Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lushie Peach!

I'd like to present the Cat Cake to Lushie Peach in honor of her birthday! I hope your birthday is as special as this cake!

(picture from Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1973 (18th printing))

Friday, October 30, 2009

Asylum Of Sardines

Sardines have long been considered the guilty pleasure of the pantry. Often found tucked behind more respectable shelf-stable fare like Treet, Manwich, and Vienna Sausages, sardines are becoming fashionable again. I read an article actually written this year touting the health benefits of sardines. Then I discovered this recent article from Woman's Day (December 1952) celebrating the thriftiness of the very same fish. I suppose there are few legitimate reasons to stay away from sardines now that they have been deemed good for the body and the pocketbook. So, honoring Curly Wurly's mission to provide timely and educational information, here's a bit of what you can do with your Maine Sardines (compliments of the aforementioned Woman's Day - December 1952 issue.)

Take your cue from the floating head: save loads of money on pizza by skipping the delivery and the freezer aisle! Maine Sardine Pizza is the healthy option you've been yearning. It may look like a slice of cake with a long worm on it, but it's wholesome and cost effective!

When I think of the concept of Found Money, I think of the joy of discovering a $20 bill in a pocket that hasn't been searched in years. Apparently, other people's hearts leap at saving a few cents on a stack of sardine cans. If the notion of sardines means delicious savings to you, here is a page of actual recipes from Woman's Day. I don't normally emphasize the recipes on Curly Wurly, but with dish names like Broiled Sardines with Puffy Sauce, how could I deny this information to my readers?

Get your Sardine-And-Mush Fry recipe here! Get your Sardines and Cabbage with Creamy Mustard Sauce recipe here! Get your indigestion right here!

And that, my dear readers, might be all the frights you need to get you right through Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Giant Blocks!

North Pole unemployment rates are at an all-time high, according to financial experts, and it has been reported that over 50% of Santa's workers, including his chief toymakers called elves, are scrambling for new jobs after mass lay-offs earlier in the year. So far, there is no consensus on how this will impact the coming holiday season, most notably in the customary dispersal of wrapped playthings. Worried parents are already fearing a backlash from their children. "Santa's double-checked list of good and bad kids is the only thing that keeps my family in line," one mother who would like to remain anonymous divulged to Curly Wurly. The worried mother added, 'if my kids discover that Santa might not even make it to our house this year, I'll have sheer anarchy on my hands!' Experts are already suggesting that it would be good to have a back-up plan in case Santa has to cut back his usual route this year. William E. Whitlock, director of Woman's Day Workshop, offers a plan for a versatile toy that will please every fussy Nancy and Teddy.

Giant Blocks are a miracle toy that just might have put the elves out of business had the failing economy not seen to that first. The blocks can be easily constructed by any handy person from just a few inexpensive materials. Giant Blocks are a patented light-weight cardboard construction that can be safely lifted by small children with only a slight chance of serious injury, but hidden reinforcement inside the blocks ensures it can hold the weight of a person up to 180 pounds! Whitlock will not explain how this can be, but these photos of Nancy and Teddy Whitlock hoisting and climbing on these Giant Blocks cannot be some kind of cruel hoax!

The versatility of Giant Blocks will not be denied. Since each block is hand decorated they can be customized to suit your own child's taste. In a Curly Wurly exclusive, we have a picture of Whitlock's prototype. As you can see, there are block designs for girls (pretty flowers), boys (the masculine 'bricklayers' design), and designs to please the Francophile in every family! Imaginative children can build rudimentary structures, like bartender sets, Japanese tunnels, and hospitals. Immobile vehicles, such as the airplane and the veterinarian's shuttle bus, can also be constructed. Despite the last picture showing a collapsing drawbridge, Whitlock insists that Giant Blocks are completely safe and probably will not lead to permanent injury or death. It seems as if the sky is truly the limit when it comes to Giant Blocks.

Below are photos of Mr. Whitlock's prototype of the Giant Blocks. If you are interested in giving your children a set of these bigger-than-life blocks this Christmas, contact Woman's Day Magazine (please cite issue December 1952) for Mr. Whitlock's plans.

(Note: Contacting Woman's Day will not yield further information on Giant Blocks!)

(Another note: Curly Wurly is officially on that new-fangled time-waster, Twitter. Feel free to follow if you like!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Velveeta, the Man Pleaser

Velveeta has been called many things through the years, but 'man pleaser' has to be low on its list of characteristics. This Better Homes and Gardens advertisement from October 1954 created a sensation with the introduction of five family recipes sure to please everyone: thrifty enough to satisfy the pocketbook, hearty enough for the hardworking husband, and wholesome enough for children and the calcium-depleted elderly! That makes Velveeta a winner, if you ask me!

