7th May 2010

Jim Has Serious Pancake Mojo

Jim is making fancy pancakes for his little girl, inspired by fancy pancakes his dad made for him when he was little.

Jim's Bee Pancake

Jim’s getting a little carried away, though.
Jim's Crane Pancake

Don’t miss the giraffe!

Jim’s Pancakes

[Via Laughing Squid]

posted in Crafts, Food | 1 Comment

3rd December 2009

If I Bake You a Cherpumple, Will You Be My Shipoopi?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen…

Charles Phoenix and his Cherpumple.

Charles Phoenix is adorable. And ridiculous.

Charles has developed this Dessert of the Future, the Cherpumple. Inspired by the terducken, this monstrosity… well, I’d better let Charles explain it.

Charles is taking his famous slide show on the road up and down the west coast this holiday season, and it is not to be missed. UNLESS YOU LIVE IN THE BAY AREA, APPARENTLY. Ahem.

posted in Food, Midcentury | 1 Comment

11th May 2008

Watergate Salad

Per a request from Trott (before he realized that he was facing the very real danger of actually having to eat the salads I make), the next salad I made manifest from the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook was the dreaded Watergate Salad.

The alien landscape of Watergate Salad
The alien landscape of Watergate Salad

There is something intriguing about the idea that anything in 1979 would willingly carry the appellation “Watergate.” I recently discovered a nearly-identical Watergate Salad in a 1981 Lutheran church cookbook from Wisconsin. This little beast got around. More astounding, there is a Wikipedia entry for this affront to the culinary arts. According to the dubious, citation-less, stubbalicious entry:

No one is really sure of where the name came from. Kraft Corporate Affairs said, “We developed the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight. It was in 1975, the same year that pistachio pudding mix came out.” Kraft, however, didn’t refer to it as Watergate Salad until consumers started requesting the recipe for it under the name. “According to Kraft Kitchens, when the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight was sent out, an unnamed Chicago food editor renamed it Watergate Salad to promote interest in the recipe when she printed it in her column.”

This? This is the best the Kraft Kitchens could come up with to promote their new pistachio pudding flavor? I know pistachio pudding, I have enjoyed pistachio pudding, and these ingredients are not friends to pistachio pudding:

Watergate Salad recipe: if you recite it in front of a mirror three times, Nixon appears and bites your face off.
Watergate Salad recipe: if you recite it in front of a mirror three times, Nixon appears and bites your face off.
Mmm... slime
Mmm… slime

The green, slimy first stage of Watergate Salad — the precursor, if you will — had a certain je ne sais quoi.

My initial reaction to a bite of Watergate Salad was “it wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t have the mini-marshmallows.” My second reaction was, “oh, wait, no… it would be exactly that bad.” This stuff is vile. The recipe sounded dreadful, and boy did it deliver. Luckily, I did not have to bear the burden of Watergate Salad on my own: I was invited to a potluck dinner. The “salad” went untouched for nearly the whole meal, but at the end of the night, a few brave souls dug in — and liked it! Go figure. So, I guess there’s an audience for Watergate Salad after all.

There are step-by-step pictures, if you want to see the whole gory production (including multi-color mini-marshmallows in their native environment — Cool Whip!). Coming up next thanks to a request from Liz: Corned Beef Salad!

posted in Food | 13 Comments

20th April 2008

No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas

It was a struggle identifying which of the plentiful bounty of misnomered “salads” from the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook I should make first, but the No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas (submitted by Betty Rayner) kept calling to me.

No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas close-up
No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas close-up

It made sense to make this one first, because it’s relatively simple, and yet still horrifying — never have two words been less interested in sitting next to each other at the dinner table as “Coke” and “Salad.” And yet, here we are.

No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas
No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas
This is the "froth"
This is the "froth"

Making the “salad” (pictures here) required a bit of interpretation: are the “2 Cokes” 12 oz. cans, or the 10 oz. bottles that were possibly still kicking around in 1979? Is the “1 pkg” of Jello the small or large package? Or were the package sizes totally different in 1979? The recipe says that the 2 Cokes won’t quite make a “full 2 cups of liquid,” which tells me that we’re working with the small pack of Jello, but a cup is only 8 oz., and I can’t imagine a Coke so small that 2 of them won’t make 2 cups. I finally settled on the small pack of Jello (after all, I don’t think the demand for my “salad” will be high), and used one and a half cans of Coke.

