Welcome to the first Mid-Century Menu of the year! I know you all have eagerly awaiting this moment, as Tom and I both have, to see if this will be a good meal or a bad one.  See, I kinda figure this is like Groundhog’s Day for the Menu, if this Menu sees its shadow, it means that….well…this analogy sounded a lot better in my head than it does written down.  Let’s just put it this way;  if this first meal sucks, it doesn’t bode well for this year.

And in that vein, I give you Carnation’s Family Favorites, published in 1956. It is a short and really cute cookbook.  The illustrations really put it over the top and make it super adorable, probably to  distract you from the fact that all the recipes in this book may not be on the up and up.  Not that I have anything against Carnation, they have cranked out some great recipes over the years (pumpkin pie? No Fail Fudge? Total winners.), but some of the recipes in this book were a little…scary.

Take, for example, the one we chose for the Menu this week.

See what I mean about the illustrations?  It’s diabolical!  That adorable pig does nothing to make me think, “Hey, maybe this recipe doesn’t contain the proper nutrition for my family” or  “Hey, does anyone else think combining cheese corn and breakfast sausage is INSANE?” Nope.  I look at that little pig who’s super excited to be eaten, and I think, “Yeah.  This is the recipe for me. Just look at that pig!”

And so it begins.

I felt bad for Tom, because he hates processed cheese, so I tried to pick the highest quailty processed cheese I could find.  I don’t think there is such a thing, so I just went with something that looked like real cheese. Mostly.

The drained canned corn, crackers and grated onions in the casserole.  So far, I am feeling pretty good about this. 

All mixed up.  Like the pink spoon?  I found a bunch at a garage sale this summer for 50 cents. Score.

The evaporated milk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, salt cooking on low heat, trying valiantly not to boil.

Wow.  Look at all the sausages.  This can’t be good for Tom’s heart.

The cheese sauce, complete with all cheese melted.  It was pretty runny at this point, and I cooked it longer than the recipe recommended trying to get it to thicken.  It never really did.

Pouring the sauce over the casserole. I love action shots, thanks Tom!

All mixed up.  At this point it looked like…cheesy corn soup.  I hoped it would thicken in the oven.

The sausages, drowning in the cheese sauce.  Swim, guys! Swim!

The finished casserole.  It looked slightly thicker, so I crossed my fingers.

The first bite.  Tom didn’t even take his jacket off after his run, and it reflected the flash.  I tried to retake the picture, but you can’t retake a first bite!!!

He chewed for awhile. 


“I don’t know what to say.”

I took a bite.  I didn’t know what to say, either. The sauce was still runny, and tasted like canned corn and something chaulky.  I am not sure if that was the fault of the processed cheese or the evaporated milk.  The sausages DID NOT go with the sauce taste-wise or texture wise. 

Tom kept looking around the table.  Finally I said, “What are you looking for?”

“Isn’t there anything else with this?”

“Nope, this is it.”

“There should be something else, like rice or potatoes or something.  This is like gravy.”

I made some broccoli and cauliflower to go with it, so that was a little better with the sauce.  But I still think Tom wasn’t satisfied.

Luckily, I had also make a pineapple upside-down cake from the cookbook for dessert.  In the tradition of good Carnation recipes, it was excellent.  They know their desserts. 

The Verdict:

Corn and Sausage Casserole: Edible, but not good.  In no way is this a complete meal.  If you changed the cheese to cheddar and added three eggs you would have a reasonable brunch item, but this did not play well for dinner.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake:  Really Good. Will make again!