Music – “I Like What I Eat” from Songs To Strike A Chord by Jon Barker
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De gustibus non est disputandum comes from the Latin and means “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes”. Personal preferences in foods are subjective opinions, not right or wrong, so as the maxim goes, “…they should never be argued about as if they were”. The English rendition has come to be known as “There is no accounting for taste“.
Thus said, however, I am always amazed at finding “unusual” recipes in my cookbooks. By “unusual”, I mean only that they are composed of food combinations I would never have thought of, or food combinations that are either unlikely or downright odious. As an example, consider recipes I located in a new cookbook purchase, “Fashionable Food” by Sylvia Lovegren, published in 1995. Her book traces “seven decades of food fads” and sports some truly unusual recipes.
Consider “Banana and Popcorn Salad“, from the 1920’s: “Place the banana (peeled and cut in half lengthwise) on the lettuce leaf. Scatter popcorn over the banana and put dabs of mayonnaise here and there“.
If that’s not to your taste, you might like “Fruit and Flower Frozen Cheese Salad“, which combines cream cheese, mayonnaise, whipped cream, pimientoes, bell pepper, chopped pecans, salt, pepper and paprika.
Always a favourite, there was “Chipped Beef and Pineapple“, from the 1930’s. Combine bits of fried pineapple (in butter), chipped beef (hydrated with boiling water) and cook. Yum!
Care for “Roast Possum with Sweet Potatoes” ? A “soul food” out of the 1960’s.
From the 1950’s we have “Barbecued Bologna for Men a la Crisco“. Essentially, 3/4 cup of Crisco shortening, a couple of tablespoons of “Kitchen Bouquet” (bring on the sodium!), and 3 pounds of bologna sliced. Fry it all up and gorge yourself! If you don’t care for that, you can always make “Bologna Cake“.
In “Fashionable Foods”, the author has a similar recipe: “Wedgies A.K.A. Bologna Pie“, a nice combination of cream cheese, cream, mustard, and a pound of bologna, sliced into 12 rounds.
There are more recipes that astound: 1924 Italian Spaghetti (spaghetti, butter, lots of flour, canned tomato sauce, garlic and onions, salt, pepper and several cups of sliced American Cheese…sorry, you native Italians!)
You might want to serve “Baked Beans au Glow-Glow“, which definitely resembles the food of the 1960’s: combine canned baked beans, molasses, ketchup, mustard, and place sliced bacon on top. Bake for a couple of hours, warm 1/2 cup rum, ignite it and pour it over the hot beans. Hot diggity dog! How about “Impossible Pie“? The “impossible” part is the role of Bisquick in the recipe: mix eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, sugar and Bisquick in a blender. Stir in coconut and pour into a pie pan. The neat part is that somehow, the Bisquick settles out of this sludge to the bottom of the pan, forming its’ own crust! How cool is that?
Lastly, though, was one that I was most fascinated by: “Rosin Baked Potatoes“. Now, I used to dabble at playing the violin for a time, and I thought the only use for rosin was to keep the bow hairs smooth. It never occurred to me that in between maintaining the bow, I could nibble on the block of rosin in my violin case. If you want to sample this (kids, don’t try this at home), you need a large bucket, 15 pounds of lump rosin, 6 large baking potatoes, butter, salt and pepper. Melt the rosin in the bucket until bubbling hot and drop in the potatoes. Cook about 40 minutes, remove and wrap in foil. Serve. I’m not sure why you would go to all of this trouble and expense to cook 6 potatoes, but what the heck. Perhaps necessity was the mother of invention here. Or, maybe the conductor ordered a wee bit more rosin for the string section of his symphony orchestra and didn’t know what to do with it?
So, go out and indulge yourself: cobble together something from the array of leftovers in your fridge. Who knows, you might patent your creation and create a whole new taste sensation. Below are some other suggestions you might like to try!