Joan Crawford’s French Banana Salad (1928)

Last week everyone went completely bonkers for both the premiere of Feud: Bette & Joan and for Joan Crawford’s Danti-Chips, so I decided to make a dish for episode 2!

Here is one of Joan’s favorite recipes, originally published in a 1928  article titled “Soup, Salad and Dessert: They Make or Mar the Meal” from an issue of Photoplay Magazine.

Check it:

…once in a while, being only human, Joan forgets all about her careful diet, as witness her recipe for French Banana Salad…

I don’t know how bananas, peanuts, mayo and lettuce read as FRENCH, but as I established with her Danti-Chips, I’m not gonna question Ms. Crawford.

Because she will cut a bitch.

So here it is–if you dare–Joan’s French Banana Salad…

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Broccoli Cheese Soup (1985)

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that I love produce grab bags. As in you get a box or bag and it’s just random stuff. In the past I’ve done Arganica, Relay Food and Hungry Harvest. I liked them all, but these were all really expensive, even Hungry Harvest which delivered surplus produce from grocery stores.

So I found a new supplier. And it’s a non-profit that fights food waste, which is one of my biggest pet-peeves.  It’s called Gather Baltimore. In a nutshell–they recapture, reuse, and redistribute any and all leftover healthy fruits and vegetables they can get their hands on.

So whenever they have inventory, you can stop by and for $7 get a whole big blue IKEA bag full of produce that otherwise would’ve been tossed. They then also take food to financially challenged families in food deserts for free.

I love it. I’m giving food a second shot and I am helping  Baltimoreans in need. Win-win.

So when I got at least 8 crowns of broccoli in my latest Gather Baltimore Blue Bag, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a Cream of Broccoli or Broccoli Cheese Soup.

This was the bottom of the bag. That’s a shit ton of broccoli.

So I went to my collection (just updated!) and scoured index after index after index and came up with NOTHING. But finally. Finally! I found a recipe in my Saints Cyril & Methodius 75th Anniversary Jubilee Polish/American Cookbook.

Leave it to the Polish Catholics of McKees Rocks, PA to pull through.

I doubled the amount of cheese. Because 2 cups come in the shredded cheese bag, and I just really like cheese.

Speaking of cheese, I went on a Bumble date a couple of months ago. Lemme tell you about it……..

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119. Chicken a la King (Happy 6th Anniversary!)

I think it was established long ago that I am a horrible person. Or if not a horrible person, at least someone who deserves a Jerry Seinfeld Award in Dating Excellence.

Because I am still out there. Dating. And doing it in such a dismissively superficial manner. But does that make me a horrible person? Gentle readers, I will let you decide.

Let me tell you about my date with Kermit.

Before meeting Kermit I had some time on my hands because I went to Weight Watchers (yeah, back on the horse) and the 5:30 meeting wasn’t as long as I remember it being; so I went to a local watering hole and had a cocktail to pass the time. I texted my date to meet me at the bar instead of the restaurant.

So Kermit shows up. I presume hungry because he immediately tells me that he has The Gluten. Well, I am super-well versed in the world of gluten-free since my mum was diagnosed with Celiac 20 (!!!) years ago. And at this joint there was nothing for him to eat. Which is fine. I get it.

But he scanned the menu some more and told me that he doesn’t do dairy.
No gluten. No dairy.

But since I had a good deal of my drinkie left I asked,

Want a drink?

No. I don’t drink.

He looked at my glass of whiskey and pointed:

That’s gluten.

I know that this isn’t really the case. The gluten is eradicated during the distilling process, but whatever. The bartender offers gluten-free beer.

Nope. He declines. No drink.

He doesn’t drink.

No gluten. No dairy. No booze.

I mean, I had such a hard time working meat-free with Mr. Kinsey that I all but abandoned my retro cooking. At least we had cheese and alcohol in common (relationships have been based on less!).

So I, SHIT YOU NOT said to Kermit, this isn’t going to work. I don’t want to waste your time, but this is so not going to be a thing.

Perhaps that was a bit harsh and maybe I should have–

Yeah. Don’t care. Totally no fucks left to give. I was just being honest. And apparently this is a Friends post.

