Sunday, December 31, 2006

Knox Gelatin: On-Camera (1963)

Knox On-Camera Recipes: A Completely New Guide To Gel-Cookery is a novel sort of cookbook. Unlike those other books that just show a picture of the finished dish, this one is the printed equivalent of a step-by-step television cooking show. It's the perfect guide for anyone who is passionate about gelatin, yet has trouble mastering the complex art of gel-cookery. You'll definitely want to click to enlarge these pictures. The food graphics are exceptional, the dish descriptions are delightful, and the general design of the book is an excellent example of early 1960s design.

1. Front cover - The only glimpse of the goings-on behind the cameras and a neat effect showing both the hostess from afar and a close-up of her unveiling a gelatin "on-camera".

2. Table of Contents - A beautifully drawn portrait of a stylish lady and her gelatin salad.

3. Why On-Camera Recipes?

4. The Key To Knox Gel-Cookery

5. The five types of gelatine dishes - Which is your favorite?

6. On-Camera Salads - Clockwise from top left, these beauties are Tomato Aspic, Waldorf Salad, and Green Salad Mold.

7. Impress the guests! The muddy browns of the Aspic Canapés and the Jellied Gazpacho certainly have little in common with the groovy shades of Jell-O!

8. The most structurally sound dish in the book is the Tomato Aspic loaf. While this perfectly smooth red slab is the very image of flawlessness, the individual salads beneath it are actually deemed Perfection Salads.

9. Cranberries lent their deep color and inimitable tang to many gelatin dishes. Here, Cranberry Soufflé Salad and beehivelike Cranberry Orange Relish, which resembles a police car's siren.

10. It's no myth that gelatin makes an outstanding fruit salad. While the Fruit Nectar Salad may be a favorite of the gods, the Golden Salad was touched by the hand of Midas himself.

11. Vegetables mixed with abandon - Garden Patch Salad and Green Salad Mold.

12. The Grapefruit Ginger Salad sort of has a smooth, alabastrine quality to it. Not so of the mottled Waldorf Salad!

13. On-Camera Main Dishes - The stars of the page are the piscine mousse and the lobster made of tomato aspic.

14. A speckled Deviled Egg Mold paired with the majestic Chicken Mousse.

15. The Many Faces of Tuna - A disturbingly colored Tuna Mold ring filled with peas and the suspicious Molded Avocado and Tuna loaf.

16. This might be the worst set of recipes in the book. They don't look as bad as they sound. Here, Cottage Cheese and Kidney Bean Salad and the Corned Beef and Slaw Salad.

17. "You Can Drink Knox, Too..." ad

18. Back cover and early 1960s packaging design.

Thank you for reading, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Waring Blender Cook Book

From its front and back cover, this 1967 Waring Cook Book, which is only to be used with the 8 Push Button Blender, looks extremely promising. The delightful rainbow of colors, combined with a uniform consistency shared by all the highlighted beverages, dips, and salads, makes one's mind race with possibility. Unfortunately, this cookbook ends up being a wasted opportunity to showcase the best that the 1960s had to offer in puréed foods. All of the photos inside utilize an unappetizing black and mauve color scheme, which only achieves a claustrophobic lethargy that isn't usually associated with cookbooks. Another regrettable aspect of the book is its vagueness. Most cookbooks caption pictures or, at least, put the lucky recipe on the next page. In trying to decipher what was pictured in this book, I noticed that not only was the first recipe never the pictured dish, but none of the recipes seemed to contain any of the ingredients I could identify! All in all, this book is a big mystery, but perhaps I'm looking too closely at it.

1. Front cover

2. Back cover - Green soups, green drinks, and grey dips

3. A Short Course In Blender Cooking

4. Cookies and Confections - This odd representation of sweets is less than tempting.

5. Entrees - Hot - What is it? Your guess is as good as mine!

6. Entrees - Cold - A crown of cucumbers

Monday, December 25, 2006

NoneSuch: Experiments in Mince Meat

In 1971, the Borden Company attempted to reintroduce a "lost" ingredient into the American dining experience. An ingredient so "surprising", so "different" that Americans had banished it from their collective memory. So, when Borden published its NoneSuch Cookbook: Nobody Cooks This Way Anymore in 1971, it was both to persuade the new generation that there was something missing from their diets and to lament that, indeed, nobody cooked that way anymore. What could this ingredient be that inspired such extreme and disparate emotions? Why, it's mince meat! Seeing as mince meat seems to be a holiday tradition for some, I thought the timing was right for this set of recipes. This booklet only leaves me with one question: did its psychedelic graphics and celebration of jarred.. whatever it is really have more of the new generation reaching for that jar in the supermarket?

(As always, click for enlarged pictures)

1. Front cover - If the generic Peter Max-style psychedelia doesn't highlight the hipness of this jarred concoction, then, at least it probably helped it blend in less offensively.

2. A persuasive argument for the necessity of reviving the lost art of cooking with mince meat. Unfortunately, this is where I discovered that there is sometimes beef mixed in with the apples, cloves, and raisins. Who eats this stuff?!

3. Here, Borden insinuates that all our mince meatless breakfasts are not real breakfasts. If you want a real breakfast, try omelet or sausages smothered in mince meat sauce!