When you serve this casserole of noodles, hard cooked eggs, and melted Velveeta, the only cries you'll hear at the dinner table will be cries for 'more!'

Who knew how gourmet Velveeta truly could be? Your table will feel a whole lot more cosmopolitan with Epicure's Chicken and Broccoli (it's like Chicken Divan... with Velveeta!) and the crowd-pleasing Party Special, a shrimp-Velveeta melt that will make your parties the hit of the social season!

Most importantly, just two ounces of Velveeta Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread has more calcium than a glass of milk!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Best of Better Homes - August '54

Today's post is a medley of articles from the August 1954 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

First up is the latest in the regular 'Famous foods from famous places' feature covering the restaurant Daven Haven in the Pines, located in Grand Lake, Colorado. Look at these humdingers! First, there's the regional Denver Sandwich lunch complete with an Ice-cream-cone Clown. Also, hobo picnics! Each hobo sack was stuffed with two sandwiches (chicken and cheese spreads), fruit, a lollipop and a personalized cookie. Now that's a lunch I'd leave my home for!

Daven Haven was just as admired for its elaborate breakfasts and buffets. A typical Daven Haven breakfast might have included Rocky Ford cantaloupe, Blueberry Pancakes with Orange Whipped Butter, and Frizzled Ham. But, it was their buffets that were gold standard; the centerpiece of the table here is the Ham Loaf with Horse-radish Sauce (food stylists take note!) served in a hollowed-out zucchini and Individual Spoon Breads.

'Come On -- It's a porch picnic!' Well, who would argue with that? Especially when you catch a glimpse of the ruby red gelatin salad cradling a yellowy dressing (Barbecue Salad?). And the tartlets awaiting their anointment of cream (Peach-blush Tarts?). By the time you tear your eyes up to see the fried chicken, it's starting to resemble normal picnic food.

It's not quite August (soon, too soon), but Myrna Johnston reminds us that it's never too soon to prepare with this menu of frosty-fresh fare. Quick party pleasers include the 'gelatin beauty', the Summer Chicken Salad, cute garnishes, and Sugar-frosted Grapes. Or have a full-blown Fruit Bonanza with Pink Jewel Molds, a marriage of cream cheese balls and sparkling gelatin.

More tutti-frutti favorites and towers of vegetable delights. And when you're looking to eat out on the terrace, make sure you have your bologna and deviled egg cornucopias and at least one Tomato Aspic mold!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Bummer

Summer, the bane of my existence, is back. Now, I realize that most normal people adore these sweaty summer months and insist on spending as much time as possible outdoors with the sun beating down on them. Apparently, this is not a new phenomenon. Better Homes and Gardens published a Summer Cook Book by Myrna Johnston in their July 1954 issue for just this sort of summer-loving person. From little vittles of the meat, cheese, and crudité variety to full-blown sandwiches and desserts, Myrna Johnston compiled a menu ideal for any summer get-together, be it a picnic, cook-out, or block party. (Remember, you can always click on these thumbnails for bigger pictures -- in every post!)

On those sweltering evenings when I hear neighbors enjoying their grilled cook-outs, I'll be imaging everyone is really noshing on these two menu items. The Summer Sandwich Loaf takes the perennial favorite one step further and gives it an unexpected seasonal twist (an olive-daisy trim). From the description: 'The pink filling's ham; the other, egg salad. "Frosting" is cream cheese. Men will applaud.' That explains the cheering people I hear at neighborhood get-togethers! This year, when you hear jubilant merrymakers and fireworks in the distance, you can rest assured that they just can't control their excitement for their Summer Sandwich Loaf. Better still is the bulls-eye-inspired Rye-pie Sandwich. This duo is really the only acceptable way to sneak ham, egg, and salmon salads into one menu.

For a spread as modern as your furniture: alternate deviled ham and tomato fillings in a crusty bread (Ham Line-up Loaf), skip the meaty burgers from the grill and heap baked beans in buns (Beanwiches), and set sail with egg salad and black olive boats (Black-eyed Susans). Serve as much as possible in foil cozies. This menu is incredibly versatile: it will go with either your Miles Davis or your Martin Denny album.

