Denveater - Deconstructing Colorado Cuisine, Dish by Dish

Husted Collection Curios: The Wall Street Cookbook, 1966—Now That’s Market Hysteria!

***Part of a semiregular series about my findings at the Margaret Husted Culinary Collection—a remarkable, undersung cookbook archive, curated by the ever-helpful Steven Fisher, whose 1000s of specimens run the gamut from serious historical finds to freakouts like this.***

Well, it was the sixties, after all. Given how delusional Wall Street is now, can’t you just imagine what it was like in the hallucinogenic era of Vietnam? Only instead of shoving subprime derivatives down our throats, they were trying to shove…let’s see…jellied vegetable salad made with lemon-flavored Jello & mustard.

And by “they,” I mean economist C. M. Flumiani, according to Google a very real person, & so-called “cuisine master” Christopher Alexander—judging by his absence from Google & the similarity in “their” writing styles very likely Flumiani’s alterego—who, “together,” penned The Wall Street Cookbook, a highlarious compendium of grandiose self-congratulation, the incomprehensible juxtaposition of recipes & stock-market jargon, & grotesque stick-figure illustrations. Oh, & typos.

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To get a taste of what is “unquestionably the best, most palatable cookbook [then] available”—screw that Julia Child on the cover of Time in its year of publication—just click on the image (as with any above or below) to read the foreword in its entirety. Do it.

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Think Flumiani exaggerates? Then just ask Alexander, whose intro assures us that we can’t put a price on prandial perfection—or a muzzle on high-falutin’ rhetoric. Let them eat cake, indeed!

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Or at least The Syndicate’s Cabbage Soup—you see, each dish is named for a stock market term, belabored incongruity be damned—with spareribs, “carrotts” & “aregano.” Note the stunningly accurate portrait of investment bankers.

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Or Venetian Zuppa di Pesce à la Unlisted Trading Privileges. Can I get a side of insider tips with that?

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Or Suckling Pig à la Spanish Wall Street, because “all streets in Spain have meaningful walls.” WTF? At least “truss pig in kneeling position” makes sense, because if there’s one order Wall Streeters can take, it surely involves hamstringing.

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Or Stuffed Pepper Treat à la Direct Tax,

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which unfortunately omits the illustrated part where you saw through somebody’s guts. Therein lies the secret ingredient, perhaps? Wall Streeters should know.

Husted Collection Curios: Good Housekeeping is totally in the eye of the beholder

***Part of a semiregular series about my findings at the Margaret Husted Culinary Collection—a remarkable, undersung cookbook archive whose 1000s of specimens run the gamut from serious historical finds to quirky treats like this.***

It’s these little Cold War–era, checkout-aisle throwaway promos that are the meat of the Husted—crammed shelves upon shelves of them, each as goofy, perverse & or chilling as the last. You know—what Candyboots said.

Good Housekeeping’s Appetizer Book & Entertaining for Six or Eight exemplify the genre.

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It was all about the fondue, the skewers, the peach melba & the…Campbell’s & Eggo mushroom soup waffles with pickled peppers? What the hell are those things on the right? Well, whatever it was about, it was for the swingers—

the sloshed hostesses making obscene gestures as their husbands fumed, arms crossed, above phrases like “Other Quickies” & “Stuffed Nuts”;

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the randy teens feigning wholesomeness with varsity sweaters & accordions;

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the constant double entendres (or so they ring in my ear) & faux-haute misdeeds

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& downright food antiporn, featuring the apparent likes of deformed melting testicles (parsleyed, of course).

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God bless taste-free space-age America!

Husted Collection Curios: Military Meals at Home COOK BOOK, or why we love men in uniforms

***Part of a semiregular series about my findings at the Margaret Husted Culinary Collection at DU’s Penrose Library—a remarkable, undersung cookbook archive whose 1000s of specimens run the gamut from serious historical finds to, well, the following.***

In a post-post-Vietnam, post-9/11, post–Iron Chef, post-ironic era, what’s not to love about a good old, genuine, pre-loss-of-collective-(however willed)-innocence, WWII-era collection of recipes “used by the Military Service in their kitchens & galleys,” from shit on a shingle to biscuits & gravy? The cover alone’s a happy heartbreaker,

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between the use of all-caps to emphasize COOK BOOK—lest you, trawling across, say, the website of the US Army food service for photos like

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this

need convincing that Military Meals at Home (1943) isn’t in fact some sort of joke book—& the guarantee that the recipes therein will build “resistance.” What, like vaccines? Is it possible to choke down enough “Irish grape & bologna salad” that you could develop an immunity to it? 