4. Incredible Vegetables - Well, they are pretty hard to believe.

5. Hot Stuff! It all gets worse from here, folks. If you've just eaten lunch, you may not want to continue.

6. Curry On.. I mean, hurry on past this picture! Similar to Manwich, all of these dishes are identical and unidentifiable.

7. The Meat of the Matter - The perfect companion to meat is mince meat.

8. For the Birds - An improbable holiday feast

9. The tamer Happy Endings page

10. Goblin Cookies and other Goodies to Gobble - Dour, pasty-faced lads (the goblins) and other baked delights

11. Back cover - More far-out art in calmer, more settling colors

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Aluminum Christmas

No natural tree could ever surpass the beauty of an aluminum Christmas tree. I know this, and so do the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) and the Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum (ATOM). On the off-chance that you haven't yet decorated for the holidays, or if you are dissatisfied with your more realistic trims, you might find the eight page booklet, How To Decorate Your New Aluminum Christmas Tree, quite useful. Click the picture below to read the booklet in its entirety!

Maybe you already have an aluminum tree in your living room, but you just don't know how to decorate it to enhance its natural beauty? This is a common problem that can be solved with rotating color wheels and tin foil. Read the guide for classy decorating solutions! Or, perhaps you're getting ready for the holiday party and find that your gift, an umbrella and hat (in a hat box), is just too difficult to wrap? The final page addresses just that issue. You'll find styrofoam balls and tin foil will add just the right touch! (You might also be interested in Season's Gleaming: The Art Of The Aluminum Christmas Tree (book) at Amazon.)

Happy holidays, and thank you for visiting Curly Wurly in 2006!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Woolworth's menu

Here is a menu from a 1960 Woolworth's lunch counter. Note the extremely reasonable prices. The second picture, the back of the menu, is a blank sheet where daily specials were posted.

(click to enlarge)



Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Space Race game (1969)

The very first treasure I remember getting from a flea market was this pack of cards, a game called Space Race. When I got it, I was charmed by the astronomical graphics but didn't really understand the historical implications. This was part of a series of educational card games made by Edu-Cards, a division of Binney & Smith (makers of Crayola Crayons). This particular set is from 1969, although this page alludes to earlier editions.

(Click to enlarge)

The box shows a scene of an American moon landing

The first card shows the back illustration of the set. Cards 1-5

The rest of the planets (including Pluto) and the beginning of the penalty cards

My favorite card: 'SPUTNIK' - Lose Two Turns

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Chicken Cookbook (1975)

Here are a few pages from The Chicken Cookbook, a compendium of the winners of the 1975 National Chicken Cooking Contest. If these were the winners, can you imagine the losers?

1. Back cover of The Chicken Cookbook - An advertisement for Ac'cent Flavor Enhancer (monosodium glutamate), which is still available.

2. A classy arrangement of Herb Fried Chicken Drumsticks

3. What a grapetastic luau! Baked Chicken Breasts with White Grape Sauce.

4. Crusty Chicken Wrap-Ups - The concept is a cross between Beef Wellington and Pigs n' Blankets.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

1970s Bundt Cakes

Whoever said cake pans are only for plain birthday cakes? I'm not sure anybody said that, but the grim Over 300 Delicious Ways To Use Your Bundt Pans was Nordicware's answer to those hypothetical naysayers. In this 1973 cookbook, the company that brought us many a fancy bundt pan challenged everyone's preconceptions of what a cake had to be, and, in doing so, might have alienated many cakelovers.

1. Back cover - I had to post the back cover because the front cover looked more appetizing and did not have a globe.

2. The butler is in attendance as the girl meets with the Georgian Chocolate Pound Cake (which may or may not be her mother).

3. In the light of the servant's quarters, the butler reveals himself to be Jason Lee of tv's My Name Is Earl! Maybe he wronged this Walnut Bourbon Pound Cake in the past and is now forced to see to its every need.

4. Yes, this is REAL Bean Bread made with liquified Pork n' Beans!

5. Gelatin and Lazy Days Meat Ring - Who knew 'lazy days' meant ground chuck, beer, powdered spaghetti sauce mix, and cheese sauce!

6. The Lively Salad - 'Lively' because there's a live jellyfish trapped in its gelatine walls.

7. Basic Gelatin - Away from everyone's favorite feel-good snack, Jell-O brand Jell-O, gelatin takes on a far more sinister character. It's said that there are fruits inside this gelatin, but I see something more disturbing. Look closely. Do you see a skull in among the peaches? If not, click here for a closer look.

8. Can you imagine the designer setting up this scene.. placing the big-eyed squirrels just close enough to the plate so that you can't really tell the felt woodland creatures from the Individual Ham Loaves? It just seems unnatural.

9. Meet the descendant of Oriental Shrimp Sandwich Roll! This is Tuna Soufflé Salad. As you can see, it is smaller than its predecessor, and since its color is less conspicuous, it can camouflage itself more successfully. One interesting feature of note is its extendable eye, which often gives it an advantage over its prey. I believe this is a picture of its mating ritual.

10. Pumpkin House Cake - scaring little children since 1973

11. This clown cake is the scariest of all, though. Look at that styrofoam head and gaping mouth! Stare deep into those soulless icing eyes!