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

10th May 2008

Animation by Chris Ware

One of my favorite illustrators Chris Ware animated this segment for This American Life:

[via Laughing Squid]

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29th April 2008

Page Miss Glory Cartoon

“Here comes Miss Glory!” popped into my head last night, and I had to seek this old cartoon out. I have vivid memories of this cartoon as a wee lad; it was one of my favorites. What I did not have any memory of was the copious amount of boozing, stripping and fine moderne art deco design throughout it.

They don’t make cartoons like they used to.

posted in Animation, Art, Design, Midcentury, Television | 2 Comments

24th April 2008

Vintage Atari Games

Oh, how these vintage Atari games bring back memories. Fuzzy memories. Kinda. Well, maybe.

Vintage Atari Games
Vintage Atari Games

[via Shawne]

posted in Miscellaneous | 2 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

19th April 2008

Hipster Cat Playing the Theremin

You just know this cat has been trying to get a DJ night at the lounge down the street:

Uploaded to YouTube by blancbonn

Also, his vinyl collection is extensive, and far more esoteric than yours.

[via Trott]

posted in Music | 2 Comments

5th April 2008

Grandma Zelda’s Advice

I’m so glad I never asked my Grandma for advice, but I’m glad this guy did.

[Via Shawne]

posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment

4th April 2008

Last Night a Korean Drummer Saved My Life

I challenge you to find a more adorable drummer…

Uploaded to YouTube by LastxLight

Be sure to keep watching to the end, he really brings it home.

[via Trott]

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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