Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Worst Recipes

I have some left-over crab meat and I was looking for a souffle recipe. It's Christmas morning after all.

From the book, "Fashionable Food" by Sylvia Lovegran, comes this horrible recipe from the fifties, in my opinion,  prelude to the foulest darkest decade in recent culinary history, the sixties. People were so engrossed in the sexual revolution that food was barely on the radar screen.

Lobster Thermidor, can-opener gourmet-style. 

1 (15-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 soup can water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
3 cups frozen cooked lobster meat, thawed and cut into chunks.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Mix the soup, water, lemon juice, half of the cheese and the mustard in the top of a double boiler. Add the lobster chunks and heat (do not boil) over simmering water. Pour into a buttered shallow baking dish or into lobster shells. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Place in oven until the cheese is browned, about 15 minutes. 

In those days, dubbed the "Casserole Decade" by food historians, "can opener" mixed with "gourmet-style" was perfectly acceptable. Canned soups and TV dinners were newish on the grocery shelves. The Campbell's Home Economists were quickly developing soup-as-glue recipes that were roaring successes, still haunting our kitchens decades later. Who doesn't look forward to the classic green bean/mushroom soup/onion ring dish (three cans!!!!) for Thanksgiving dinner?

A frozen TV dinner sold for $1.00 in the fifties. Today at Albertson's you can purchase Michelina's Gourmet entrees for the same price - a buck each.

Other fifties greats include classics like the gag inspiring, Fruit cocktail-Spam Buffet Party loaf which incorporates such snazzy ingredients as Miracle Whip, gelatin and canned fruit cocktail. How about the Velveeta crab and cheese souffle? or the fat-on-fat Barbecued Bologna for men a la Crisco from the Crisco cookbook, "Praise for the Cook". No kidding, that's the name and here's the recipe:

Barbecued Bologna for men - a la Crisco

3/4 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet
3 - 2 pounds whole bologna sausage

Mix the Crisco and Kitchen Bouquet together. Spread over the sausage. Grill the bologna over hot coals or spit roast the bologna until it is browned and hot through. Cut into thick slices and serve on rye bread or toasted hamburger buns.

I've lost my appetite. 


  1. Speaking of yum, I enjoyed your reviews of our local Mexican joints and admire your intestinal fortitude. I've been to some of them, but not all and haven't tried many of the dishes you critiqued. Now I have a "Robert Recommends..." list to work from.

  2. I saved the worst for last...Will keep you posted.