Happy Mid-Century Menu, everyone! Oh, wait. I guess I mean, happy Wednesday. Wednesday has pretty much become Mid-Century Menu day around our house.
And what is the Mid-Century Menu? Take one vintage cookbook, add one man who will eat anything and you have the recipe for some good fun. Every week, I pick an “interesting” recipe from a vintage cook book, put together a menu, prepare it, and serve it for dinner to my husband. Sometimes it is good, and sometimes things go horribly wrong.
This week I decided to delve back into a book that we have visited before, Jiffy Home Cooking by Better Homes and Gardens. This book was published in 1968, and the premise of this book is basically taking pre-packed and convienence foods and turning them into dinners that everyone can enjoy. Or, “everyone who loves salt more than anything in the whole world” can enjoy. But it still is good fun. In a weird, weird sort of way.
So, here is my choice for this week. Chevron Rice Bake:
Topnotch, huh? Ummmm…no. I don’t think so. And what is with the peaches studded with cloves? It reminds me a lot of Peachy-Spam dinner loaf, which I remember was really salty. The curry-rice mixture is going to add a crazy twist.
Wow. The base is cream of chicken soup? Really?!? Oh baby, I am excited to try this one!
A whole pile of ingredients for this meal. The unusually large amount of spices for this meal is actually deceptive. The recipe calls for 1 tsp of curry powder, which is made up of turmeric, corriander, cumin and sometimes onion. So, all of those spices are going to be mixed into 1 tsp. Because I refuse to buy curry powder when I have the ingredients to make it.
Now, this recipe calls for two WHOLE cans of Spam. That’s right, two….whole…cans. And that looks something like….
One Spam is cubed, and the other is sliced. And yes, they are different colors. One is low fat because I want Hubs to live to a nice old age. I want the Mid-Century meal to make him miserable, not kill him!
The “sauce” for the bake; cream of chicken soup, eggs, milk and spices.
The rice, Spam and peas, ready to be mixed.
Hmmm…doesn’t actually look too bad…
Onions and parsley….some of the last fresh parsley from our garden. Sniff.
Adding the “dash” of pepper the recipe just kind of threw in there. Good thing I was prepared and had pepper on hand, or it might have been a disaster.
Oh wait…I mean, a bigger disaster…
Carefully arranging Spam slices on the casserole. This is my favorite part about the Mid-Century Menu, I think. Arranging everything ridiculously so it looks “attractive”. I think this was my third favorite arrangement, after Spaghetti Timbales and Fish Sticks Polynesian.
Carefully adding canned peach halves and then….
adding cloves to peaches. What is with them and the cloves?
After 45 minutes in the oven. Mmmm, mmmm, smell that…curry?
Ok, so it did smell a little weird. But the smell was kind of overpowered by the smell from the spinach side dish, which REEKED like onion soup mix.
The cheerful little tablescape. Casserole, milk, and what some might consider a vegetable. Mid-Century cooking at its finest.
But Hubs didn’t want to take the first bite. Maybe it was because he had recently been sick, or maybe it was the smells of curry and onion soup mix mingling in the air.
“Come on, eat it! I have to take a picture!”
“I’m going. Don’t rush me!”
*laughing* “But you’ve always said you want me to make Indian food.”
“That is not funny.”
Well, after a bit he did get the first bite down. And so did I. It wasn’t great, but it was edible. The curry taste didn’t go to well with the cream of chicken soup, but I think I may have added too much turmeric, so that might be my fault. The real suprise was how good the reduced fat Spam was. I think I like it better than real Spam, and it blows generic Spam out of the water!
But I was still too scared to eat a clove-covered peach with it. Hubs gamely cut one up, and mixed it in with the casserole. His only remark about it was, “I can pick the cloves out, right?”
The Verdict: Edible
Chevron Rice Bake: Strange, but not the worse thing we have ever eaten. Be sure to go light on the curry powder. It would have tasted better without it, in my opinion.
Special Spinach: So very, very salty. Not good. The taste of onion soup mix was overwhelming, but just the spinach and cottage cheese might have been good by themselves.
Pots De Creme Chocolate: Tasted like chocolate chips melted in chocolate pudding, so really good. I haven’t made a “cook and serve” pudding since I lived with my parents, so it was a fun project. Especially because we got to buy dessert topping in a can.
Hooray for whip cream in a can! Yum!
You go girl – making your own curry!!! Gosh, everytime I look at the MCM recipes on Wednesdays I always think they sound pretty good. Maybe it was the curry??? It does not look that bad. They really did like Spam back then didn’t they! Too funny that Tom did not want to take the first bite. 🙂 I think I will have to make the Spaghetti Timbales for Mike sometime, as an MCM recipe. I will send you the pics if I do, I need to see what I missed out on. And your arrangement was fantastic! It looked just the the pic! Hooray Ruth!
LOL, that photo of Tom hesitating before the first bite is priceless!
Curry and Spam-there’s a new twist to serving Spam, LOL!
Yes, nice, nice presentation of the dish, Ruth!
Oh my goodness. I am so glad I haven’t had any breakfast yet … this recipe does absolutely nothing for me I’m afraid. You guys are so brave!
“pressurized dessert topping”, hmmm. Whipped Cream sounds a lot better!
Kudos for trying the Spam! This is the kind of thing we had for dinner when we were kids! Mom was really into trying new recipes for any kind of casserole.
Is that a Fiestaware cup I spy?
You know it, Alex! 🙂
wow your hubby is awful brave to try those vintage recipes but somehow the first one just looks a bit bleurgh
omg. A chevron made from Spam. Now I’ve seen everything!
No, wait–Spam Lite! Who knew? *Now* I’ve seen everything! I love that you determined it to be tastier than regular and generic Spam (oh wait, that’s a third thing I didn’t know until I read this post–there is generic Spam!?!). My mom actually used to make us Spam sandwiches that were pretty tasty. She’d slice it and put a mustard/brown sugar glaze on, and then would fry or roast them. It’s been awhile, but I remember it was pretty good! (Mom is a vegetarian now.)
Thank you for continuing to do your heroic mid century menu work!
I adore how you write about these culinary adventures, Ruth. I find myself wanting to quote you in the comments just to show how funny I think you are! Loved the articles you did in the paper too – I voted you up on the website!
Maybe I can try that spinach recipe (being vegetarian, Spam holds absolutely no appeal to me!). I thank you for test-running these recipes for us and giving us your suggestions. 🙂
I found the image of the dish when I googled “chevron” and I just had to know what exactly I was looking at. Wow I’m glad I did because I love this blog!! Great way of telling stories!
“Low fat” means more added sugar to improve the taste. You’re better off buying the regular or reduced salt Spam.