American Lasagne

Posted on Mar 23 2011 - 6:03am by RetroRuth

Food From Famous Kitchens001

Hello, All!!! We have a fun recipe to try out today. This week we are cooking from Food From Famous Kitchens: The Brand Names Cook Book, which was published in 1961. Everyone who collects vintage cookbooks or has ever seen any vintage cookbooks in their life knows that the cookbooks that are the most fun are the ones put out by food companies.  They have the most hilarious, most unbelievable, most reality-bending recipes in them. They also have their own language, and words like “good”, “tasty” and “timesaving” mean pretty much the opposite of what you expect they would. Sometimes reading them is almost like looking through a portal into an alternate universe.

This particular recipe for this week is even more fun because THIS recipe comes from The Dow Chemical Company. For those of you that know nothing about chemical companies or Michigan, Dow is pretty the company that keeps the this little town of Midland, MI from falling apart at the seams.

They also make NO food products. At all.

However, they DID make Saran Wrap until it was sold to another company, so their contributing ingredient to this cookbook is…plastic.


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Food From Famous Kitchens003

This is a doozy for us because Tom can’t STAND American cheese.  And no, that had no influence on me choosing this recipe.

Okay, maybe a little.


What lasagne would be complete without Worcestershire sauce?


There it is!  The whole 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil that’s supposed to be the flavoring in this WHOLE dish.


Oh, and the teaspoon of salt. Let’s not forget about that.


Oh man, it is always great when stuff looks like vomit. So appetizing!


Layer 1.


Layer 2. Yeah, that would be only American cheese. Yum.


Layer 3.


The finished mess, I mean lasagne. (Hold up your pinky when you say that, guys. We need to keep this fancy-pants!)


Cheese and bread-crumb crust, which is ridiculous and isn’t about to save this dish at all.



And even though there was not a single trace of meat in this lasagna, we still had some begging.







“No! Get down!”


But you can’t really blame her. It does look a lot like cat food.

Or cat vomit?

I can’t really tell.  And is there really a difference?

And now, Tom’s Tasting Flip Book! (Patent Pending)

Do you love the Mid-Century Menu? Do you wish you could eat with us every week?  Well, to feel like you were really THERE at the tasting, print out this page, cut out the pictures, stack them, staple and then flip to see the fun!*

*Or just be lazy and look at them here and pretend that it is flipping.







The highlight:


Was it really that bad???

Yeah, yeah it was.

The Verdict: Awful. Besides being extremely rich (it was pretty much just cheese and noodles) and salty (so salty!), the American cheese was gross and the onion was still raw and overpowering. Yuck, yuck, yucky, yuck, yuck-yuck! Tom ate his piece and then refused to eat any more, which was a miracle because he was pretty hungry.  I ate about half of my portion and then scraped the rest into the garbage. Ack.

UPDATE: Okay, I can now see why this was from Saran Wrap.  This tasted significantly better the second day. Not good, but way, way better that the day before. So, storage was this thing’s best friend.  We also poured on some tomato sauce that had been left over, and that helped a ton as well. So, if you are foolish enough to make this, make SURE you let it rest for at least 12 hours before baking and keep some tomato sauce back for serving.




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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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12 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sara In AZ March 23, 2011 at 11:43 am - Reply

    I have to say, there is nothing better than some good plastic! 😉

    Hee – Hi Midnight! Love that shot!!!

    Wait, are you saying that VERY generous 1/2 tsp. of basil did not save the dish? 🙂 Glad it at least tasted better the 2nd day, see like I told you there is nothing better than some good ol’ plastic to save the day!

  2. Lorie B. March 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    You mean you actually braved it a SECOND time!?!?!?!?

    It would have gone straight into the garbage for me after the first horrific taste (starving thrid world countries, notwithstanding).

    Your cats are so cute. Thanks again for sharing….

  3. Barbara March 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    I was going to send you two recipes, but they are really similar to this one… One was for “spicy tomato sauce” for your spaghetti – no spices except one HALF teaspoon of oregano. So much for “spicy”.

    The other is lasagna made with hot dogs rolled up in the noodles and topped with Chef Boyardee spaghetti sauce.

    At least they didn’t have American cheese in them!

  4. Andrea March 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    I love Tom’s ever increasing looks of disgust as he tried the “lasagne”. I am also amazed that you tried it again! I would have been tempted to just let the cat have some to see if anyone finds it edible, heh.

  5. Charm and Poise March 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Although I’m not above eating a slice of American cheese straight out of the plastic wrapping (don’t judge!!), I admit that I was taken aback by it’s stauch presence in the lasagne. I also admit to also being a bit surprised by the presence of vomit sauce. But, then again, I’m no gourmet …

  6. magnarama March 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Under the circumstances, it seems like Midnight should have been given all he wanted of it.

    It might have cured him of begging.

  7. Eartha Kitsch March 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    It completely looks like hurl. And I’m with Midnight – and that’s a lot coming from a vegetarian like myself.

  8. Amy March 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    oh wow it looks vomitrocious – your hubby is a good sport for trying that one :0)

  9. Miss RM March 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    I really didn’t know lasagna could look so brown!

  10. Jenny (VintageSugarcube) March 31, 2011 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    I think that would be the PERRRRRFECT hangover helper. Your hubby is a trouper. LOVE your site. Sooo funny and cute and fabulous!! XO

    • RetroRuth April 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Jenny!!!

  11. Nick May 24, 2012 at 8:55 am - Reply

    I love old recipes, but when I try them out, I often modify them to eliminate the processed/gross elements. Would cheddar cheese (medium or mild, and shredded?) have improved this recipe? Low sodium tomato sauce maybe? Hard to say.

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