Oh, 2016. How I have been waiting for you. As a blogger, I love wiping the slate clean every year and starting over completely fresh. I have lots of new ideas for the blog this year, involving gelatin, more vintage recipe books, scads of research and cake. Lots and lots of cake. And not all of it bad.

But before we get to the aforementioned slate-cleaning, I thought I would pull the ten most popular posts from 2015. I was going to do Best and Worst, like I usually do, but we were sadly lacking in the Best Department this past year. So here we go, in reverse order, of course.

Because if I started with #1 you would be so grossed out you wouldn’t be able to finish the article.

10. Canned Grapefruit – Canned Crabmeat Cocktail, 1959

IMG_1857

The foulness of the sauce on this one continues to be a mystery to me, especially because I normally mix ketchup and mayo together for fries.

IMG_1906

The Verdict: Horrible

From The Tasting Notes –

The sauce was awful. It smelled awful, it made the fridge smell awful, and the initial taste of the stuff was just the worst. The crab and grapefruit combo was actually not that bad together. The grapefruit helped to get rid of the “canned” taste of the crab meat. It was almost like using lemon juice. But then there was sauce. Horrible, mayo-ketchup sauce that didn’t match anything ever. This might actually be good if you ditch the stupid sauce and did a light dressing, like a vinaigrette. Double points if you use fresh grapefruit.

9. Peanut Butter Gelatin Squares, 1950

IMG_3170_thumb

IMG_3149_thumb

The Verdict: Both Delicious And Disgusting

From The Tasting Notes –

The best way to describe this in terms of texture is a gooey Turkish Delight. Maybe the recipe didn’t set up properly, or maybe these would be better after a stay in the fridge. Either way, I thought it tasted like a peanut butter cookie in flavor, and Tom thought it was closer to peanut butter fudge. It was sweet, thick, had a really good peanut butter flavor and was ridiculously sticky. Though the flavor was delicious, the texture was so gooey and off-putting that I can’t think of a single reason why this would be a better choice than either cookies or fudge. These candies took longer to make than cookies and longer to set up than fudge. And you really have to eat these right away after you sugar them, or they go all melty. If you really love peanut butter everything and want to try them for fun, go for it. Otherwise, I would just suggest making cookies.

8. Savory Sandwich, 1931

IMG_3079_thumb

IMG_3101

The Verdict: Unexplained Pizza

From The Tasting Notes –

This was not great, and not just because Tom hates American cheese. It was salty and it had a strange aftertaste of metal mixed with pizza. But it wasn’t horrible, and I bet it would taste way better toasted and melty. Or you could go all the way pizza, and use mozzarella, pizza sauce and pepperoni. Now that would be a savory sandwich.

7. Deviled Onions, 1956

IMG_1643_thumb

IMG_1670_thumb

The Verdict: Fine

From The Tasting Notes –

Not exactly the dish of the year, but this actually turned out just fine. For some reason I was expecting this to be gross, but it was just onions and ketchup, so how bad can it be? Totally bland, so if you are looking for anything “deviled”, you had better look elsewhere. Or maybe the deviled term was just referring to the color? Anyway, this basically tasted like a cooked onion with hot ketchup on it. Would be good as a side dish for meatloaf.

6. Cheese Pie, 1930 – Second Annual Pieathalon Challenge!

IMG_2258_thumb

The Second Annual Pieathalon was a blast this year. If you haven’t already, head over to the Cheese Pie post and check out all the other bloggers who were brave enough to make an unknown pie sent to them by someone who might not have their best interests at heart.

As I side note, I used a mild cheddar for this pie, but Hoop Cheese was suggested as an alternative in the comments. I actually found some Hoop Cheese at a local specialty market recently. It was nutty, mild and a little sweet, and probably would have made a slightly better pie.

IMG_2276_thumb

The Verdict: Not Awful

From The Tasting Notes –

Thankfully, this did NOT taste like cheddar cheese. It tasted…strange and sweet and a lot like fig newtons in pie form. It wasn’t bad at all, but wasn’t something I would consider delicious. It actually resembled a quiche in texture, but sweet. The crust ended up being just fine, for something I made up.

5. Crab Puffs – Vincent Price Treasury Cookalong

IMG_3298

If you didn’t know already, 2015 was the 50th Anniversary of one of the best vintage cookbooks of all time, The Treasury of Great Recipes by Vincent & Mary Price. I participated in the Vincent Price Cookalong that was put on by Jenny from Silver Screen Suppers and made some lovely Crab Puffs. Check out the post if you would like to see the other entries!

