Welcome back to another week of food from behind the scenes of Astronauts Wives Club!!! Episode 9 is crazy with vintage food. So much food, in fact, that I have to split Episode 9 into two parts so it all fits! So, enjoy a meatloaf moon and a rocket ship cake, and come back soon to check out the rest of Episode 9!
I am happy to bring you some close-ups of this food courtesy of food stylist Emily Marshall, who worked like crazy to make sure that the food from Astronauts Wives Club was the most mid-century it could be!
Schirra Launch Party
So, the time period of the show is moving ahead rapidly, and Emily said they are getting closer and closer to the moon launch. She said this Schirra party is the first launch party in a few years and she wanted the patriotism and moon fever to show on the table.
This extra shot is just because I LOVE the sets in this show!
A mid-century buffet staple! I posted a recipe for these in the post for Episode 2, and you can see that here.
Emily was highly influenced in this episode by the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library, which was published in 1971, but really does a good job of capturing the spirit of late 60’s and early 70’s food, like this Fonduloha. Emily says she added marshmallows to the plate “because they belonged there”. I would have to agree!
Don’t be alarmed, this fried chicken is NOT homemade, but is takeout from a New Orleans restaurant called
McHardys Chicken and Fixin’s. Emily says it is the very best fried chicken, in her opinion, and she wanted to serve something very “American” feeling for the launch party. In her mind, that only meant fried chicken!
This recipe for fried chicken comes from Good Housekeeping’s Poultry & Game Book from 1958.
These classic parfaits are layered in red, white and blue. Emily says she knew that blue gelatin was not available, but decided to go for it anyway. I imagine that a 60’s housewife would have no problem adding some blue food coloring or other blue drink or alcohol to plain gelatin to achieve this. This recipe for Parfaits comes from the Joys of Jell-O.
Another fun creation of Emily’s that was a play off of the mashed potato-covered meatloaf igloos popular at the time. But while she was shaping this loaf into an igloo, she thought of how interesting it would be to shape it to look like the moon. It didn’t seem to be that big of a jump to make it moon-shaped. After all, isn’t mid-century food known for its cleverly-shaped entrees? So she tinted some potatoes blue and went for it.
The meatloaf igloo, from a Dairy Association Ad from 1967.
Frosted Meat Loaf from Campbells.
Polka Dot Mac & Cheese
Here is another recipe from the Betty Crocker Library. Emily went the extra mile and trimmed the edges of the “polka dots” so they matched the casserole dish!
I don’t have the back of this card for some reason, but it is just a basic baked mac and cheese with a hot dog on top!
This is based off of “Round Steak ‘n’ Ravioli” from the Betty Crocker Library, but Emily omitted the round steak.
Strawberry Gelatin Cake
Another Emily creation! She took the recipe for the glaze from classic strawberry pie (made with cornstarch) and mixed it with strawberry Jell-O, except she poured it over a white cake instead of putting it in pie shell. Yum!
These are just canned veggies that Emily arranged prettily!
Another from the Betty Crocker Library!
Ants on a Log
During a scene where the wives are chatting in Betty’s kitchen, the script called for her to be making a snack. Emily decided that the classic Ants on a Log was a good choice!
There is also a classic, store-bought pound cake with whipped cream and strawberries.
The “Hippie” Dinner
This meal was not particularly retro, but it was a favorite meal of Emily’s. She wanted the dinner to look really rustic – like it was made by people who were novices at cooking in a vegetarian and healthy way. So she thought the food should look really rough. According to Emily, this food didn’t look the best, but it still turned out delicious. She just stewed whole onions, 3 bean mix with vegetable broth, carrots and potatoes cooked whole, and mountains of brown rice and lots of green salad and bread. Emily says it served as a nice counterpoint to what all the wives were making.
Emily wanted this cake to look homemade. She didn’t get this recipe directly from any book, but she was inspired by the pieced together and shaped cakes of the time. So she just made a sheet cake and cut it out and poked it together with toothpicks. The challenge here was to make it look rocket like – as opposed to the capsules shot up by the rockets, but also to fit on a plate. The crew all agreed a cartoon rocket shape was the only thing that would work.
Whew! So that is the first part of Episode 9. Second part is coming soon!
A big thanks to Emily Marshall, who was so generous in sharing all her awesomely styled food pictures! And if you like this and want to see more, make sure to tune in Thursdays at 8 pm on ABC to watch more of Emily’s food in Astronaut Wives Club!
Oooooo Huston we may have a problem. I don’t think blue jello came out until the 80’s.
Sorry wrote before I read. please ignore or delete. As a costume person I reacted quickly because I have been yelled at a few times by audience members about when things came out. Maybe I thought I could save her even though the show aired already. lol
Oh my gosh….Lunar Loaf…..BRILLIANT!!!!!! And I am in love with that rocket cake!!!! EeeeEEeeEEeeEEeeeee!!!
I have that Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library. It was a wedding gift in 1978. And the set with the flowered chairs and grasscloth wallpaper? That was my aunt’s living room. I LOVED that blue and green flowered upholstery.
That was an amazing meal! So well thought out and put together. The Lunar Loaf really takes the prize though, with a close second of the Mac n cheese!
have the Betty Crocker cards somewhere, lol…..
Oh, and the store bought pound cake, my Grandmother always did that….or, we’d have those delicious and sorely missed Sara Lee pastel covered cupcakes!
Great site, just found today, I can tell I will be spending loads of time this weekend devouring it! Thanks!
Love the Lunar Loaf. So fun!
Thanks so much for posting these. You do an awesome job on this site!
My husband’s mother still has a chair with that blue print fabric on it. It’s the only thing the woman has that I would like my husband to inherit.
The meatloaf cake makes me think of a roast beef recipe in Directions for Cookery (1837). After icing it with the mashed potatoes, you were supposed to make flower cutouts of vegetables. The recipe said that from a distance it would look like a cake.
Best show ever! I wish someone would do a detailed review of the decorating. I saw TONS of Pyrex!!
Love all of this. Some was kind of way-out, but most looked pretty darned edible. Meatloaf, devilled eggs, mac & cheese, hot dogs, goofy cake …these are things people still cook and eat. Whatever the foody fad of the month is, not everyone jettisons the old favorites and starts eating quinoa, nibbling on kale! That pineapple salad looks wonderful, I would love to make that one.