The next sticky spot was the instruction to add the Jello to “hot Cokes” — I like to think that in Texas, this is just what they do when they accidentally leave their Cokes out in the sun… “Betty, darlin’, Bobbie-Jo left these Cokes out and now they’re hotter’n a whore in Hades — guess we’re having salad with dinner tonight!” I just microwaved mine.

I got to use my ring mold!
I got to use my ring mold!

Now, your ordinary batch of Jello already has a crapload of sugar in it, but Betty thinks it needs more, so water won’t do, it’s gotta be Coke. And what else does this need? How about some syrupy, not-at-all-cherry-like Maraschino cherries? Plus, some pecans, which actually turn out to be a critical part of the recipe. I considered leaving them out, but trust me — they are a welcome respite from the sugar, sugar and sugar provided by the other ingredients.

The final result is actually rather lovely, I must say. And it tastes about like you’d expect: like one great big, sugary cherry Coke. By now you may have noticed that I skipped one suggestion in the recipe… I did not opt to serve this with a dish of mayonnaise in the center. Perhaps I’m betraying my rookie status at this “salad”-making business, but I just was not able to wrap my head around that one.

If you haven’t already, you simply must take a look at the other recipes in the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook. So far I have a request to make Watergate Salad, and a request to stay away from the Spinach Salad, but there’s still plenty of room for discussion.

posted in Crafts, Food | 8 Comments

19th April 2008

1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook

1979 Marysville United Methodist Women's Cookbook
1979 Marysville United Methodist
Women’s Cookbook

Since, well, 1979 or so, I have been in the possession of one of the most startling and dangerous pieces of culinary literature of the 20th century… the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook.

I’m fuzzy on the details of how I acquired this little ticking time bomb… my mother grew up in Marysville, and my grandmother is still there, so I suspect that my grandmother had something to do with it. Grandma isn’t Methodist, and she’s cheap, so I can’t picture her buying this to support the church. She must have been given it as a gift and she turned around and gave it to us. At any rate, it’s mine now, and has been since forever.

The whole thing is an abomination, but the salad section is downright audacious in its abuse of the word “salad.” There is very little green in this section, unless you count the many instances of lime Jello. There is a recipe for “Vegetable Salad,” which sounds promising until you learn that it calls for 2/3 of a cup of sugar, a can of Chung King Chinese vegetables, and a can of something called “Veg-All.” But then comes “Asparagus Salad,” which you would think would at least have asparagus in it, but you’d be wrong. It has “asparagus soup” in it (surely Campbell’s Cream of Asparagus), a pack of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and lime Jello. So, you know, at least it’s green.

Asparagus Salad (curiously missing any acutal asparagus)
Asparagus Salad (curiously missing any acutal asparagus)

But it gets worse — oh, does it get worse. It’s hard to select just one recipe as an example of the horrors contained within, so instead I’ve unleashed them all on the world by scanning in the whole danged section.

Pretzel Jello Salad
Pretzel Jello Salad

Don’t miss gems like “Corned Beef Salad” (with lemon Jello and Miracle Whip!), “Super Salad” (with lime Jello, cream cheese, pineapple and marshmallows!), “Pretzel Jello Salad” (with, you guessed it — pretzels — plus Cool Whip, sugar, more sugar, and raspberry Jello), TWO! different “Coke Salads from Texas” (with cherry Jello, Dr. Pepper may be substituted for Coke if you’re feeling exotic), “Tomato Shrimp Aspic” (with tomato juice, lemon extract, lemon Jello and shrimp), or “Vernell’s Mint Salad” (with lime Jello, a box of buttermints, miniature marshmallows, mint flavoring, and green food coloring).

Vernell's Mint Salad
Vernell’s Mint Salad

There’s more — so much more. It just keeps going and going. Say what you will about these salads (oh please, do!), but it sounds like a photographic paradise to me. These recipes are just begging to be made real so that their jiggly, cavity-inducing goodness can be captured in full Technicolor grandeur. It must happen.

I’m taking requests — take a look through the recipes, and let me know which salad you think I should make next.

posted in Food, Midcentury | 5 Comments

28th March 2008

Paper Wallet Update

So I’ve been pestered by a few friends, and some strangers (Hi Books Inc!) to post my paper wallets. See, I make these wallets, out of paper, then use them till they almost fall apart, and then make new ones. For over 10 years now. And I’ve been meaning to post them here when they’re all shiny and new; before they slowly get dinged up and torn; before they conform to the shape of my ass. But the problem is when I make a new one, I almost always forget to take photos. And when I remember to take photos, I get so picky about the lighting and background and the angles that the photos never get taken.

