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Food

Recipe Cards On Parade!

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One of the advantages of real flea markets over EBay is the ability to dig through piles of freaky stuff and come up with buried treasure. One of my favorite finds are collections of old recipe cards.

There was once a time when food photography was somehow limited, perhaps by the printing technique, or the tinting process, or maybe it was just the aesthetic of the time. The food portrayed more often than not showed up in unappetizing shades of orange and pink.

I love those pictures. The less appetizing the pictures, and the more cheesy the names, the more highly they are prized.

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This 1971 collection of recipe cards from Betty Crocker is one of the things I would grab if my house were on fire. They sure don't make them like that anymore.

Just look at that delicious crusty salmon, mmmm. When was crusty ever a good adjective for salmon? And look at that shade of pink. You just can't achieve that level of inedibility in color these days. And it's under the category of Impromptu Party Fare. There's nothing I enjoy serving my guests more than canned salmon and cream of mushroom soup over Bisquick biscuits. And who doesn't love raw broccoli? And olives? This one is sure to please any partygoer.

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Oooh, tangy!

Tangy is another word whose appeal has fallen by the wayside. Combined with aspic - which is actually lemon Jell-O in this recipe, and tomatoes, how can you go wrong? Why not add some vinegar, onion juice, celery and cloves.

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If that doesn't get your juices flowing, the recipe recommends that you serve with a side of mayonnaise. Or you can fill the ring with your favorite seafood sald.

That is the beauty of the ring mold. You can fill it with anything. Anything at all.

Come on, what else is in the cupboard?

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Keeping current with the exotic Hawaiian fad of the era, these pineapple boats make every meal a luau!

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Plus, it has meat in it! Who doesn't love a pineapple filled with meat?

We have turkey, celery, mayonnaise, chutney (exotic!), curry powder, bananas, peanuts (Go wild, Mrs. Johnson! Go really wild!), coconut, and that staple of tropical cooking, canned mandarin oranges.

Fondu-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-oHA!

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Yum! Don't the words frozen and salad together in one dish make your mouth water?

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Aren't you tempted to just jump right into the computer screen?

This recipe is a sweet one! Let's see, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, salt, canned apricot halves, crushed pineapple, canned cherries, and marshmallows. So it's sort of a frozen ambrosia.

So what makes it a salad? It's served on lettuce.

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Who but Betty Crocker would have the balls to outright call a recipe "leftovers"?

And give it its very own card, even.

This little gem gets rid of all that leftover turkey, as well as frozen broccoli, processed American cheese, evaporated milk, cream of mushroom soup and canned French fried onion rings. That's it. Those are all of the ingredients.

Of course, if you want to go the extra mile as this food stylist did, fill canned pear halves with leftover cranberry sauce.

As long as it is served on lettuce it is officially a salad.

That's the law. The law of the salad.

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Curried fish. Mull it over for awhile.

I'm not talking your fancy Thai curries.

No. I mean powdered curry from your mom's pantry mixed into a thin white sauce and poured over boiled whitefish.

But it is still lacking a little oomph. Thank God for the ring mold! The revered ring mold has saved many a valium-filled housewife from boredom in the kitchen.

And wait, are those kumquats? With the leaves still attached?

Who says mom can't express her personal creativity?

I'll be here all week, folks. Drive safely and take it easy on the cream of mushroom soup!