How We Partied like Mad Men for the End of Mad Men

parties with personality

I plan and give Parties with Personality!


After weeks of teasing yinz guys, I finally threw my Mad Men Party featuring recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin in honor of the end of the show. My shindig was just one part of an entire virtual Mad Men party with other bloggers from around the globe. And boy-oh-boy, at my house did we party. Perhaps, we may have partied even harder than anyone else.

You see, when I host, I wanna be the Hostess With the Mostess. And I fully believe that, to quote my boy Liberace, “too much of a good thing is wonderful!” Consequently, this ended up the menu for the evening:

  • Oak Bar Manhattans
  • mad men party bar

    How cute are these card suit snack dishes?

    Grand Central Oyster Bar Martinis

  • Pete’s California Dip
  • Avocado Dunk
  • Betty’s Stuffed Celery
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Cheese & Nut Balls
  • Barbetta’s Roasted Fresh Peppers alla Bagna Cauda
  • Betty’s Around the World Rumaki
  • Lime Treat
  • Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake

Yes. All that. Because I am a crazy person.

I just cued up my Cocktail Shaker Pandora Station and got myself a nice a little buzz from a couple of cocktails, so let’s get this party started!

First, the very, very, very delicious Oak Bar Manhattan:

Oak Bar Manhattan

Manhattan Cat

Pretty! Especially with Claude, my sweet 1950s TV lamp.


Manny (what a Beatnik!) and Noah enjoy Manhattans in my absolutely fabulous mid-Century pad. It is rather swanky, no?

And the equally delicious Grand Central Oyster Bar Martini (we switched out locally-produced Sloop Betty wheat vodka for the gin) and made them slightly dirty:

Mad Men Martini

mad men martinis
Now for the food (which there is a lot of. Like I said, I am a crazy person).

California Dip RecipePete’s California Dip comes from one of my all-time favorite Mad Men sub-plots:

Speaking of chip n’ dips, how the hell do I not own one?

California Dip best be paired with Utz chips, not only because of the role that Utz played in Mad Men, but because I’m in Baltimore and Utz is a thing down here in Baltimore. Check this out:


Smyth Jewelrs: Where Baltimore Gets Engaged

Yes, that is the Utz girl being proposed to by Mr. Boh (the National Bohemian spokesman). It’s a whole campaign by one of the local jewelers. Super-cute.

The Chesapeake Bay even has its own chip, The Crab Chip.


And this was super-easy and super tasty. So I’m making this next year for the Super Bowl.

My friend Rick brought the Avocado Dunk. Which was good. Because avocados: good. Mayonnaise: good.  Avocado Dunk: good. Just like guacamole but with half the effort. Ole!

Avocado Dunk Recipe

Avocado Dunk

Betty’s Stuffed Celery!

Stuffed Celery Recipe

This was fancier than the stuffed celery I remember having growing up. That was just cream cheese in celery. This was like a Lockerman Dip stuffed in celery. I liked the addition of the almonds. Well played, Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook. Well played. mad men party 043

For the Deviled Eggs, since I’ve posted many deviled eggs before, I chose a recipe from a book that may have been in Betty Draper’s collection, The Chamberlain Calender of French Menus for 1965 (Hastings House Publishers, 1965).

1965 Chamberlain Calendar of French Menus

It’s a cookbook. It’s an engagement book. It’s two, two, two books in one!

Stuffed Eggs With Capers

These were a nice twist on a classic. I love me some capers. And how gorgeous are these?

Stuffed Eggs with Capers

Now, moving onto Cream Cheese and Nut Balls! Instead of making one, big cheese ball (and boy do I love a cheese ball!), this recipe calls for dainty individual balls.

Cream Cheese and Nut Balls

It just makes ’em a bit more classy. I love anything bite-sized.

cheese nut balls

Very yummy. I couldn’t stop myself from inhaling the leftovers with some Chicken in a Biskit crackers. Biskit and balls. They are a match made in heaven.

The most ambitious dish I took on was the Roasted Fresh Peppers alla Bagna Cauda as served at NYC’s famed Barbetta restaurant (this restaurant’s menu notes the year that each dish was first served. How cool is that? That is catnip to a retro food fan like myself. I gotta go one day!).

roasted peppers

I roasted my own peppers. I slow-cooked the Bagna Cauda sauce. And then plated it all fancy-like as they do at Barbetta: three pepper halves filled with with Bagna Cauda, separated by lettuce leaves:

Barbetta Bagna Cauda

You want the recipe? You gotta buy the book. Or win your own (keep reading, kittens!)

But to make this dish cocktail party-friendly, I sliced the peppers, brushed the pieces with Bagna Cauda, and then rolled them on toothpicks:

Bagna  Cauda Appetizers

Totally Maguyvered!

Onto the Rumaki (which has a dubious origin story that involves Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic, and the cultural appropriation of everything Polynesian in the 1950s ). It’s all in the book.

Mad Men Rumaki

I made the Rumaki once before. And not well.

But this time, they turned out perfectly. Probably because I didn’t change a single thing about the recipe.