Small summer appetites can easily be sated with Ham 'n Eggs, Summer Style (that's rolled ham slices and deviled eggs to you!). As an expert, I have deemed this an impeccable presentation for the Deviled Eggs. Finally, create a platter of fanned-out finger foods, including cheese, cucumbers, beans wrapped in your favored canned smoked luncheon meat, and crunchy vegetable garnishes. These relishes are the epitome of pertness!

Even if you're far from any coast, you can conjure up a beachy scene with starfishesque platters of Ham Mousse, and don't forget to put out some Barbecued Franks with Macaroni-and-Cheese Salad and a plate of your brand smoked luncheon meat (Treet, Prem, etc.)! Looking to create the ultimate summer memory? Golden Liverwurst Balls! Unfortunately, I thought they were marshmallows with toasted coconut. How wrong I was!

Room for dessert? Certainly! You'll make room once you get a look at that Raspberry Sno-Cap Pie, a gelatin pie covered with symmetrical spume and banana slices that seem to evoke the water choreography of Esther Williams.

Even more desserts to whet your appetite! Get a look at the Rainbow Meringue Sundaes, meringues topped with whimsical pastel ices! They're like fairytale crowns or, at least, a carnival on your plate! The Moonlight Cake is far less romantic than its name suggests. '"Moons" are gumdrop candies.' What is the purpose of the comb (or is it a rake?) next to the cake?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mid-Century Milk

When you think of glamor and modern, cutting-edge cuisine that doesn't skimp on decadence, what ingredients immediately spring to mind? Caviar? Truffles? Of course not! Better Homes & Gardens wants to lure you in with the 'smooth, tempting flavor only Evaporated Milk can give'! Better Homes' February 1955 pictorial paean to that fast, thrifty modern miracle (and pantry staple) provides your kitchen magician with eleven fancy luncheon and dinner suggestions.

The Evaporated Milk fashion spread. I usually take a Tums when I experience 'come-again' flavor, but apparently that is a good thing when caused by Evaporated Milk!

'Evaporated Milk: It's what the blue bloods are having for dinner tonight'. Article (and this blog post) paid for by the American Dairy Association.

The new architectural (and literary) marvel: Choose Your Own Adventure Curry - complete with an impenetrable rice fortress!

The Peach Cream Salad looks like one of the mysterious stations run by the Dharma Initiative on ABC's television hit, Lost. What could be the purpose of all those cryptic red and green portals along the outer perimeter? Is the top decoration the sun or another sinister symbol made of cling peaches?? Why does a Peach Cream Salad call for horseradish??? Does Jacob live here???? Only 'time' will tell, but probably only one of these questions will be answered by the end of the series.

Decisions, decisions! Can't choose between vanilla and chocolate pudding? Try Twice Good Pudding! Note: This recipe spread must have been published before the advent of salad bars, where you can have Twice Good Pudding every day of the week. See, we take for granted how good we have it now! Also, I challenge you to find a noodle in the Noodle Ring with Mushroom Sauce! I see more potential noodle matter in the Cherry Almond Fluff!

The Loaf In A Loaf is the highlight of this page. It's an edible matryoshka with the outer loaf holding as many as eight other nested loaves! Or, rather, it's like a turducken. You can also try the Treasure Island Rabbit. Diced pimiento marks the spot!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy, part 3

Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy concludes with a look at a few proposed alternative energy sources that we have yet to explore to their fullest and a quick primer of conservation methods. I think America was supposed to learn about the importance of resolving the energy crisis in these final pages. Now, we've wasted years not devoting ourselves to developing a new domestic energy system, and conservation hasn't been embraced (or, possibly, forced) as it once was.

Sure, this comic may seem like a relic now, but it was an admirable attempt to educate children and deliver a message of personal responsibility and of hope for the future. Sadly, I think this sort of booklet would fall on mostly deaf ears now. Maybe we can convince Disney to reprint Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy with Mickey charging up his cell phone and Goofy despairing over the high prices of gasoline as he's trying to fill up his SUV!

That fruitless, hopeless search.

Alternative sources of energy must be found. Here, Goofy and Mickey learn about nuclear fission and hydroelectric plants. Kids, please don't try to plug appliances into a waterfall!

Just imagine if we had five gallon limits on gasoline today! That would just be a drop in the tank of everyone's SUV.

Enny discusses renewable energy sources like solar power. The #1 user for solar power? Egg cooking!

Water power and nuclear fusion

Electromagnetic, geothermal, and volcanic energies

Welcome to Conservation Station. Take a gander at Goofy's wind-driven soup cooler.