But in the spirit of getting shit done and moving on, I present to you crappy photos of my previous two paper wallets, taken today, on my desk under the yellow light of my K’nex lamp, with the bare minimum effort put into setting up the shots.

Today we have two paper wallets.

60s Legs Paper Wallet

NOTE: At the time these photos were taken, the wallet’s seen a few months of wear and tear, and is looking a little weathered not unlike an off-the-strip Vegas cocktail waitress (Sorry mom! No offense!), but when it was new it looked fly.

This wallet was made out of two extra-long postcards I found in some gift store. I thought legs would make a great theme. I was wrong. Still I like how it turned out, and it has only offended a few so far.

Boot Wallet
Boot Wallet
Boot Wallet

North Woods Inn Paper Wallet

NOTE: At the time these photos were taken, the wallet was so badly worn that I retired it (and made the Legs wallet above), so it’s looking a bit like the box to a “We swear it works fine” returned digital camera at Fry’s. When it was new, it looked badass.

I love Clearman’s North Woods Inn. A lot. It is so fantastic it deserves it’s own post here. But here’s the Cliff Notes: The North Woods Inn is a themed family restaurant in Southern California that takes it’s cue from the rustic romanticism of the snow dusted Klondike. It’s a big log cabin (and by big I mean freaking huge) with permanent, fiberglass snow on it’s rooftop. The place has not changed since it opened in the 60s … but is has also not fallen into disrepair. It looks pretty much like I imagine it looked like on opening day; preserved in time perhaps better than Disneyland. The food is good, the service is friendly, and the crowd has real appeal — multiple generations of families gathering to celebrate good report cards and new drivers licenses. I ate lunch there on a Sunday and must have heard Happy Birthday (sung to the real tune of Happy Birthday) and Happy Anniversary (also sung to the real tune of Happy Birthday) at least thirty times.

Anyway, at the gift shop I picked up a couple of North Woods Inn pint glasses, and a set of North Woods Inn steak knives, and of course some of these fancy North Woods Inn postcards, which I used to make perhaps my favoriteist wallet of them all: the North Woods Inn Paper Wallet.

I need to make a new one of these soon.

North Woods Inn Paper Wallet
North Woods Inn Paper Wallet

Wait! Here’s some photos I just found when the wallet was pretty new, and I took it back to the motherland to be reunited with cheese toast, their famous “two salads”, and a stein of Molson (okay, okay, it was probably Anchor Steam):

North Woods Inn Paper Wallet

And now for the reverse angle:

North Woods Inn Paper Wallet

I hope to post more, with better pictures, as I make new ones. And there’s a whole story about why I started making them in the first place. Watch this space for more!

posted in Art, Crafts, Design, Food, Midcentury | 5 Comments

17th October 2007

If the Peppermill Served Punch, It Would Come in This

Electric Punch Light Fantasy
Electric Punch Light Fantasy

Check out this atrocity: it’s a cheap, plastic, tiered punch bowl fountain, and it lights up. And because that’s not tacky enough, the lights cycle through different colors. I’ll tell you what it’s missing, though: it needs a sprig of fiber optics on the top. Now that would be fancy.

I kind of secretly want it. A lot.

posted in Design, Food | 3 Comments

17th October 2007

That’s So Bacon

My beloved bacon costume has had some adventures lately:

MAKE Magazine

MAKE’n Bacon
My bacon costume made it into MAKE Magazine! I dig the blog, and it turns out the mag is pretty terrific, too. It’s a special Halloween issue, you can pick it up at bookstores & a bunch of grocery stores, too. It’s a little steep for a magazine, at $10, but it’s money well spent. Check me out lookin’ all cured and tasty on page 18! The bacon costume also got a shout-out on the MAKE blog today.

Garth as Bacon
Garth as Bacon

Bacon On, Garth
Garth over at Extreme Craft used my instructions to make his own bacon costume for the Indie Craft Experience that went down in Atlanta a short while back. Look how dashing he is as bacon! (And Garth, I’m sorry for making the lame “party on” reference, I’m sure you’re beyond tired of it. I feel dirty for even saying it. But then I see your beaming, bacony face, and I feel clean again.)