To his credit, Kermit didn’t just bail. He let me finish my drink and we went to have tacos.

The evening wasn’t a total waste. Kermit was a very nice guy. Not bad looking. Conversation was solid. And there were tacos (although I think Papi’s is overrated).

But, let me remind you again: NO GLUTEN. NO DAIRY. NO BOOZE.

So, in the spirit of this story I present to you, my friends, a dinner that features meat and dairy and gluten and booze:

I can totally break this one down for you because I kept detailed timeline-type notes. Ya know, like I used to do. Back in the day. Six years ago, to be exact. Yeah, I hit my 6 year blogging anniversary this week!


And yay to six years with my beloved Brian Boitano!

OK, now onto 119. Chicken a la King

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The Argyle Club’s Cuban Black Bean Soup (1961)

This recipe comes from a very recent acquisition–Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook (1961). My mum gave me this one for Christmas this year, and lemme tell ya, this one seems like a goody, especially since it features illustrations by Andrew Warhola!

Yeah, Warhola as in Warhol.

As I was flipping through the pages I realized that Vanderbilt’s cookbook is chock-full of recipes that are interesting, practical and appealing! It has the potential to become a go-to book for me.

For my first dish from this cook book I chose Cuban Black-Bean soup because one of the main ingredients was ham. And I had ham to burn–even after making my split-pea soup.

black bean recipe 2black bean recipe 1

I didn’t change it much. Instead of using a chicken boullion packet in lieu of “beef extract” and subbing basil, parsley, and tarragon to replace the “herbes fines,” (whatever the hell that is). I also switched out bacon for salt pork.

So it was basically the same recipe–except for those 3 changes I just mentioned.

When I put in that hunk of meat, I expected that I would have to bring it out and chop it up at some point, but after 4 hours, it just fell apart into lovely little strands.

I also thought that this soup would be WAAAAY too mild for today’s palates, but I think I was wrong. It was a very nice soup and didn’t need much in the way of extra heat. It was perfect if you have a big group who like varying amount of spiciness.

But if you wanna kick it up, I would recommend adding a small can of green chiles while cooking, or adding 2 tsp or so of salsa verde when serving, or just letting everyone add cayenne and/or chili powder at the table to taste. I did both the salsa verde and cayenne pepper with some sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese (and homemade baked tortilla chips, of course).

black bean soup finished

Anyway, this was tasty and used up a good deal of ham, So right on, Amy Vanderbilt! And right on, Argyle Club of San Antonio for creating this dish!

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A Groundhog Day Menu (1971)

Cue up the Pennsylvania Polka! For the 2nd year in a row, I have decided to delve into my copy of Gourmets & Groundhogs (1971) to properly celebrate Groundhog Day.

And to do so, I referred to a favorite Groundhog Day menu from Miss Gretchen Green of NYC.

I do not know why Miss Gretchen Green was such a Groundhog enthusiast, but it is nice that she was a hospital volunteer!

I sure as hell wasn’t going to make this entire menu, so I chose the Blue Grass Bread and the Reveille Soup and ran with it. Mostly because booze was an ingredient in both.

I am going to assume that the Blue Grass Bread is called that because one of the ingredients is bourbon. As in Kentucky Bourbon. As in the Blue Grass State.

Kentucky is the Blue Grass state…right?

Whatever. 1/4 cup of Jim Beam was enough to make the batter smell reaaaally boozy.

Sadly, my toaster oven over baked it a bit. The top was really hard. And more than a golden brown. Whoops.

Now the soup!

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Locke-Ober’s New England Boiled Dinner (1965)

Firstly, just because I am posting a New England post today does not mean that I am endorsing the New England Patriots in this Sunday’s AFC Championship.

Because, Steelers. Duh.

Also, I actively hate the New England Patriots with a fiery passion.

And doesn’t everyone by now? I totally don’t understand the people in Baltimore who are all still like “boo, Steelers!” Um. C’mon! I was totally rooting for the Ravens vs. Pats that year that the Ravens made it to the Super Bowl and Beyonce shut the mutherfucker down.

I’d be all-Ravens all-day if the roles were reversed. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, no?