IMG_3275_thumb

The Verdict: Simple but Delicious

From The Tasting Notes –

These were very good. I thought I would miss all of my extras and spices, but since the thing I like most about these sort of appetizers is the crab, it ended up being a good thing. So if you like the taste of crab, then these are for you. That being said, if I were going to make these again, I don’t think I would use canned crab meat. In the 50 years since this book has been published, the average grocery store has improved their offerings of fresh fish and seafood, so next time I think I am going to splurge and buy the best crab meat I can. Also, these were not very sweet, so if you are looking for that sweet restaurant taste, these are not for you. These would be good paired with a curry or cilantro-type dipping sauce (I think crab and cilantro are a great combo!).

4. Frankfurter Macaroni Salad Loaf, 1955

IMG_0412

The insidious trick to this one is that it is served cold.

IMG_0434_thumb

The Verdict: Horribly Creamy

From The Tasting Notes –

It’s really hard to come up with words to describe how wrong this was. Because you look at the ingredients and think, “This should be okay at least. I mean, there’s no onion in it. And the gelatin is unflavored. It should just taste like cold macaroni and cheese.” But no. It’s bad. Really, really, really bad. The aftertaste of mayo is intense. It actually brings tears to your eyes.When I took a bite and chewed it, I actually twitched when the mayo flavor hit me. Imagine that you have an eject button in your mouth, and the flavor of mayo just saunters right up to that button and kicks it. Really hard.  It was an effort not spit my bite across the room, and swallowing it was an even bigger struggle. The creaminess and tang that most people love in mayo is actually the worst possible taste and texture for this dish, and it comes at the worst possible time in the tasting.

Vile, vile stuff.

3. Peanut Fritos, 1947

IMG_1340_thumb

Yes, that is peanut butter white sauce. Funny you should ask.

IMG_1364_thumb

The Verdict: Mixed

From The Tasting Notes –

This was mostly just bland. It wasn’t that bad if you got a bite of Fritos, peanut butter and bacon in one bite. It tasted like corn, salt, peanut butter and milk. But it was unanimously agreed that this was not everyone’s favorite way to eat Fritos. It would have been MUCH better if the peanut butter sauce could be switched out for chili. Or cheese sauce.

2. Behind The Scenes of “The Astronaut Wives Club” with Food Stylist Emily Marshall!

pink-and-green-food_thumb

I have to admit, this series of posts was probably the most fun I had in 2015! If you have no idea what I am talking about, Emily Marshall, who did the vintage food styling for the TV series Astronaut Wives Club, was generous enough to share a whole slew of behind the scenes pictures with me so I could in turn share them with all of you. You can see all of the previous posts here, but the series is actually still ongoing. I have the last part of Episode 10 still to finish. There were a LOT of photos to talk about!

christmas-overview_thumb

1. California Prune Cream Salad, 1934

IMG_3202_thumb

Just in case you can’t get your mind around the horror, this “salad” contains:

Cottage Cheese.

Prunes.

Chili Sauce.

Gelatin.

Mayo.

Sweet Pickles.

Yeah. Yeah, it does.

IMG_3218_thumb

The Verdict: So Bad, It Makes Grown Men Cry

From The Tasting Notes –

This may quite possibly take the #1 spot as the worst thing we’ve ever made here on MCM. This was bad. And not, “Ha ha…this is so funky” bad, this was legitimately horrible. Absolutely horrible. The smell alone was enough to peel paint, and the salad itself was horrific.  It never really set up in any way into something that you could slice. The best way to describe the texture would be “glorpy”. It was a gooey, sticky mess. The only texture change in the whole thing was the sweet pickles.  And they weren’t a good addition. The flavor had absolutely nothing redeeming in it. There was no “Well, maybe if we left out this or that.” No. This was all around bad. The sweet pickles were overpowering, and mixed horribly with the prunes and gave off a flavor that can only be described as bile. The mayo, cottage cheese and chili sauce didn’t do much but gum everything up, so much so that when you took a bite you weren’t really tasting them so much as trying to figure out how a bite of silly putty got in your mouth. Horrible. Absolutely, totally horrible.

Whew. Okay. Anyone still with me?

If you are, thank you so much for all the comments and views and Facebook shares and Twitter mentions and all of the other lovely things that keep making this blog strangely popular. Tom and I love doing it, and we are very thankful that you all enjoy reading it!

Stay tuned for more fun, crazy and (sometimes) delicious vintage recipes in 2016. We hope you have a great year!