Welcome, welcome to the new Mid-Century Menu site! This blog is all about mid-century cooking and recipes, and the testing of said recipes. And the sometimes hilarious and horrible results.
This week we chose a recipe from Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Casseroles, which was published in 1965. This cookbook cost me 10 cents at a used bookstore on Valentine’s weekend (romantic, huh?), but I think I got a pretty good deal. This cookbook is actually still in print, and is available right now on Amazon in a reissue. They even gave it a cute retro cover with a young girl who looks like she is trying to read a book in an incomprehensible language rather than just a casserole cookbook.
Oh, those young housewives! Sometimes I wonder if they learned anything in school. Huh? Huh? Do you get the joke? See because she is a girl and…ahhh…forget it.
Anyway, this apparently beloved cookbook holds between it’s spiral bound covers literally thousands of recipes. But not just any recipes. Favorite recipes from home economics teachers around the country. Tried and tested recipes, recipes that have stood the test of time, been perfected and honed during hours of time in classroom kitchens, chopped and mixed and prepped to within and inch of their lives. And out of this flurry of activity has come the best, the most authentic, the most delicious, the most healthy recipes you will ever see.
Recipes that would never insult an ethnicity. They would never claim to be authentic if they weren’t. And they would never, ever contain something crazy like, oh, I don’t know, claiming that two whole cans of Vienna sausages topped with Parmesan cheese is Mexican food.
As an interesting side note, the book claims that if you have any problems with any recipe, that you shouldn’t write to the publisher. Instead, you should address your questions to the teacher who submitted the recipe.
Okay, then. I will.
Dear Ms. Adair;
While preparing the recipe “Hit The Spot” from the 1965 printing of Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Casseroles, I found myself confused by a few aspects of the recipe.
First, I was wondering why Vienna sausages were included in a recipe of Mexican ethnicity.
As most people are aware, the term Vienna sausage in America most often refers to a type of canned hot dog. Packed in it’s own jellies.
(Aside: I just had to take a picture of this, because the sausages were squwinched up so tight in the can that they didn’t even separate while I was cutting them. I think they are precious, like little daisies. I need to remember this so I can use them for some fiendish garnish, like on a Yule Log, for instance.
Vienna sausage flowers and pear “bells”. Glorious. )
Also, the recipe included elbow macaroni.
However, I was pleased that the recipe was easy to prepare.
And included a whole pile of hot dogs.
I was also pleased that it fit in so well in my new casserole dish.
(Aside: Parmesan cheese = not Mexican)
Thank you for all your hard work in creating this recipe. It is truly is casserole for the ages.
But if I may make one suggestion: I think a name change would be appropriate. Instead of “Hit The Spot”, can you please change the name to “Chili Dog Mac?”
And also, remove it from the ethnic foods section.
“This looks like chopped up chili dogs. With macaroni.”
But my husband liked it, which always makes me happy.
Thanks for the fun recipe,
The Verdict: It was okay. Definitely edible. It basically tasted like a chili dog with macaroni mixed in with it. It was less Mexican and more Cincinnati, which isn’t a terrible thing.
Oh, and if you have any issues with this, don’t write to us. Ms. Adair will answer all your questions, thanks very much.