What ways can you think of to save energy?

It was all a dream, but Enny's message leaves a strong impression on Mickey and Goofy. And Goofy discovers yet another source of power.....


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy, part 2

As promised, here is part two of Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy. Yesterday we left off just as the dozing Mickey and Goofy were greeted by Enny, the Spirit of Energies past. Enny has a lot to show the eager pair about the history of energy usage. Soon you'll learn all about Goofy's contributions to our lives over the last few hundred years! Remember, everything you read below is indisputable fact! Click to enlarge all pictures. (© 1976, Walt Disney Educational Media Co.)

Documented early use of solar and mastodon power.

Goofy lucks into discovering water and wind power, and he develops the first windmill. He also accidentally invents the first batch of Silly Putty.

Goofy demonstrates the prototype of the Rube Goldberg back scratcher. The shortcomings of water and wind power are resolved by the discovery of steam power.

Goofy ushers in the era of coal and discovers electricity after almost being struck in a thunderstorm. All contrary to what text books will have you believe!

Is Goofy an idiot savant or just an idiot? Discuss. Also, remember learning about 'Goofy-power' in school?

The convenience and ease of electricity has directly resulted in our lazy and wasteful society. As more energy guzzling gadgetry are hoisted upon us, trash cans overflow with obsolete technologies, noise pollution saturates the once peaceful air, queues for the moving pictures clutter city streets, and many houses have too many butter churns! ..Then Goofy discovers Texas Tea.

Goofy and our dependence on Texas Tea ('Black Gold').

Welcome to the Petroleum Century.

We're all to blame!

The never-ending cycle of guilt.

Tomorrow's final installment of Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy delves into possible alternative energy sources and the lost art of conservation.

Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy, part 1

America's biggest mistake to date was not heeding Mickey Mouse and Goofy's dire warning. We first experienced a devastating energy crisis over thirty years ago. Despite clever attempts at energy conservation and political promises to gradually lessen dependence on foreign oil and other finite energy sources, we are in the midst of yet another energy crisis. It's almost as if no lessons were learned from the last energy crisis!

But, to Mickey Mouse and his best pal, Goofy, this all seems like deja vu. Right now, they are probably in their castle in California (or possibly Florida), reminiscing about the 1970s, their shared hallucination about a preachy anthropomorphic atom named Enny, and how all their displays of Yankee ingenuity were wasted on the American public. Did any president after, say, Jimmy Carter even consult this comic? Or, perhaps, T. Boone Pickens was the only person to have taken this tract seriously.

*cue Disco Donald Duck*

Come with me back to 1976, as we look with shame at some of the ways (mule power!) our current energy crisis could have been prevented. I present to you in three parts: Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy (© 1976, Walt Disney Educational Media Co.).

Note Enny's approval of Mickey and Goofy's creative conservation. Shouldn't we all be driving mules by now?

This comic's thesis is already prominent on the first page. The energy crunch is bad, and it contributes to the unpleasantness of average mice and goofs. Energy crises may contribute to the impoliteness of some citizens as they become less punctual, are more apt to make ludicrous excuses for their behavior, and assuage their guilty consciences with nosy questions and hurtful accusations. Others might seem 'not themselves': weak, wan, and lacking vim and/or vigor. That's the energy crunch, folks!

Mickey explains the energy crunch with a (guilt) trip to the U.S. Energy Bank where Goofy gets a lesson in fy-nite energy.

Mickey sets us straight: We can't wish energy crunches away.

Oblivious as usual, Goofy goofs (as evidenced by the panel where the sky turns an alarming shade of magenta) and his car runs out of gas. Goofy and Mickey trek to Otto's gas station which is deserted and boarded up. Otto's mom and pop business hasn't actually 'moved.' It was bought out by Mobil Oil. (In the fifth panel, doesn't it look like someone in the distance is yelling about the fuel gauge?)

This comic probably terrified many kids with its 'we're all going to die (and it's all your fault for ever being born)' scare tactics. But sometimes it takes a good scare to jolt us out of complacency.

Trekking through the desert heat makes Mickey and Goofy grow weary, and they stop to rest under a tree. They become unnaturally sleepy (a la Dorothy in the poppy field in The Wizard of Oz), and their sleep sounds are oddly Batmanesque (zawp, bzazz, zoop!?). Enny instantly materializes out of thin air to take them on the trip of many lifetimes. Meet Enny, the Spirit of Energies past.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy when Enny will take us on a trip through the history of energy. It'll be better than a day at the Epcot Center!