Styrofoam003Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu! For those of you who don’t know, this is my favorite feature on the blog, the one where I get to cook weird things out of vintage cookbooks and feed them to my husband for dinner.


In any case, this week’s recipe comes from Cookout USA, a cookbook published by Kikkoman, McCormick, The Squirt Company, Western Iceberg Lettuce, and many others. This book doesn’t have a publishing date in it, but by the pictures and the dates of the other cookbooks I found it with, I am guessing it is an early 1970’s cookbook.

As the name suggests, Cookout USA is pretty much about what you would think it was about. Grilling and grilling side dishes dominate this book, and most of them are made with Squirt, which I find to be pretty hilarious. 

They didn’t have any menus in this book, so I made up my own.  I mean, I bought a two liter bottle of Squirt, why shouldn’t I try to use as much of it as possible?

The Menu:

Squirt Chicken Barbecue

Cheese Puff

Polynesian Coleslaw

Squirt Floats

I decided that the Squirt Chicken BBQ would be the way to go for the Menu item this week, mostly because it sounds filthy, but is just soda-marinated chicken.


See?  Just chicken and soda. Nothing weird at all. Nope.  Get your minds outta the gutter!

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The ingredients, waiting to go together.  I couldn’t find any McCormick SeasonAll, so I had to make some of my own, which is in the little white bowl.

And I left an ingredient out this time, which is something I don’t normally do.  Can you guess which one?

*Ding Ding*  Right!  I left out the MSG. Gah. Even if I could find it in the store, I wouldn’t willingly add it to my food. No more migraines for me this month, thanks very much.

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I just had to take a picture of this because it felt so odd.  Here is a cup of soda in a plastic bag.  Pouring the soda in there was strange, I felt like I was breaking some cardinal cooking rule, and that the Food Police were going to jump out from behind the refrigerator and read me my “Julia Child” Rights. 

But crazier things have happened here at the Menu, so I kept on keeping on.

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The vinegar and Canola oil are added to the bag, making it look suspciously like tinkle.

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After I added the herbs and spices, I gave the bag a shake to get everything mixed together.  I was awarded with a ton of bubbles, reminding me that yes, I was about to put chicken in soda to marinate.

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And here it is!  The marinated chicken about three hours later and ready for the grill.

Oh, and I took another step after this that wasn’t in the directions.  I boiled the marinade before using it to baste the chicken on the grill. Safety first, people! Don’t forget it!

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The last piece of finished chicken, coming off the grill. We also threw on some fresh corn we had laying around because, hey, why waste grill heat, right?

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Tom taking the first bite of the night.  Notice the prominent placement of the Squirt bottle at his elbow.

Then came the inevitable question. “So, how is it?”

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“It is really good!” he said, cramming more chicken into his mouth.  “You can’t mess up BBQ chicken!”

He was right.  It was really good, and I was suprised how moist the chicken turned out.

Really surprised.

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The Verdict: Really Tasty

Squirt Chicken BBQ:  Surprisingly good.  It basically ended up tasting like a lemon and rosemary chicken, and it was moist which was really nice.  If I were to remake it, I would add more salt and use fresh herbs rather than dried.

Cheese Puffs:  This was basically a french gougeres or choux pastry, but then was crammed into a cake pan rather than being piped out onto a baking sheet. It didn’t reall work, but the edges were great, the beer actually added a really interesting note to it. If you are going to make this recipe, just throw it into a plastic bag, cut the end of and pipe some little blobs for the oven. 

Polynesian Coleslaw:  This was also good, if a little bland. It wasn’t too sweet, like I was afraid it would be. It would have been better with a little vinegar, since I expected coleslaw to have a little more tartness to it, but otherwise it was good.

Squirt Float:  What can I say?  It was good. You can’t go wrong with ice cream and soda.