lemon Jell-O. And onions..

Here’s the recipe, if anyone’s interested.  Do bear in mind: that gazpacho is solid.  SOLID.

Next, let me introduce you to the Jellied Fresh Vegetable Salad.  It’s a salad that’s primarily made from lemon Jell-O, boullion, and sour cream.  And then you add in things like celery and radishes and cucumbers, or–as I like to think of these ingredients–actual salad.

Really, it's a salad.

Really, it’s a salad.

Because I, for one, am anxious to eat my vegetables only–and I mean ONLY–when they are cleverly disguised as a milk glass lighting fixture.

Mmmm! This lamp looks delicious!

Part of the kitschtastic allure of Jell-O lies in its ability to mimic other things.  The lamp shade is a great example, but here are a few more.

The black and white Jell-O, for example, echoes the lines in the hostess’s dress.  It makes me feel like she is one with her tablescape.

La gélatine est très chic.

La gélatine est très chic.

I like how the hostess is positioned as though she’s coming out of the trifle dish.  And, props to the progressive nature of Jell-O, showing a mixed-race party in 1973.  After all, it was only ten years before that George Wallace was standing in the schoolhouse door, blocking integration efforts at the University of Alabama.  Fair play to Jell-O!

This next picture?  Doesn’t have the same sort of social implications.

Ding dong!  Creepy couple calling!

Ding dong! Creepy couple calling!

