Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I know I talk a lot about the book Manly Meals and Mom's Home Cooking but the thing is that this book really got me to look afresh at domestic actions I had taken for granted. Now I'm not a complete fool, I've always understood that a recipe on the back of say a can of Campbell's cream of chicken soup was only there to get me hooked on cream of chicken soup. In fact, I used to eschew any recipe that called for specific brand at all. Manly Meals discusses this idea of brand name sponsored recipes quite a bit. But somehow, instead of making those sorts of recipes even less appealing, I've found myself gravitating toward this sort of recipe. It makes me feel part of something larger. As if many homemakers before me have opened a cookbooklet from, let's say, Worcestershire Sauce and made one of the dishes.

Lately as part of my resolve to put off buying a car for another year or two, I've started having my groceries delivered by Peapod. It seemed really exspensive at first, but I've been keeping track. It actually costs me less. I think this is because I order every two weeks on the nose. I make a menu plan for that two weeks and I never impulse buy. It's working, at least for now.

A while back with one of my orders, they delivered a little brochure of recipes featuring Peapod's store brand, Our Family. I made a commitment to try at least one of them. This tuna dish has become a staple for lunches. I don't make it with avocado--mostly because I don't usually have any on hand, but also because this dish is comprised mostly of canned ingredients and that seems a waste of good avocado. It's an excellent pantry meal if you omit the fresh basil. You can make this the night before and chill it up. I add a little extra vinegar and package the tuna in a leak proof container and the salad in separate containers. That way I can just dump the tuna salad on the greens and it makes a lovely lunch that feels fresher than it is.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pop Tarts + Ice Cream = Fun!

The end of the semester signals library research day for all of my classes. I stay in a glowing fixed spot and they orbit around the many floors of the library diligently researching their topics. Or maybe they're at the Starbucks next door or perhaps smoking out front of the building. Who knows? But anyway, I'm there for three hours for each of my three classes. At some point there is always down time. This semester I turned my attention to the magazine American Home. Columbia College has only about ten years of them. I went through that ten years with a fine tooth comb. Later, when I went to look it up on the interwebs, I found that I'd done this research before. The confusion came because I'd been reading the old issues from the '20s. Columbia has only '65 to when they went under in '77, give or take.

Wow, that was a lot of back story. Anyway, there's no big scanner at the library so I just took a picture with my phone for my friend Andrew. I thought it was CRAZY to sandwich ice cream between Pop Tarts. In fact, I laughed out loud at this ad and thought Andrew and I would have a good chuckle together. Well guess what? I was watching Hulu and saw a Pop Tart ad that totally resurrects this idea. Can you believe that Pop Tarts is still selling this idea? It seems painfully old fashioned. But then again, who am I to say? I wouldn't eat a Pop Tart even without ice cream.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good Housekeeping's Appetizer Book

My old friend Krista was in town last week for a conference. It'd probably been fifteen years since we'd seen each other. I know her from Seattle, back in the day. We saw the Dead Kennedys together. She was with me when I broke my foot at a TSOL, Fartz, and Fastback show. We saw Iggy Pop for our 15th birthdays. Lock down. Cops came. Mom saw me on the news. It was all very punk rock. Anyway, she sent me a couple of cookbooklets she had kicking around. We are both strikingly less punk rock now.

Good Housekeeping's Appetizer Book is the non-Culinary Arts Institute cookbooklet she sent along. First off, the cover is great. I have never considered using a pillar candle as a holder for kabobs. Genius! Sadly, some of the recipes are pretty gross. Lots of bologna. Katsup and peanut butter. But there are also some smart suggestions for relish trays. When I started this project I thought relish trays were stupid, but I've come around. Still, there is a limit to how much time a modern gal can spend transforming vegetables into other objects.

It has become obvious that I don't post during the semester, only on school break. I'll work on that. But for now I'm off for the summer and have a backlog of awesome recipes and cookbooklets. It'll take me three months even to catch up.

(p.s. The recipe on the right refers to "French Dressing." It took me forever to figure out that at one time French Dressing meant vinegrette. I have no idea how the corn syrup and katsup mess that is now called French Dressing came to that moniker, especially since no French person would ever eat such slop. Just think vinegrette when you read that term.)