And of course, the sharp-cornered, two-tone green plastic box of the Betty Crocker Recipe Card library, just like mom used to have. I'm sure hers hit the landfill years ago, but this little box was just like mom's was and holds so many memories of my childhood. I'd spend hours poring through the cards, planning the perfect party for my next birthday or determining the menu for my next Barbie Doll soiree.
I've got to say—there's a reason that TV dinners were so popular in the 70s, because the recipes sure leave much to be desired. Like, calories for instance (I'm looking at you, Celery Victor).
This 30-calorie delight features a steak of celery, boiled in beef bouillon and then marinated in Italian salad dressing (low-cal, natch) in the fridge and served with a kicky accent of pimiento strips.
I came across this card when I came across my recipe box (not in heavy use at my house) and paged through the cards. Should I keep the box? Should I sell it at our next rummage sale? I hate the thought of letting go of these cards, the pictures are just this side of appetizing for the most part, but still so much a part of my history. I decided I'd pick out my favorites and frame them, to hang in the kitchen of our new house.
I sorted through and pulled out a healthy stack of cards to use in the collage, which the kids decided to categorize as: Funny Names, Looks/Sounds Bad and Actually Edible. Spoiler alert: Celery Victor landed in the Looks/Sounds Bad pile. The little one (the one we call Chthulu) read the names of the cards out while the older one (the one we call Björn) laughed at her pronunciation (some of these names are really crazy) and commented on the images or suggestive nature of the names/photos.
PIQUANT SALADSI like this one because the color and forward-thinking lettuces featured. The vast majority of these cards feature colors in the beige-to-brown family, so this was a colorful surprise.
The kids had fun trying to pronounce "piquant," which landed it in the funny pile.
The back of the card features a recipe for a tossed salad and a gourmet potato salad. I mean, I get it—in the early 1970s, salads often meant things made with gelatin. Usually sweet but not always. So a not sweet salad is an anomaly that requires its own place in the box.
The salad dressing recipes is one that I'll try: 3/4c olive oil, 1/3c wine/tarragon vinegar, 1T salt, 3 cloves minced garlic & 1 t fresh pepper.
The recipe itself sounds awesome—a warm cider punch with warming spices even if this version doesn't include booze. I thought it was a pretty card.
The kids did not agree. The orange stars floating in the brew raised eyebrows for both of them and this one was bound for the Looks/Sounds Bad pile before Björn said, "It as the a-word right there in the name. That's funny."
Funny Names it is.
WAYS WITH FISH STICKS
Just marinate on that for a second. Because in the 1970s, it was a thing to have a recipe card to show you how to make dinner out of a frozen convenience food.
What the hell was wrong with people back then? I mean, food wasn't really that hard, was it? We've come a long way, baby.
The plate looks good, though a step up from the fish stick dinners I enjoyed as a kid, which usually featured totted taters and maybe a pea and carrot mixed vegetable. There was no salad on the side; we had white bread with butter or peanut butter to accompany dinner. Though I don't know if we ever really had fish sticks in the 70s, I can't imagine my old-school, meat and potatoes dad eating them.
But I digress.
The kids were down with the fish sticks but drew the line at the boiled new potatoes and mushrooms on the plate. Because EWWWWW! I was more taken with the name on the card. On the back the card features a recipe for a cucumber sauce (which is actually basically a Tzatziki sauce made with yogurt—wait, I do not remember yogurt being a thing back then! This must be a European recipe.) and a recipe for lime- or orange-glazed fish sticks. *shudder*
So there's a few of the cards you might find on the wall of my house! There are lots more. But that's for another day.