Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu! This week Tom and I picked a great recipe out of Favorite Recipes of Michigan Meats, although I am not sure if any meats, especially Michigan meats, actually do have favorite recipes or not. Hey, I don’t make them up here, I just cook ’em and write about ’em.
Anyway, this book was published in 1965 by the Favorite Recipe Press, which collected recipes from Michigan Women’s Clubs all over the state and put them together in this cute little book. It appears the books were then sold for fundraising purposes. This one is particular was sold by the Saginaw Jr. Women’s Club to a nice lady named Lucille who had amazingly neat handwriting. I am always fascinated and envious of good handwriting, probably because mine is so crappy.
But I digress.
One of the interesting things about this book is that there doesn’t look like there was any recipe testing or editing really involved in this book. It is basically just a jumped-up version of a church cookbook, with up to 10 versions of the same dish all squeezed together with no illustrations. The good news is that it’s typewritten. The bad news is that now you can actually read all of the ingredients.
There are a TON of recipes to choose from in this book, and there was a point going through them where each one we read was more horrible than the last. Finally, this is the recipe we chose.
Ha ha! No, I am kidding. Just kidding. But man, if you could have seen the look on your face…
Here is what we really chose.
That’s a little better, huh? No baking soda soak for a boiled ham. Yeesh.
The strange thing about this recipe is how formless everything is. Except for the pineapple, and even that is rubbery from being canned. This is almost like sculpting. But with food. So odd.
First, the hamette portion of the dinner. I forgot to take a picture of this after it was mixed together, but it pretty much looked exactly the same. Trust me.
Laying down the foundation of pineapple rings to help with stability. But I have to admit, it looks pretty cute.
The little ham patties look strangely like chewed bubblegum, don’t they? How odd.
Mashing the sweet potatoes. I tried to melt the butter, since the potatoes were cold, but it didn’t quite take. It cooled off very quickly and made little butter lumps in the potatoes.
See? Lumps of butter.
Here are the potatoes, all piled on. With the bubblegum ham patties covered up, it is beginning to look cute again. And very, very mid-century. What was their deal with stacking food?
And here is another mid-century must-have ingredient. Cloves. Ground cloves sprinkled on the potatoes. I admit that it is a classic spice to use with ham, but couldn’t I have at least stirred it in?
The finished hamettes, straight from the oven. I must admit they look pretty fetching with their browned marshmellow caps.
The first bite….and…
Not much of a reaction. He didn’t say anything for a long time.
“What do you think?” I asked as he chewed. “Good?”
“My mouth can’t decided what it’s eating. There is way too much stuff going on here.”
I took a bite. He was right, it was crazy. Even though you think all this stuff should go together, it just didn’t taste good all in the same bite. And the ham patties had way too much pepper in them. I have to remember that fresh and pre-ground pepper are not the same thing.
“Ugh! What is this on here? Ground cloves?”
I nodded my head, too preoccupied tasting my bite.
“What is it with them and their cloves? Is it because they taste like cigarrettes and everyone smoked?” He stirred his food around on the plate. “They couldn’t get enough smoking, so they ate things that reminded them of smoking.”
I burst out laughing.
The Verdict: Not the greatest together, but the mashed sweet potatoes and ham pattie with pineapple were good if you ate them seperately. Definitely a disappointment.