Friday, March 28, 2008

Pep-Up Meals with Wise (featuring Peppy)

Who-oo wouldn't want to eat waffles and meat loaves made of America's #1 junkfood (and favorite vegetable), the potato chip? Who-oo thinks there's no place for the chip in brownies, cheese souffles, and French toast? Not the Wise Potato Chip Co. of beautiful Berwick, Pennsylvania! In 1921, the Wise Delicatessen Company began to package and market their potato chips. It was actually one of the earliest major brands to be sold in stores, beating Lay's by a decade.

Recipes That Pep-Up Meals with Wise Potato Chips was published in 1957, seven years before they were acquired by Borden. The pictures are pure magic, and the book is made all the more special by the illustrations of the Disney-quality spokesowl, Peppy. Before we start to look over those magical pictures, it might be beneficial to note that Dorothy Wise, home economist of Wise Potato Chips, wrote in the forward to this cookbook, 'We will remember that still the easiest, most popular way to 'pep-up' any meal or party is simply to serve crisp, golden, flavorful Wise Potato Chips... Keep several packages on hand, always.'

Front cover dishes: Beef Loaf, Graham Cracker Chip Crust with Lemon Chiffon, Baked Tomatoes with Chip Cheese Topping, and Chip Waffles on an inviting turquoise background. Personally, I demand more vegetables with chip cheese topping. The cheese should either be a block of Velveeta or a jar of gooey Cheez Whiz. This is our only full-color image of Peppy, the Wise spokesowl. The other highlight of the (back)cover is the nice image of the Wise packaging from the late 1950s.

Fried, bechipped appetizers as far as the eye can see! And, for the person who doesn't instantaneously salivate at the sight of chip-encrusted shrimp trying to peer at their beautiful reflections in sanguine pools of cocktail sauce, there's always the classic, unadulterated Chips-In-A-Bowl (regular and Ridgies). As far as the recipes pictured on this page, the book claims that the dishes are (Match the recipe name to the picture. Answers posted tomorrow): Chip and Cheese Wafers, French Fried Shrimp, Hot Crispy Cheese Snacks, Snappy Ham and Egg Balls (I'll give you a hint: this one's pinned to the animal from which one of its ingredients was extracted).

A few scenes of Peppy in action. Apparently Peppy is having a cocktail party! First, he sets up the buffet, and then he carries out a tray of appetizers!

The Wise Bakery: Chip Coffee Cake, French Toast, Crunchy Biscuits, and Cinnamon Rolls (better than Cinnabon!). The most intriguing part of this baking scene is the French Toast (on the leaf plate). It looks like no French Toast I've ever seen!

Potato chips aren't just for between meals anymore. Now, they can be used in your entrees to add that crunch of class (and, sometimes, the sogginess of sophistication). Be sure not to garnish with the green ones (though, Dorothy Wise suggests that the green or burnt chips add an unexpected dash of color and should be used)! Dishes here include Seafood Scallop on Potato Chips (dare I say, a wise choice if you're having the boss over for dinner), Cheese Souffle, and Stuffed Hamburgers (stuffed with a thick paste made of coarsely crushed potato chips and served with potato sticks! That's two servings of vegetables right there!).

Celebrate the holidays with the Wise family! Chip Stuffing fills the magnificent bird, garnished not with the traditional roasted potatoes and carrots but an impressive ring of greasy potato chips! 'I'm thankful that Mom's such a swell cook!,' the kids will exclaim. Chips also go well with other vegetable dishes. This page shows off Corn and Mushrooms with Chip Topping and Sweet 'N' Sour Spinach with Chip Topping. Unfortunately, Wise did not market a package of pre-done Chip Topping. I think they would have made a killing had they done so. Cooks everywhere would have saved a lot of time and effort if they didn't have to make their own from scratch! And, maybe Chip Topping would be the most popular topping today!

The Wise table at the bake sale. My favorite is the Quick Cake with Chocolate Crunch Topping.

And.. Potato Chips. The original 'no fuss or bother' snack. This might be my favorite picture from the entire cookbook. It's bright and exciting, and the whole spread is on the most beautiful tabletop I've ever seen!

Wise Potato Products are produced in America's largest and most modern potato chip plant.

Peckish for a few Wise potato chips now? Have a look at's list of Wise reviews!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Meals In Minutes

In 1954, The American Home magazine published Meals In Minutes, a cookbook filled with classy menus and hostess ideas, a huge amount of helpful hints, and, luckily for us, a quaint collection of 109 full-color illustrations.

A rustic buffet-style party layout made all the more homey by the chuck wagon bread basket and the glare of the roaring fire reflecting in the copper stock pots (and, inevitably, blinding your guests). The table-top garden is a nice touch!

These dainty Pâté Appetizers are just one of the First-Course Jiffies that will make your next party a smash!

Fish Fillets made Fancy with ornamental mashed potato piping.

Sam Raimi's Glazed Stuffed Turkey Slices (recipe in enlargement!)