He: wearing the traditional creepster trench coat and smiling like he’s just bitten off his lower lip.  I think he’s a LIT-tle too anxious to throw his keys in the swinger’s bowl.  She: standing like she’s doing a pee-pee dance, and holding a gelatinous dessert that HOLY MOTHER OF GOD matches her outfit.  Who’s the more tasty dish; her, or the Jell-O? Coffee, tea or me, baby?

~~~musical interlude~~~

Ahhh, Teena Marie.  Safe travels into the Great Beyond.

Once you’ve stopped your crazy swinging lifestyle, Jell-O can be there to make your Happiest Day Ever even more super-duper extra-special.

A glass of wine, a loaf of salmon-dill Jell-O mousse, and thou.

A glass of wine, a loaf of salmon-dill Jell-O mousse, and thou.

(Cue the swelling music.)  OooOOOoOoOooo.  Nothing says love like standing in a grey, windswept, empty churchyard (who did they make all this food for, anyway?) in front of a variety of tart-n-tangy Jell-O meals.  Family, take note: IF I were to marry again (unlikely, as I’m pretty comfortable with the notion of “one and done” and George is in no hurry either) and IF we were to decide that the wedding feast should be prepared by family and IF you guys settled on a Jell-O based menu?  Yeah.  We’d be fighting. #consideryourselfwarned

And finally, for the holidays…

Know what?  I’m just going to let this one speak for itself.  BEHOLD!  The festive joy that is…JELL (…Jell…jell…) O! (…O’…o…)

These are a few of my least fav'rite things.

These are a few of my least fav’rite things.

So seriously, this is the sort of party that finds the hostess drunk in the kitchen at the end of the night, clutching a bottle of cooking sherry and crying about her lost youth, while her cousin starts yelling at the aunt who never loved her and somewhere, a boy child either tries to pop a wheelie on his bike off the roof of the toolshed and biffs, crashing into the neighbor’s prized rose bushes OR “accidentally” lights a rag in the garage on fire and can’t get it to stop.

Good times.

That’s a party I’d like to be at.

They’re right.  There are indeed multiple joys to be found in Jell-O!  I only had to consider the possibilities.

What Cookery Is This? My Great Recipe Cards 1984, Part 2

It’s kind of difficult for me to comprehend what must have been the utter travesty that was a full set of My Great Recipe Cards.  I only have maybe…maybe…a quarter of the set (and I’m betting that’s an incredibly low-ball estimate) and still, my pitifully small handful of cards is a veritable treasure trove of foodie nightmares.

I’ve already blogged about some of the cards in the set earlier this week, but the cards are like a train wreck.  You know what I mean.  You can’t stop picking at that scab.  You can’t stop poking your tongue into the cavity you just found.  In this case…I can’t stop looking at these cards.  I try, and I try.  And I fail every time.

With no further ado…

Human: The other, other white meat.

Hobbit: The other, other white meat.

I am admittedly suspicious of rolled meat that is intended to be eaten as an individual packet.  Primarily it’s because they tend to not cook very well; the seam where the meat ends overlap are often undercooked, the back of the meat is overdone, and the middle either disappears of its own accord (it oozes out) or doesn’t quite meld into harmonious stuffed goodness like you might want it to do.  So.  Imagine my horror at the thought of wrapping meat into a package that all-too-uncomfortably resembles gnarly big toes.  In sherried cream.  Hobbit’s feet: a special meal for that special someone.

And by “special someone” I mean, you know.  Sauron.

This mockingly calls itself "corned beef".

This mockingly calls itself “corned beef”.

Corned beef, the card says.  But we know better.  This is clearly a raw thigh muscle topped with jelly and sage and poisonous holly berries.  I like the black mortar and pestle standing just to the right of the meat; it confirms my suspicion that some sort of black magic went into the preparation of this…ummm…dish.

Derp! Don't they know?  Red meat shouldn't wear pink.   It clashes.

Derp! Don’t they know? Red meat shouldn’t wear pink. It clashes.

I so appreciate that the gravy for this meal is made with Pepto-Bismol.  Because seriously, folks.  Eat this and bad times are at your doorstep.

Editor’s note: I’ve noticed there’s a lot of beef in the pictures I’m posting.  National Beef Council, it’s nothing personal.  It’s just what I have on hand.

The Drowned Roast

Sirloin Roast of The Drowned God

Game of Thrones nerds, I know you’re with me on this one.  For those of us not unapologetically obsessed with the books, then I’m sorry to point out that this looks like it’s been draped with wet hair.  Or maybe fishing nets.  Because what is dead may never die.  Though you may certainly try to kill this with fire, which would do everyone around you a favor.

Yeah, just with a schmear.

Yeah, just with a schmear.

For those cooks who lack adequate knife skills and can’t control when they cut themselves, may I present: the ubiquitous, congealed “red sauce”.  Disguises any and all kitchen accidents and ensures mealtimes won’t be delayed.

Hey, wait!  This doesn't look so bad.

Hey, wait! This doesn’t look so bad.

Nope, nope, you’re right.  This doesn’t look so bad.  Corn patties, would probably be delish with salsa.  A vegetarian option in the mid-80s, before vegetarianism was more readily acknowledged as a lifestyle choice.  Pretty progressive, actually, right?  Until you read the serving suggestion on the back.

Oh.  I see.

Oh. I see.

And finally:

Angriest.  Eggs.  Ever.

Angriest. Eggs. Ever.

When my boyfriend looked at this card he said, “Whoa, this looks like it would bite a person back.”  Indeed.  The first thing I thought of when I saw this (man, I am busting out my full-on nerd pedigree for this blog; I’m so deep in the nerd closet I get dressed in Narnia) I thought of the Harry Potter Monster Book of Monsters.  And with just a little bit of tinkering…

