Monday, April 30, 2007

Gracie Allen for Lipton Tea

FLASH! This Lipton Tea advertisement masquerades as a Hollywood gossip page! R. Barclay Neff seems to be either a made-up columnist or, perhaps, he just wasn't very good at dishing the dirt. It's hard to imagine that stories about Gracie's secret rendezvous with tea experts and her belief that Lipton is 'completely different from insipid, flat-tasting teas' really caught the public's imagination. Neff was clearly the Hedda Hopper of the beverage set.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ah, Italia!

Chef Hector Boiardi (or, Boy-Ar-Dee as his name was simplified to facilitate easier pronunciation) was an Italian immigrant who brought the authentic cuisine of his homeland to America, canned it, and introduced it to a whole country of families starved for something exotic. Right from its debut, the Chef's mouth-watering taste treats were a hit with the youngsters. What kid doesn't recall the fantastic array of Boy-Ar-Dee canned pastas embedded in thick tomato paste? Parents liked them, too, because, in the age of all-inclusive mass-marketed foods, it was convenient to get your entire meal from one can.

In this first ad, it's the old world Italian authenticity that is emphasized. It's not just crap in a can; it was made by the Chef himself in the kitchen at Castelnuevo val Tibone! After a bit of research, it is my belief that no such place exists. There is, however, a Castelnuovo val Tidone. All I'm saying is that maybe we shouldn't blindly believe the claims that the spice has been spiced 'just right' or that the mushrooms in Chef Boy-Ar-Dee's Mushroom Sauce were 'selected as they were from the grottos of Rome.'

Undeniably, the 'meal in a box' was one of the great inventions of the twentieth century. The Chef's take on this dinner favorite includes different varieties of Spaghetti Dinner and the popular Lasagna Dinner. Everything's in the box! The pasta, the sauce, and cheese! And, since there's a bit more work involved in preparing this meal, Chef Boiardi can't take all the credit! Even if you are Peggy Gallagher.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Worcestershire Sauce!

The wonders of Worcestershire sauce, the most difficult condiment to spell and pronounce, are explored in these two mid-1940s ads from French's. In the first specimen, a relieved wife and her approving husband tout the transforming effects of this miracle sauce. They even share their favorite Frankfurter Casserole recipe! If you're not really the 'leftovers' type, you might take John Wayne's approval to heart. If John Wayne says you'll wow your friends with a Tomato Juice Cocktail, then you can believe it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kraft Old English Cheese

Not many people know that the traditional gift for the thirteenth anniversary is the sandwich on long roll. After all, it's not every day that your beloved makes you a Kraft Treatwich with Old English slices (those slices with really rich cheese flavor)! Trivia: The original packaging was written in Runic.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wine Goes With Food!

Here are two magical World War II-era advertisements from the Wine Advisory Board.

'You'll discover...the magic that happens when food is cooked with wine'! What oenophiles know is that wine is fairly inoffensive both in your food and as a dinner accompaniment. You can add a little California Burgundy to your Baked Ham Burgundy (shown) or baste your Leg O' Lamb with white table wine. You can even fill your grapefruit with sherry! And why stop there because, if there's one thing that this ad can attest to, it's that wine is as natural a companion to your food as anything else in nature!

As a wish goes with a rainbow.. Wine goes with food. Everything on this page has been basted in some variety of table wine!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Shortcut Cooking

The Meredith Corporation was responsible for one of the greatest cookbooks of the 1960s. Shortcut Cooking, published in 1969, isn't just any cookbook. It's a revolution in the way we look at food! Well, at least hot dogs.

1. Front cover - This is supposedly Ham in Cherry Sauce, though the sauce reminds me of something I once saw growing on a tree. Either way, this would be easy to make and take up very little time!

2. Inside cover - An Apricot Coconut Ring, a tropical touch to your summer barbecues. Best placed near palm tree.

3. Photo courtesy of Proud Mary's Kitchen: Bigwheel Burger Skillet.

4. You know you're someone once you're able to prepare the Bigtime Broils Meal! Nothing really says 'success' like a Mixed Grill, but, hopefully, you won't ruin your reputation with those Strawberry Pudding Cakes!

