Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


During my recent New York trip, I had the opportunity to stay with The Other Elisson. A little Brotherly Bonding, if you will. And in the process, I had a chance to rediscover some fascinating artifacts.

One of those relics is the original recipe book - vintage 1953 - that came with our parents’ first Waring Blendor.

The 1953 Waring Blendor Book. Gawd only knows what vile substance created that brown blotch on the upper left.

I remember that kitchen appliance, clear as day. It was a two-speed model (fancy!) with a massive cream-colored base, a thick glass carafe with the distinctive Waring cloverleaf cross-section, and a grey plastic lid. Its power cord was designed for heavy-duty use; the damn thing was like nothing so much as a grey anaconda with copper electrical prongs in lieu of fangs.

When Mom would use the Blendor - Waring’s preferred spelling at the time - the kitchen would be filled with a shrieking sound of whirring blades and the unmistakable pong of ozone. On the “high” setting, it was downright scary. But if you wanted to liquefy something, the Waring Blendor was just the thing.

The recipe book, seen from our vantage point over half a century removed, is quaint and amusing. Cold ham loaf... cream of mushroom soup... Danish fish pudding... gaaaah. There’s even a section containing Special Tricks for Men to Try - testosterone-soaked stuff like orange sauce for wild duck, bĂ©arnaise sauce for steak, and baked beans. Also, quiche lorraine!

Some ten years later, we would upgrade to an eight-speed Osterizer. That one came with a recipe book as well, full of equally horrifying recipes. Deviled salmon... Tahitian pork chops... and something called The Noodler!

But wait: There was more. Another recipe book (“Salads and Salad Dressings”) looked like a candidate for inclusion in James Lileks’s Gallery of Regrettable Food. It was chock-a-block with recipes for molded gelatin-based salads (one of the Major Food Groups of the 1950’s, along with Miracle Whip and tobacco), most of which are positively nasty.
“Say, Madge - this Molded Avocado-Kumquat Salad
looks to be Quite the Thing!”

For a brief moment, I thought it might be fun to throw a retro Gelatin Dish Party, wherein each couple attending would contribute a dish made from one of the recipes featured in this book. Think of it: you could start off with a nice Beet Salad Mold, move on to Molded Avocado-Kumquat Salad and Cottage Cheese in Tomato Aspic, and finish the meal with a Desserty Bang by serving a Peaches and Cream Mold. But would anyone really want to eat any of this crap?

The most treasured artifact of all, however, was a possession that, at one time, had belonged to our mother. It shows signs of having been used frequently over the years and it bears the patina of age, but it is still in remarkably good condition...

The Old Family Colander
Yours Truly models Momma d’Elisson’s old colander. Sharp-eyed readers will spot the Star of David motif.

Why, it’s our old Family Colander!


BobG said...

Historical headgear.

JT said...

Funny that my Midwestern Methodist mother has the exact same colander. I think the pointy, cone-shaped applesauce-making colander that I inherited from my grandmother would make jaunty head gear.

KeesKennis said...

The disgusting weight loss shows, the colander is to big for your head.