Perfect.

Perfect.

That’s if for this set, I think, for now.  I’ve exhausted what’s truly disturbing and/or funny about them.  And I’m kind of relieved to lay them aside for now, since they have a tendency to put me off my feed.  But!  Don’t worry.  There’s more of the craptastic in store.  Because I?  Am a giver.

Bon appetit?

What Cookery Is This? My Great Recipe Cards, 1984

I remember being completely fascinated by my mother’s set of Betty Crocker recipe cards when I was but a wee paisley.  At that point in my life I was in the running for the title of Pickiest Eater: Anything Not a PB&J, but those cards…there was something about them that always drew me in.  I would look through them and reject them on principle.  Onions?  No.  Peppers?  Gross.  Mushrooms?  HA HA!  HA HA!  HA HA!  All I had to learn was that they were a fungus and then?  Profoundly no with an irritated hand flip for good measure.

But those cards…they were shiny and…well, shiny…and they held the promise of exotic meals that I’d never heard of and probably wouldn’t have eaten anyway, often presented curiously.  Who in their right minds would put spinach in a clear glass trifle dish?

Elegance fail.from davidstable.com

Wee me deemed this an elegance fail. Nothing personal, Betty Crocker.
from davidstable.com

Spinach was something that was meant to be hidden away in the darkest recesses of our unholy present, never to be spoken of again.  Betty Crocker people, you so crazy!  And just to be clear, despite my current infatuation with the kitchen,  I didn’t care one bit about cooking at that point in my life.  Who knows why I found them so mesmerizing?  I just did.  I’m not sure if my mother got them in the mail (it could be that someone gave them to her, and it’s not as though she was consulting me on her cooking choices at that point in my life) but I do remember climbing up to the top of the fridge to get my tiny little meat hooks on that plastic box with the clamshell cover.

And so I lust for a set of my own.  The other day, my boyfriend and I were trolling the aisles at our local and amazingly awesome flea market when we stumbled upon an incomplete set of not-Betty-Crocker.  The cards we found were from My Great Recipes, circa 1984-1988 but you know what?  Still craptastically satisfying.  The foodie revolution had not yet begun except, perhaps, for Alice Waters‘s small corner of northern California and so much of the food presented largely originated out of cans and bags.  Food photography has also come a long way since 1984, so there’s a lot of cheesetastic, era-defining food horror contained in a relatively small amount of cards.  And the pack I found was only a–one, singular–dollar.  You can’t go wrong with that.

Thus, without further ado…a completely biased sample of the My Great Recipe card set.  There will be more to come as I work my way through the cards.  Prepare brain bleach.

Mmm, appetizers!

Mmm, appetizers!

Apparently, deep in the confines of this hallucinatory green nugget of Astroturf, there lives some boiled, shredded chicken breasts.  Two things: the only time I’ve willingly eaten boiled chicken breasts is when I was so sick I could only handle a bland diet.  Yeah!  Where do I sign for more memories of the stomach flu?  And, they want you to wilt spinach, then unfurl it.  Which is sort of akin to unfurling wet tissue paper.  It CAN be done, but more likely than not will require a scanning tunneling microscope so you can successfully move the spinach atoms without tearing the leaves.

Remind me not to bring this to a barbecue.

Remind me never to bring this to a barbecue.

Charred forearm of a burn victim, served with broiled fatty tumors.  It’s what’s for dinner.

Aloha, chicken!

Aloha, chicken!

The good people of Hawaii should stage a revolution in response to this…this…”chicken aloha”.  First of all, this recipe is an express ticket to Diabetesville, since it involves pineapple chunks in syrup, yams in syrup, and an unreasonable amount of currant jelly.  Would you like some chicken with your sugar?  And at first I couldn’t figure out the name (no matter how much you try and argue differently, Hawaiian is not made by pineapple alone) until I remembered, “aloha” can mean both “hello” and “goodbye”.  So I think it actually means “goodbye, chicken” and “hello, whole roasted juvenile pelican“.  Because I’m pretty sure that’s what’s in the pan.

Even I'm at a loss for words on this one.

Even I’m at a loss for words on this one.

Hi.  My name is Hannibal Lecter.  For my dinner this evening, I would like to order a half-cup of mayonnaise served on a cross-section of human ass, please.

Rare.

Thank you.

Ummmm...

Ummmm…

Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer the slabs of granite left over from your countertop installation, served with soothing river stones and watercress?

Erhmm...

Erhmm…

Ooh, tempting.  But no, I’ll take the crusted meat that’s been left out to dry for three days, topped with your phlegm and melted plastic reduction.

Savor the flavor.

Savor the flavor.

And for dessert, perhaps some sliced grapes with welts?  Sitting in a pastry crust and covered with slime?  Perfecto!

True story: I was visiting some friends for a long weekend, with a (now-ex) boyfriend.  He was going out to the store and wanted to know if I wanted anything.  I asked him to get me some fruit, I wanted fresh fruit, I needed to at least try and counter some of the effects of a weekend house party with something healthy.  And something like this?  Was what he brought back, only that version had kiwifruit, too.  I’ve been laughing about it for years.

I hear the cries for mercy.  And there’s only so many of these I can look at at one sitting.  So we’ll call this quits for now.  Just remember, there’s more coming!

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