Birthday cake? Salmon mousse? Nope, it's Veal Loaf! Its 'icing' is a mixture of mayonnaise and gelatin! Also on the page is Ground Beef Submerged In Sour Cream-Tomato Sauce, a hearty winter supper.

Quick Barbecued Frankfurters stuffed with a dill pickle. A pretty good idea, actually.

Ooh la la, a French Kidney Omelet! The recipe is very generous with the kidneys; it allows for two lamb kidneys per plate (plus, a few slices of cooked kidney make a capital garnish)!

Is there anything lovelier than Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast? If you get tired of making your Creamed Chipped Beef exactly the same way every single day, The American Home has a few variations that might be worth a try, including the scrumptious banana in bacon drippings or oyster preparations (click on the link for a little tidbit about ball-park style franks)!

It's not a worthwhile cookbook if it doesn't contain some aspic. Here we have a Tomato-Potato Aspic Salad. It's a rare gelatin mold that contains potato, and that may be reason enough to give this one a try! This page also features a Spring Salad.

Some sandwiches (although, Hot Savory Toast hardly qualifies as a 'sandwich')! The most impressive example is the plate of Baked Bean Sandwiches.

And, finally, ablaze with the many colors of Jell-O, the Prism Loaf!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Encyclopédie Répulsica, vol. 10

To wind up Curly Wurly's Encyclopedia Repulsica series, here are the four best pictures from three fairly standard Woman's Day encyclopedic cookbooks. The dishes seem to be passably traditional, and the presentations are far from experimental. Only a few intriguing pictures snuck into these volumes. Woman's Day Famous French Cookery, published in 1969, contains 'traditional French dishes for modern American kitchens.'

Traditional French dish #1: Veal and Ham Mousse - It's easy to prepare, can be made well in advance, and, most impressively, can be tastefully decorated with Easy Cheese, the Parisian way!

Traditional French dish #2 - This beauté is the Molded Veal. Personally, I think veal is the ideal meat for gelatin!

Moving away from French cookery, here is a single picture from the comparatively staid Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, volume one from 1966. This is two views of the ever versatile Tomato Aspic. At the bottom, we have the classic Tomato Aspic, and at the top there is Tomato Aspic with Vegetables, which seems to be heavily artichoked.

Finally, from 1965's Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, volume two, this is the Steak Tartare. Now, I realize that Steak Tartare is probably still served in fine restaurants and eaten by some of the most cosmopolitan people in the world. It's just that I didn't realize it was raw meat with an egg on top!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Encyclopedia Repulsica, vol. 9 (Sod-Ste)

Volume 15 of the Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking has few pictures of interest. While the highlight is Family Circle's signature Sodden Steak, there are a small handful of soup and steak foodscapes that are surely as bland and runny or tough and gristly as their pictures suggest. This edition also features some intriguing presentation ideas that could possibly impress the least impressible.

Running out of candles, the hostess discovered that her taper-like breadsticks made a satisfactory substitution.

Is this a group of 'Soda Fountain Sensations' or are they from the 'Soup Kettle'?! These glasses seem to contain either a beverage, soup, sauce, dip, or relish, but all glasses don't appear to contain something from the same family! Also, why is there lemon gelatin in a mug with a hard-boiled egg on top?!

The featured recipe on this page is the Tomato Consomme (under the category of Clear Or Thin Soups). But who's looking at the soup?! To be honest, the room's so dark, it's hard to see anything but the sparkling gelatin!

The artful Anchovy Steak 'wears an olive and anchovy lattice trim.' It looks like a board game!

'Is this a steak? It is, indeed,' teases the caption. Why, this is a sinfully luscious Steak Bombe with Stuffed Tomato Cups!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Encyclopedia Repulsica, vol. 8 (San-Sea)

We've made it to volume 14 of the Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking! Volume 14 is the coveted San-Sea edition of the series, which includes delicacies made from the fruits of the surf as well as various foods coated in sand.

It is often stated that the modern hors d'oeuvres industry has never achieved the level of inventiveness of the 'good old days' of hors d'oeuvres design. Here is picture proof. Here we see a display of the 'Sea's Bounty.' That is, indeed, Glazed Tuna-Salmon Mold decorated with radish scales, a green pepper caudal fin, and a green olive eye. The cantaloupe formation is reminiscent of the maw of some bloodthirsty undersea creature. Schools of deviled eggs and stuffed mushrooms teem around it for protection.

On a more appetizing note, here's a toasted sandwich of grape jam and honey mustard. Mmm.

This really is a peanut butter and lettuce sandwich. With a pickle on top. Really.

Here is a hot crustacean band, or another view of the Glazed Tuna-Salmon Mold. I love how it's completely encircled by a champagne-colored gelatin. Is that really necessary? Does the gelatin increase the palatability somehow? Also nice is the Lobster Salad Supreme (that's the stuff spilling out of the poor lobster)!

Finally, Stuffed Lobster, 'a snappy seafood salad made of frozen lobster tails and a bottled French dressing.' I actually thought the lobster tails were stuffed with roasted marshmallows. The cucumber mold is the perfect complementary touch!