Bacon Takes a College Road Trip
One surreal morning a few months ago, a strange message popped into my email box: it was a plea from a director working on a Disney film, and he just had to have my bacon costume. The next morning. In Connecticut. Which is not very convenient from where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I spent the rest of the morning, afternoon and evening working out logistics with the production office. First, they were going to send a courier to come get it, but no courier service would deal with it because it didn’t have a box. “Well, what do you normally ship it in?” was the query from the production office — I had to point out that I am not actually a prop shop, I’m just a weird chick with a bacon costume. The next plan was for them to buy two plane tickets, so I could fly the costume out in person, with the bacon costume seated next to me. I didn’t want to take time off work, but I had my friend Mig all lined up and ready to hop on a flight — he’s good for these random adventures, and I love him so for it. But then we weren’t sure if we’d be able to get the bacon costume through security. So, finally, the production office made arrangements for me to take the bacon costume to a UPS Store, where they made a custom box for it, and then I drove the bacon costume to American Airlines Cargo at the airport, and bacon was on its merry, salty way. It arrived in Stamford bright & early the next morning, ready for its turn in the spotlight.


I have no idea how they actually used it, and of course there’s a decent chance it’ll just wind up on the cutting room floor. But it’s exciting nonetheless, and I look forward to bacon’s big debut. The film? Oh my, that’s the best part. It’s a Raven-SymonĂ© vehicle. By Disney. With Martin Lawrence. Called College Road Trip. Please, please, please let Raven be the one they put in the bacon costume. That would be seven different kinds of rad.

You Know You Want To
So, I got the costume back last week, and it’s in grand shape, ready for another outing. I loved being bacon last year for Halloween, but I think it’s someone else’s turn this year — anyone out there who lives in the Bay Area who wants to borrow it for Halloween? Make me an offer. Points for creativity over value in your offering.

posted in Crafts, Food | 6 Comments

12th August 2007

Perkins Pancake House Menu

Perkins Pancake House

Everyone here at the Junkyard Clubhouse love a good flapjack. So I was quite thrilled to see Neato Coolville‘s post about the Perkins Pancake House menu. It’s a great example of the wonderful design sensibilities of the the midcentury. The colors work well with our blog, too. Neato Coolville has full scans on the inside menu as, well.

Perkins Pancake House

posted in Art, Design, Food, Midcentury | 3 Comments

24th May 2007

Best Places to Eat

I was tagged by Swanky for this meme… here goes!

I’m supposed to come up with five great places to eat in my area, which is Silicon Valley. There’s one problem, though… I’m having trouble finding good food in my area. It’s a common complaint of mine — how can a region that hosts a world-class university (Stanford) and the headquarters of some of the brightest, youngest, hippest companies around (Google, Yahoo!, Apple, and about a hundred more) feel like such a cultural wasteland? Don’t get me wrong — I’ve no doubt that there’s great food hiding somewhere around here, but I’m having to slog through a lot of mediocre meals in my quest to find it.

I’m not a picky eater, or even a finicky eater — when it’s chow time, I’m game for most anything — but I am a big ol’ food snob. I’ve only been here for a bit more than a year, and so far I just haven’t found five places in Silicon Valley I feel confident actually recommending. I can come up with one. Vive Sol in Mountain View is fantastic. I would love to find more places like Vive Sol — please, if you know of great places to eat in Silicon Valley (esp. towards the Palo Alto end), I’m all ears.

So, I’m going to recommend five places in Seattle, instead:

  1. Palace Kitchen
    Palace Kitchen
    Palace Kitchen

    I lived in Seattle for nearly 30 years. I go back four generations in the Seattle area — on all sides of my family. I got some deep, deep roots there. The last time I went back to Seattle, this time to show Hanford my hometown, the very first thing I did was head straight to Palace Kitchen. I mean, straight there. We picked our hotel because it was the closest to Palace Kitchen.

    An example of how great the service is: on one visit, the place was packed, and we had other places to be that night, so we had to make it a quick stop for appetizers at the bar. It was crowded enough at the bar that we were about three people deep, but the bartender actually left the bar, and walked all the way around to take our order. Holy moley! That’s some serious service. She ably handled our order of some appetizers, too, and assured us that they’d find a way to fit our appetizer plates on the small ledge at the edge of the bar that would serve as our table. Sure enough, it all worked out just fine — and the drinks the bartender made were divine, prepared with a confident and experienced hand, and served quickly.

    Palace Kichen is owned by Tom Douglas, and it’s my favorite of his restaurants — it’s casual, but I think the food is more interesting than what you find at his other restaurants. The menu there is variable, based on what’s currently freshly available, and what flavors the chef feels like playing with. Tom Douglas beat Morimoto on Iron Chef. He’s just insanely good. I own his cookbooks, and his recipes make me look good. I love him. He’s my food hero.