No, somehow I don’t think you could ever get used to potato salad such as this, heaped atop what appears to be thin-sliced roast beef & ringed round with either black olives (the referent of the above slur) or actual grapes. Or blueberries with some kind of infection.

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Per the introduction, “It is a truism that ‘food is what men fight with,’ but it has only recently been recognized that food is what men see with & fly with. High-vitamin food is what supports the terrific strain of emergencies.” An example might be a nice cuppa trusty old joe, which apparently comes with not only firepower but all the milk, sugar & caffeine–induced vim you need to  use it.

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Another would be oh-so-nutrient-dense fried mush & bacon.

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To reiterate that caption:

You can’t get ‘em up

You can’t get ‘em up

Sure you can get ‘em up
when its
[sic] fried mush and
bacon for breakfast

Those midcentury drill sergeants were no Madvillain, I’ll tell you that. Granted, the studs of the armed forces in general don’t seem to have been prone toward lyricism, especially of the romantic variety.

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Was that a threat? Did droves of vets leave their high-school sweethearts for mess cooks with hardons for hardtack?

If so, it must’ve been those same don’t-ask-don’t-tell targets who founded the US Army Culinary Competition, which actually looks like a) a blast b) the real deal:

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Hell, the rulebook—covering everything from clarified consommés to marzipan modeling—is 81 pp. long! One key caveat:

—A service member that gets injured during Armed Force Chef of the Year, Armed Forces
Jr. Chef of the Year, or Categories K [Practical & Contemporary Hot Food Cooking] & P [Practical & Contemporary Patisserie] will be evaluated by the lead kitchen judge. If the injuries
are serious, the lead judge will stop the competitor & show staff will ensure that the injured service
member gets proper medical attention. The competitor will not be rescheduled.

Suck it up, soldiers—after all, cooking isn’t just a job, it’s an adventure!

Husted Collection Curios: My Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book, by & for the desperate housewives of 1930

***Part of a semiregular series about my findings at the Margaret Husted Culinary Collection—a remarkable, undersung cookbook archive whose 1000s of specimens run the gamut from serious historical finds to quirky flukes.***

It’s falling apart on the inside as well as the outside.

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Glam as the recipe testers must have been with their pre-WWII careers, their matching handbags & pumps, their wasp-waists & Veronica–style tresses,

their souls were surely clawing ceaselessly to escape the gaping maw of the dark within. At least, that is, if the frantically cheerful, culinarily delusional &/or creepily suggestive headnotes are any indication. In all 3 categories:

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Barbecued Pork Chops (& by “barbecued,” they of course mean oven- baked with ketchup)

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Tri-Meat Roll-Up (4 if you count the bacon! Love the garnish of whole onions)

In the generation-gap category: Tuna mousse is doubtless “tops with high-schoolers” (oh, kids today & their fish-pulp)! In the zonked-out-Stepford-Wives category: Shrimp-orange salad’s “pretty, fresh-tasting, and a company puzzler.” (Because everything’s hard to figure after a few highballs. “Jeepers, am I one zozzled tootsie, or is this salad some kind of trick?) In the no-cuisine-please-we’re-American category: “Lemon gives lamb a chickeny taste and color!” In the “gee,-I-hope-you-didn’t-go-to-any-trouble-on-my-account” category: Hawaiian ham “has that just-made-for-you look guests go for!”

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One can only sigh dreamily to picture the editorial meetings around a tableful of auburn-coiffed, milk-skinned dames moving from purrs to shrieks, the skeletons of one another’s hubbies dancing in their mental closets all the while.

Husted Collection Curios: Trade Winds Cookery, 1956 (sneak preview: fish popsicles!)

