In Which I Try to Become Part of the Community
And Propose the REGRETTABLE FOOD Project
And Propose the REGRETTABLE FOOD Project
As you have probably realized by now, I am new at this (by "this." I mean blogging, not whining). Although I long to become part of your group, to share in your folkways and mating rituals, I am like that guy fromThe Time Machine who tries to accustom himself to life in the distant future, but doesn't realize that when the siren goes off, it means to report to the Morlocks to get eaten (um, not that I'm accusing anybody of anything, you understand).
Anyway, I just wanted to say I'm happy to be here, and to thank the very fine (and cleverly named) A blog doesn't need a clever name for the friendly welcome and the mention. I'd also like to thank War Liberal for including a link and a clip in his very intelligent and informative blog.
And since I am new and looking for visibility, I did a little research on Blog Popularity and learned that web logs dealing with cooking seem to be in favor. The very nice The Julie/Julia Project, in which one woman cooks her way through Julia Child, is one of Salon's biggest hits--and per the NY Times story, Julie received over $600 in contributions from appreciative readers. But the Project will be ending in a few days and Julie's fans will have to find some other way to get their foodie kicks.
So, to fill that niche (and collect some donations), I propose The Gallery of Regrettable Food Project. Let me explain.
James Lilikes' The Gallery of Regrettable Food is one of the funniest books I've ever read. It combines photos and illustrations of really awful looking-food from the past (mostly the "Fixated on Franks" '50s, but also the "Sophisticated Jello-O Mold" '60s, the "Toast is the Height of Elegance '30s, and more) with hilarious commentary. If you don't own a copy, your life is essentially meaningless and I foresee nothing in the future for you but despair and decay.
And, strange as it may seem (very strange when you see how really horrid the food in these photos look), I own many of the pamphlets and cookbooks featured in Regrettable Food.
Yes, I own The Big Boy Barbeque Book, which shares a vision in which "Husbands become the experts and do the barbequing. Wives take it easy. All they have to do is make the salad and the dessert." And buy the meat. And do the dishes. And tell hubby 100 times how much they appreciate his efforts at taking a turn at cooking once ever year or so. In any case, with this book you can "Be the Barbeque Leader in your neighborhood." That is, I can, since I own the book and you presumably don't.
I also own Good Housekeeping's Casserole Book, which features "Beet Pie Casserole," the dish which Lilek's describes so memorably as "A scene from The Andromeda Strain." (The glop is actually "Beef Pie Alamode," but there was a typo in the caption for the photo.) And I have the recipe and can make this dish! (This is not a threat, mind you--but put the money in the bag and nobody gets hurt).
In my library you will not only find "Volume 10, Hot-Lan" of the Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking (from which Lileks took "Wieners in Bondage" and "Bonsai Fondue"), but also volumes 1-16. You can only imagine the dining possibilities.
I also possess the Regrettable 500 Tasty Snacks, and 250 Ways to Prepare Poultry-- plus others from the series, such as 300 Ways to Serve Eggs (cooked, raw, etc.), 250 Ways of Serving Potatoes (in the nude, wearing a cheerleader outfit, etc.) and 152 Fabulous Recipes for the Gourmet (Custard Cubes, Meat Balls, Raw Eggs Served While Wearing a Cheerleader Outfit, etc.)
And I own the fabled advertising cookbook classic, Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes, which star kindly old hayseed Aunt Jenny, who, in her humble, homespun way, converts everyone she meets to the gospel of Spry Shortening. But she has a dark secret, as Lileks reveals: when she gets sick of making pies men like, Aunt Jenny poisons her husband Calvin and poses him like Norman Bates' mother.
Plus, on my cookbook shelf you will find others in the Aunt Jenny series, such as Enjoy Good Eating Every Day the Easy Spry Way (Deep fry everything! Make shortening sandwiches for the kids! Eat it straight from the can!). And 12 Pies Husband's Like Best, in which Aunt Jenny gets a makeover and goes to the big-city to troll for a new husband for her collection in the basement.
And I posses books that Lileks didn't have the space (or stomach) to review, such as Dishes Men Like ("If you have a husband who likes to cook, pamper him! Encourage him! You are lucky indeed, even though you find yourself only a fetch-and-carry handmaiden while his genius glows. But men are wise; not one in a thousand really wants to take over the job." So, get even with him for his making you a kitchen slave by preparing these dishes, each of which contain a cup or so of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. That should send him to an early grave!
My collection also contains such gems as Romance in Recipes, which sounds like it might recount how Emeril rendezvoused with Julia Childs in the cookbook aisle and BAMed her, but instead contains recipes from the "Executive Committee of the 7th World's Poultry Congress and Exposition."
And then there's Cookin' With Dr. Pepper. And 340 Recipes For the New Warning Blender (containing my favorite children's treat of all time, "Liver Milk Shakes"-- I'm not going to reveal any trade secrets here, but I can tell you in contains 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1 tablespoon chocolate malted milk, and 1/8 cup sliced raw liver).
And of course, there's Serving Food Attractively, from which the above photo of "Crown Roast of Lamb Topped with Sauerkraut and Honey; Devil's Tower of Brussels Sprouts Inside of Piped Yams; and Weird, UFO Dessert With Landing Lights" is taken.
And many, many more! And my proposal is simple: I will ACTUALLY PREPARE THE FOOD FEATURED IN THE GALLERY OF REGRETTABLE FOOD! And even some dishes that were too graphic for Lileks to show in a book accessible to minors.
Yes, it's a daring (some may say foolhardy) idea, but I do have the means (the books, a stove, and an ample supply of Jell-O and Brussels sprouts), and the will (I'll do anything for $600). However, I don't propose cooking one of these monstrosities a day (I may be foolhardy, but I'm not suicidal). I'll do, say, one a week. And report on the results, like Julie did.
I'll know if you, the blog-reading public, have taken me up on my offer when I start getting some hits on the blog. Or when you start sending me money--whichever comes first.
Think it over and get back to me. I don't want to pressure you into anything. Because while it might seem fun --at FIRST-- to watch me make Green Bean and Corn Pizza, your amusement could turn to horror when you actually have to eat the stuff.