  2. Toyoda Sushi
    Toyoda-san, photo by Markus Kolb
    Toyoda-san, photo by Markus Kolb

    Simple, unassuming, and just-plain-excellent sushi. Toyoda Sushi is a small place, tucked in the middle of a row of nothing little shops on Lake City Way, between a hobby shop and a dance studio. Lake City Way is not where you go to get good food in Seattle, it’s where you go to buy cars. I went past this place a hundred times without even noticing it — and even if I had, I would have written off sushi in Lake City as a bad idea.

    But Toyoda Sushi is wonderful. If it’s not the best sushi in town, it’s very, very close — and the unfakeable neighborhood feel of it makes it my hands-down favorite. The tiny entry is always crowded with people who know the drill: write your name on the list, and wait patiently. The waiting area is plastered with about a hundred photos of Toyoda regulars — there’s a few photos of Paul Newman tucked in there, apparently he’s a fan, too. The walls of the restaurant are decorated with a mix of Japanese prints and crayon drawings by the younger regulars. They serve pie. Happy regulars on their way out the door call out “Thank you, Toyoda-san!” to Mr. Toyoda, who grins back broadly while happily slicing away behind the sushi bar. If you are able to get a seat at the sushi bar, Toyoda-san will keep slipping you delicious little cuts of extra fish, without a word. It’s the most loved and loveable sushi place I’ve ever seen, and it deserves it.

  3. Paseo
    Paseo, photo by Mark Griffith
    Paseo, photo by Mark Griffith

    Paseo ruined me. I found it only a few months before I left Seattle, and I cursed myself for not finding it sooner. It’s not really a restaurant, it’s a cash-only sandwich stand with a few tables. My love for their Midnight Cuban has sent me on a fruitless quest to find such a delicious sandwich again — but nothing comes close. The typical cuban sandwich out there might as well be a McDonald’s hamburger compared to the deliciousness that is Paseo’s Midnight Cuban.

  4. Pagliacci Pizza
    Pagliacci, photo by lindes
    Pagliacci, photo by lindes

    My first job when I moved out of the house at 16 was at Pagiacci Pizza in the University District. Being poor as dirt, pizza was my only lunch or dinner for months. But even when my pizza-slinging stint was over, I still kept going back. Over the years, I generally ordered a Pagliacci pie for dinner at least once a week. When I was working back in the U-District again (this time in computational biology — a much cushier gig), I found myself again eating pizza every single day for lunch, this time by choice — and still kept up with my regular pizza dinners. Like Coca-Cola, I will never grow tired of Pagliacci Pizza. I may be addicted.

    They have special seasonal pizzas that I always looked forward to each year: the Roasted Tomato was perhaps my favorite, but I also loved it when the Gorgonzola Pear pizza rolled around (I always added prosciutto). Year-round, my favorite pizza was the Agog Primo — whole roasted garlic cloves, kalamata olives, goat cheese, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, parsley, on an olive-oil base (instead of their tomato sauce — which was allso excellent). They also do all the traditional pizzas, and they do them really well.

  5. Lighthouse Roasters
    Lighthouse Roasters
    Lighthouse Roasters

    Okay, you don’t actually eat coffee, but it’s an absolute essential to many a Seattleite, and I was no exception. It’s Seattle’s ultimate comfort food. It was one of the things I had to wean myself off of when I left — there was no good coffee near me when I lived in Los Angeles. When I lived in Seattle, my ritual nearly every weekend morning was to go get coffee at whatever was the best, closest coffee shop/stand. My favorite, and the one that was walking distance from my final residence in Seattle, was Lighthouse Roasters in Fremont. I loved starting my weekend mornings with a groggy stroll through the neighborhood, past the smiling topiaries, to be greeted by the quietly-friendly baristas, and given a cup of the best damned eye-opener. The stroll back was always a little brighter, and my day was off to a running start.

Okay, that’s my five! A few more orders of business for this meme to be completed:

The list:
It’s a little chain-lettery, sure, but it lets you see some other cities that have been profiled. If I’ve tagged you, just look at the page source to copy & paste the code with all the links.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Joe (NE Tennessee, USA)
10K Monkeys (Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Big Stupid Tommy (Athens, Tennessee, USA)
Newscoma (Weakley County, Tennessee, USA)
Russ McBee (Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Atomictumor (Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA)
Oh Really? (Oak Ridge, TN, USA)
Mark Steel (Knoxville, TN, USA)
Swanky (Knoxville, TN, USA)
Humuhumu (Seattle, WA, USA, and Silicon Valley, CA, USA)

And now to tag five other folks who are bound to have five restaurants in their area to recommend:

Tiki Mama
Bowling Trophy
Spectre Collie
Jurgen Nation
Moose in the Kitchen

posted in Food | 11 Comments