***Part of a semiregular series about my findings at the Margaret Husted Culinary Collection—a remarkable, undersung cookbook archive whose 1000s of specimens run the gamut from serious historical finds to quirky treats like this.***

In all its exotic mystery, the cover of Trade Winds Cookery: Tropical Recipes for All America by Norma A. Davis (not to be confused with Nelson_alice2 )

naturally caught my eye, filling me with urgent questions: What’s that native girl doing on an 8′x8′ island with a bunch of groceries? How did she get there? How long can she stand like that? Shouldn’t someone send for help (like maybe the guy who drew her picture from the deck of his passing yacht or something, the heartless bastard)? Etc.

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The recipes didn’t disappoint, equally lush with illogic. Take the caviar ice cubes from, uh, Santo Domingo. Because when you think “sturgeon eggs,” the republic that comes to mind is the Dominican one, right? Or, okay, Soviet, close enough. At any rate, what a clever idea, eh, freezing caviar with a little onion & lime juice in a tray so you can pop a cube or 2 into a nice cold glass of boutique vodka?

Oh, wait. The cubes go on a plate with buttered toast points. Of course—why didn’t I think of that? After all, what’s a party without some stickless fish-egg popsicles & soggy croutons? (Seriously, am I missing something?)

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For the record, I actually made some with tobiko, minced onion & lemon juice, thinking they’d make a good snack out of a shot of my fave bison-grass vodka. Here’s what they look like in one of the tarantula-print candleholders the Director mistook for bar glassware when he bought them (speaking of lush illogic, especially since we use them all the time). Here’s what they taste like—what they are, which is good if you don’t mind bottoming up the dregs of piscine ova. (Hey, waiter, there’s a flying fish fetus in my booze.)

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Another startlingly dreamy-sounding recipe that I haven’t made yet:

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Avocado is a fruit, after all, used to make ice cream & smoothies the equatorial world over. Mashed with sugar, chocolate liqueur & a little citrus for balance, it’d make a fine dessert indeed—although I’d think seriously about substituting Amarula or Kahlúa for crème de cacao, just to up the intrigue a little.

Really, the book’s full of such breezy, balmy attention grabbers, from fried grapefruit

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to this:

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Should some enterprising reader be inclined to test any of the above, I’d welcome a guest post.

Husted Collection Curios: goofball gems from the Beat era (sneak preview: T-shirt pie!)

***This will be the first in a semiregular series about my findings at the Margaret Husted Culinary Collection at DU’s Penrose Library—a remarkable, undersung cookbook archive whose 1000s of specimens run the gamut from serious historical finds to, well, the following.***

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“From the Unsquare corners of North Beach, The Village, and Venice West, comes this authentic collection of Beat Recipes” published by 7 Poets Press in 1961, according to the intro, which continues:

“Most of the recipes are inexpensive (who has bread for steaks?), quick to prepare, and a gas to gobble, compiled over a period of three years spent On The Road and two years Up the Creek. …
A Loft is not a Pad without a Beat Generation Cook Book—Eat Beat! It’s the way out, Man.—The Editors.”

(Psychedelic highlights courtesy of me!)

Thing is, the recipes are wack like crack (or, less anachronistically but less mellifluously too, like LSD). Check out the 1 for Streetcar Pie:

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Groovy, eh? At least I think so, though the ambiguously gendered guy with several missing toes in the illustration at the bottom of the page doesn’t seem so sure.

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Now it’s your turn to spot the pot-fueled humor!

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But here’s the best part: the back ad.

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Sure wish Bukowski & Hughes had contributed some recipes too, although in the former case I guess it would just be:

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1 bottle of beer, unopened

Open bottle. Serves 1.

As for Hughes—what, dried grapes?

After all, poets tend to be too busy writing, fighting, drinking, & going insane to think about eating much, never mind developing recipes. And bona fide rock stars like Sonny & Cher? Forget it.

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Which makes “The Yardbirds’ Lemon Butter Chicken” a little hard to swallow. But sure, maybe that wacky Don Adams, aka Agent 86 on Get Smart, really did whip up a dip of port wine, peanut butter, raw onion & processed garlic cheese from time to time to smear all over Agent 99 back in the trailer.

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