5. As the hand model sprinkles snipped parsley on her Aloha Broiled Chicken, so can you! Don't forget those crab apples because, without them, you're just serving Broiled Chicken.

6. What a sight for sore eyes, it's another look at that gelatinous favorite, the Easy Perfection Salad (recipe therein)! She looks transcendental topped with a bow made from a lettuce leaf, some carrot curls, and a plump olive.

7. It's very rare for us to catch a glimpse of some Baby Orange Babas away from their protective mother. Scientists believe this picture shows them feeding, and that they surely are the Dandy Do-Little Desserts all the books claim they are. At the very least, they are fairly post-modern looking. They'll go well on your kidney-shaped coffee table by your Eames chair!

8. This Wonkaesque concoction is either lemon-lime or mint. Or both. Either way, why not fix up one of these Fountain Fix-Ups?

9. Let's Go Dutch with these deviled eggs and packaged luncheon meats! I do believe I spy Spam! This looks more like a lazy antipasto than something Dutch to me..

10. Frankly, before your Fountain Fix-Ups, you should try some Frank Fix-Ups, including Circle Pups and Rafted Wieners!

11. Tasty Toppers courtesy of the Aloha and Mountain Burgers. A burger isn't a burger without monosodium glutamate!

12. Here is the Sea-Food Spectacular spread. My favorite part is the cake. It's allegedly Lemonade Angel Dessert, but I think it's actually made of hard boiled egg yolk.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Alternative Holiday Dinners

Happy Easter!

'All dressed up for your Easter table: America's most delicious ham!' Classic Easter fare in this lusciously colored advertisement from Armour include Armour's Star Ham dressed with Easter Eggs and Armour's Star Ham Rarebit. Plus, a reminder to listen to Hedda Hopper's Hollywood on Mondays! That's surely everything you could want in a holiday!

But, what if you're tired of typical holiday cuisine? 'Great Budget Steaks' might be just the answer! Above, in this Family Circle featured menu from 1965, the majestic Tournedos with Mushrooms Royale tower over the proceedings, but it's the Eeyoreesque Steak Madrid which captures the heart with its forlorn expression. Who said meat doesn't need a little love?

What goes with beef? Potatoes, allegedly. The folks at Reynolds Wrap provide 'Flavor-Stuffed Potatoes' for just this occasion. What flavor the potatoes happen to be stuffed with depends on the nature of the entrée. The pictured variety might not be the suggested pairing for steak, but it does contain a similar eye-catching ingredient to the Steak Madrid above.

If you're looking for something a little more glamourous in your root vegetables, try the Stuffed Baked Potatoes à la Hollywood brought to you by Wrigley's chewing gum! I'm not sure how many of you have eaten potatoes in Hollywood, but this is what they look like there. The ring of Chicklets is a nice touch!

Finally, if you're not much of a beef eater, Turkey Loaf is the perfect option! I daresay, it's far more impressive than a full bird! With Shenandoah Turkey loaves, all you have to do is add gravy, and clean-up is a cinch!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Familiar and Unfamiliar Borden's Products

The Familiar: Borden's Condensed Milk can be used to make smooth, smooth, smooth ice cream. That might sound pretty unremarkable, but it isn't every day that Elsie the cow tells you her secret of 'speedy, extra-smooth frostings, candies, pie fillings'! It makes you wonder how often Elsie made her concoctions and how popular they were around the barn!

The Unfamiliar: You might wonder (quite rightly, I should add) what is Hemo, and why you should want to consume it. It took me a while to realize that Hemo was a powdered chocolate beverage packed with vitamins and minerals one needs to feel 'alive.' Unfortunately, it has an unappetizing name, and it's one of those products that assures you in print that it is 'a real food'! It's hard to imagine that just one glass of this stuff transforms Elmer from a lethargic homebody to a graceful and mischievous bull-about-town!

Elsewhere: Hemo will result in better behaved children (here) and better bowling cows (here).