Rumaki mad men party 062

And used real bacon. Turkey bacon, you are just not right.

The Rumaki were a huge hit at the party. Not a single one left.

Speaking of huge hits, let’s move to Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I never would be able to make a proper cheesecake; which is why my friend Kristen made it instead (she also made a perfect Twin Peaks Cherry Pie after my epic fail).

Well, this was dreamy.

Lindy's Cheesecake

Absolutely delicious. Just tart enough. And the crust was fabulous.

You want the recipe? Buy the book. Or win your own (see the bottom of this post).

I told Kristen that I wouldn’t eat the leftovers because she wants to give the last piece in my fridge to her boyfriend George, who was not able to make it.

But I may have lied and already took it down. #SorryNotSorry

My party ensemble was inspired by this Betty Francis look:

I think it’s been said that “the higher the hair, the closer to God.” Well, if that’s the case then I’m at least a goddamned Cardinal.


Yes, that is all my own hair. Along with a lot of Aqua Net and sheer force of will.

mad men party 069

 And yes, that is Godzilla in that painting. And a Hickory Farms Beef Log. And that is Cher in that photo with my dad. But what is the green glowing thing?

Cake fountain

Cake fountain. Because I am fancy like that.

Oh! One last dish: Lime Treat. I had to make a Jell-O dish. And this one is from my 1961 copy of the Joys of Jell-O. But unlike Lindy’s Cheesecake, there was no problem with there being leftovers. Am I the only person who truly likes Jell-O?

Whatever. Leftovers for me. And how fantastic is this?

Lime Treat

That couldn’t be any more perfect. I didn’t even try to match them up.

Here we are, those of us who got dressed up, in all our costumed glory:

mad men party 077

A spiffy crowd! Drew, me, Kevin, Greg, Manny, Kristen, and Noah. Would you be surprised to know that the dress with the feathers also belongs to me?

book-coverI love this cookbook. Through the years I’ve made the Canadian Club Punch, the Gimlet and rumaki, Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Canapes, and Caesar salad.  I’m not saying that I like this cookbook just because I got a free copy–because I didn’t get a free copy of the book–I already had my own very-loved copy, but YOU can get your own copy from the publishers! And guess what? I’ve extended the contest to the day before the big premiere on Sunday. So just click on the Don Draper below to enter.


I’ve looked at some of the posts from other parties, and wow, their food looks absolutely gorgeous. GORGEOUS. But I would bet money that no one else had a cake fountain. Or spontaneous dancing to The Supremes. For serious. Here is Manny and me cutting a rug.

(I know that it looks like it’s wrong, but click on the link and it’s right-side up).

It’s our “Zou Bisou Bisou” moment! Or at least it’s our Peggy-dancing-awkwardly-at-the-party-where-Megan-sang-Zou-Bisou-Bisou moment.

peggy dances

OK, perhaps there was some spontaneous dancing to The Supremes at the other parties. There may have been! But the cake fountain?

If anyone else had a cake fountain, I’ll eat a shoe. But not one of my pretty, white shoes. Patent leather is tough, my friends.

Now click on the banner below to see what all the other fabulous party people made!

madmenfinalepartyAnd maybe you’ll get inspired to throw your own Mad Men soiree on Sunday night!

Special thanks to Judy Gelman, one of the book’s co-authors, for coordinating this party. It was a helluva clam bake.

Mad Men Party Table

This entry was posted in 1950s, Beverages & Cocktails, cookbooks, Dessert, Eggs, Food, International Cuisine, Jell-O, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to How We Partied like Mad Men for the End of Mad Men

  1. Oh my good gawd. I have just about fainted over your cake fountain, Godzilla picture and off the cuff mention that it’s Cher with your dad. Having my party tomorrow night but it won’t be anywhere near as glam as yours! BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO! Gad I wish I lived in Baltimore…

  2. Cake fountain! Rumaki! Dirty Martinis! And the perfect closing…a Russ Meyer/Roger Ebert movie “inspired” by Jacqueline Susann’s “novel!” (The book was okay, the movie was a campy delight, and the music was excellent!)

    Congrats on the great party–it looked like (insert word that means more than fun here)!

  3. mrsshya says:

    Truly impressive. Capped off with the photo of you in yor garb, the full spread and the glowing fountain in the back! Marvelous!

  4. Laura says:

    Ugh, I wish I could have been there!

  5. Eat The Blog says:

    Serious cake fountain envy over here.
    You know how to throw a party. And make a bitchin Jell-O mould. How can someone not like Jell-O?
    Your home is lovely, by the way.

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  8. tarynnicole says:

    This looks amazing and utterly delicious!!! Sadly, once again too far behind on my emails to join in…xx

  9. Jill says:

    So so so awesome.

  10. Kittentoes says:

    What a swell party! Nice pad you got there, and nice Hot Pete friend.
    Tragically, the link is not working for me. I figure I may never know the joys of Lindy’s cheesecake.

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  12. Wow, wow, wow! It looks like a blast! And everything sounds so great! Many items I remember from the “first” time around! haha! 🙂

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