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Cooking for your Swinging Bachelorhood

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I was looking through the recipe box for ways to use up the old Christmas carcass, when I re-discovered a little gem from days gone by: 1969 to be exact. It's one of those tiny paperbacks that they used to sell, a Flash World Library For Modern Living publication called: bachelor's cook book (all lower case for style's sake).

The bachelor's cook book was created to help those fellas with just a hot plate, saucepan and murphy bed make "guick interesting meals." Afterall, "A bachelor these days does not have to exist on tinned spaghetti and baked beans, with canned fruit salad for sweets. If he does, then it is entirely his own fault.," or so it sez on the back cover.

Much to my delight I discovered that the very basics of cooking are explained with robotic precision and that bizarre recipes from the era that created heart disease are broken down by season. Here is but a sampling of the January suggestions certain to tempt any young man on the go's palette. Don't forget your pre-dinner and after-dinner cocktails, cuz if you eat this, you'll need it. Vodka Collins any one?

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Lunch: Ravioli au Madere

1 tin ravioli - half a wine glass of Madeira - 1 3/4 oz grated parmesian cheese - ground pepper - a knob of butter

Before opening the tin, place it for a few minutes in hot water, to warm its contents, then open the tin and place its contents into a buttered fireproof dish. Pour on the madeira, sprinkle with grated cheese and dot over the butter. Put the dish into a moderately hot oven to heat through. Finish under the griller to lightly brown the top.

Hey, didn't they just put down spaghetti in the can? Well, I guess Franco American ravioli is haute cuisine.

Dessert: Banana Salad

2 bananas - sugar to taste - 1/2 lemon - a teaspoon of rum

Peel the bananas. Cut them into 1/4 in thick slices and put in a small glass bowl. Pour on the lemon juice, strained and sprinkle with sugar and rum. Variation: with (some of) the same ingredients you can make a milk shake.....

Apparently, bachelor's need everything, down to the material the bowl is made out of, to be spelled out--except for actual oven temperature. What ties nearly all of the nifty recipes in the book together is the lack of vegetables and the liberal use of butter and liquor. Rules that I personally live by.

Dinner: Entree, Six Oysters

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You guessed it. 6 oysters on shells- rye bread - 1/2 lemon - freshly ground black pepper

Buy the oysters on the half shell, and don't keep them any longer than one day. Cut small slices of the bread, cut off the crusts and butter them. Serve the oysters topped with lemon juice and ground pepper.

Main Course: Steak au poivre, potatoes Reynolds

2 lb potatoes - 1 piece fillet steak 5-6 oz, 1/2 tablespoon peppercorns - 1 knob of butter - salt

Pound the peppecorns to crush lightly. Rub the steak with salt and roll it in the peppercorns.
Melt butter, add stake, and fry until done to your liking. Cook potatoes in their skins in salted water until tender. Drain them and sprinkle them with salt. Wrap the potatoes needed for this meal in squares of aluminum foil and finish cooking in a very hot oven for 5 minutes. Keep the rest for the next day.

Wow, not even a piece of parsley for garnish. Now that's manly man cookin. I do like the repeated reference to knobs of butter and oysters for an entree. You think there's something Freudian there? Let's see, the suggested lunch for the following day is called: Scotch Woodcock. A fella invited me over to his place for some of that once and I slapped his face. Regardless, I wish all you bachelor boys out there, "bon appetite," or not.

Photo by Lori Nyx for LAist