But back to the Pats–on Sunday I want Tom Brady to be pressured (ok, hit #sorrynotsorry) a lot in the game. Not just because, BRADY. But when it happens, he gets all pissed/frustrated and does Tom Brady Tiny Mouth



But anyhoo! Although I am anti-New England, I am pro-New England food.

So let’s get to Locke Ober’s New England Boiled Dinner!

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BH&G Vegetable Cook Book Split-Pea Soup (1967)

When I drove back to Baltimore from Pittsburgh after Christmas, in my car I had Brian, Margot, a new immersion blender, new luggage, and a giant hunk of Christmas Eve ham.

Over 2 pounds of delicious, perfectly cooked and smoked, Herb Brittner ham. The ham that my mum drives out to Butler County for every year. I don’t know what it is about this ham….

But I do know that I write about ham and Herb Brittner’s a lot. A lot.

Brittner’s should be paying me for advertising because I wax poetic about their ham at least once a year. I wonder if they’d ship a ham…?

But anyhoo, what does a girl do when she is sent home with a log of Christmas ham?

This year I made soup!

There are so many different versions of the classic split-pea, but I decided to go with this one from the BH&G Vegetable Cook Book (1967)


I picked it because it was simple. Like, super-simple.

While making this soup, nothing bizarre happened, nor were there any trip-ups. This just ended up being a delicious soup.

Seriously, I didn’t add a single thing or takeaway anything from the BH&G recipe. I seasoned it exactly as directed.

The most I did was add some homemade croutons that were covered in a mix of salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and marjoram.

This was extremely good.

I already invited Rick over for dinner this week and we had it for dinner. He loved it! I am happy because this soup is good to freeze so I will have many a luncheon from this one dish.

Also, there was so much ham I even made another soup! Keep an eye out for some black beans, yinz guys!

Posted in 1960s, cookbooks, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes, Soups & Stews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Affinity Cocktail (1930…or 1929)

Happy Happy Hour!

Here’s a little libation to heat things up while the US of A is under a bit of a cold spell.

A bit o’ Scotch will warm your tootsies!

Check it out!

Also, ignore the big watermark thingie. I’m seeing if I like this editing platform before I buy it. Although I do think I like it because it reminds me of back when I used AVID. Which I don’t think is even a thing anymore.

But I digress, ignore the big watermark thingie.

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Antoinetta Pelligrina Pica’s Shrimp Scampi

And now a quick take–it’s Antoinetta Pelligrina Pica’s Shrimp Scampi!

Well, few recipes get easier than that!

I made a serving for 1. So I went with a 1/4 pound shrimp and adjusted the amount of the other ingredients accordingly.

A little linguini, a little Parmesan cheese and BOOM, a quickie dinner is served! 

A very nice recipe for a quick weeknight dinner. There will be more dishes from Italian American Favorite Recipes: A Book of Favorite Recipes Compiled by the Friends & Members of the American Committee on Italian Migration (195o-ish???)

And now, a coda for 130. Hamburger Wheels…… Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, FAIL, Food, International Cuisine, Pasta, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes, Shrimp | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

130. Hamburger Wheels (1973)


Welcome to Dinner is Served 1973! Ready your self for 84 more dinners full of Jell-o, tarts, questionable foreign fare and canned tuna.

I made this inaugural dinner when I was home for the Christmas holiday. I had my parents pick what dinner they wanted. Out of selections like Cheese Nugget Spaghetti, Chicken a la King, Polynesian Tuna and Zippy Sirloin Strips, they picked 130. Hamburger Wheels.

When my mother was flipping through the cards she stopped and exclaimed, “Mystery Meat!”

My dad’s ears perked up. “Meat roll? I loved meat roll!”

Long story short, apparently the same company managed the cafeterias at both colleges my parents attended, so meat roll a.k.a. mystery meat was a staple when my parents were in school in the early 70s. My father was one of 2 people that my mum knew who liked mystery meat/beef roll.

Whatever you call it, Hamburger Wheels was their selection. Although my father was worried that there wasn’t a gravy.

There was. It was basically canned  cream of mushroom soup.

An FYI, Hamburger Wheels makes me think of Wagon Wheel Watusi. Hit it, Cher!

But I digress, let’s get to the matter at hand, shall we?

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Posted in 1970s, Food, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments