So a cookbook by the same author who wrote "The Can Opener Cookbook" cannot be expected to hit great heights of culinary inspiration. And this definitely does not hit any heights, though it's certainly is fun to read.
And if you hate to cook, you may want to rustle up a copy. I found mine at a local antique store sans book jacket, and oh, the 'treasures' inside. I hardly know where to begin.
Like Peg Bracken's "I Hate To Cook Book," this book attempts humor, and brings a 'new' way to write recipes, an alphabet of advice, and bad poetry throughout. I am scared to try a couple of these recipes. How about this appetizer?
Celery Angels: This is (and I'm not kidding) "Crisp celery stalks in refrigerator, wrap in paper-thin slices of ham, and fasten with toothpicks." At serving time, you're encouraged to "Arrange stalks like spokes of a wheel on a platter with the leafy tops facing out."
Sounds un-delicious unless there's a dipping sauce. Which there most definitely isn't...
A few pages along and you've got Creamed Frankfurter Slices.
Yes, that's correct: Wafer-thinly sliced and browned hot dogs served in a sauce of celery soup, milk, and mustard. Dinner guests are invited to dip with rye or pumpernickel bread. Mmmmm.
My favorite quote from the introduction:
"This is a very different book because it is based on a new theory: that some of the best meals of our time are whizzed together in a matter of minutes, often with the sketchiest of equipment and by the most blissfully untutored impresarios, ie., Brides with flowers in their hair and only half an eye on what's bubbling. In this book the can opener, the mix, and frozen food take their place among the immemorial little gods of hearth and household."
My second favorite quote comes from "About The Recipes"
"How many does the recipe serve? It's hard to say. For it is assumed in a cookbook for Brides that we are dealing with two active, healthy, young people, one of them a husky male who would be outraged by average and tearoom portions. So we speak generally of the number of servings you can count on rather than the number of persons. Our portions are somewhat more lavish than those prescribed in more orthodox volumes."
In practical terms, this means that you'll have to clue how much food you'll be serving because the number of people to be served is sometimes listed, sometimes not. Measurements for ingredients are also buried in the recipe itself. Here's a short example:
Salmon Baked in Sour Cream
Our private name for this is Bay Ridge salmon, after the many Norwegians who settled in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, overlooking the entrance to New York harbor. For it was New York's great shipping industry which drew these latter-day immigrants from northern Europe - and this is one of their favorite dishes.
You will need:
Sprinkle 1-pound salmon steak with salt and pepper, lay a few thin slices of lemon atop, and cover with 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon minced parsley. Bake in a moderate oven, 350, for 35 to 40 minutes.
At serving time:
This calls for potatoes boiled in their jackets and, for your green vegetable, spinach or string beans. 2 servings.
But back to the goofy life and recipe suggestions. How about the devil's food cake iced with Butterscotch Frosting for the 5th year wedding anniversary? The traditional gift is wood, so Cannon advises "Decorate with chocolate bits for that knotty pine effect...A wooden cake plate!"
And then there's the "Cater Your Own Wedding" suggestions - as if the bride doesn't have enough to think about before the wedding? Let's add in catering for 50-100 people to make that glorious day go even more smoothly.
Fortunately, Cannon suggests you 'delegate all the last-minute responsibilities to one trusted person" so that -on your wedding day- you "don't give the menu a single thought." All recipes in this section are designed to serve 12, so hopefully your multiplication skills are also divine. There are three menus, and I'm sharing the most absurd:
Reception Chicken Pies
Tomato Aspic with Caviar Mayonnaise
Green Salad with Cheese Julienne
Bought Wedding Cake
Ice Cream in Forms
Colonial Bride's Bowl
Yes, that's correct: frozen chicken pot pies - enhanced with herbs and wine. The tomato aspic comes from a can and is warmed and remolded; at serving time you add parsley, mayonnaise, sour cream, caviar, and chives. The "Colonial Bride's Bowl" sounds more scary than it actually is: rum mixed with frozen lemonade, frozen pineapple juice, frozen pineapple chunks, and frozen strawberries.
The final wedding salvo is an Angel Pyramid. This is angel food cake mix baked as cupcakes, slathered with icing, and stacked pyramid-style ON TOP OF EACH OTHER with a tall tumbler or vase upside down in the center and toothpicks for support. Can you feel the Pinterest Fail potential?
But wait, there's more.
I could go on and on and on and on with the absurd recipes and suggestions. Imagine my surprise to find a recipe that I've actually tasted! Lurking on page 370 is the Georgia Lime Punch: 7-Up served with lime sherbet. Except mom never made it with Tom Collins mix or curacao, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier.