Apparently it is supposed to be helpful to learn from the past and the idea of “retro” cuisine kind of intrigued me so I bought a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Gourmet Recipes Made Easy. I should have known better!
Cooking retro recipes from the 60s and 70s seems cool but when you look at a lot of the recipes they use a heck of a lot of canned products, especially soups, for their cooking. No thanks. I understand how liberating it must have been for women in the kitchen to make dinner so quickly and easily but I want fresh when I can have it. So I was surprised to see in Gourmet Recipes Made Easy that there were no cans involved in the cooking process! They used real food. Now I could finally test out retro cooking in my own kitchen.
I took on two recipes: Stuffed Sole Fillet and Pasta Verde. The fish was tasteless and awful so I will not go into the cooking process there. The pasta verde was quite delicious but a bit of a disaster. You let 2 eggs, 2 tbsp of whipping cream and 1 tbsp of butter come to room temperature. You fry up some mushrooms, onions and throw in some spinach I guess to give it the green/verde colour. Beat together the eggs and cream, toss pasta with the butter, coat with the egg/cream mixture and then add vegetables. I also added some parsley, I wanted my pasta verde to be green!
The eggs cooked immediately against the pasta so there were white flakes of egg white throughout the dish which turned my stomach. Passive cooking with raw eggs like that may have been cool decades ago but if it means ruining the look of my dish, no thanks. Although tasty because of all that cholesterol, I am thinking that there is a reason we do not eat like this on a regular basis.
I do not want short cuts. I want the real deal. Cooking techniques have evolved over time. With limited resources and energy, if I am going to spend time in the kitchen I want to do things as professionally as possible and for me, that does not include retro cooking. I am done.
Although I do love that leg warmers are back!
“Fame! I want to live forever..”
I just wanted to tell you that you should really stop apologizing for your “crappy” photos. Your photos are lovely and I think you are being too hard on yourself! Be proud of what you’ve made and keep sharing the photos with us – I really enjoy it!
Some of my favorite cookbooks in the 70s were Sunset ‘specials’ – various ethnic books, & their ‘favorites’ – most of the ones I used were ‘from scratch.’ I also had several Rodale & other ‘healthy’ cookbooks (‘Confessions of a Sneaky Organic Cook’ is fun!)
I’m with you on legwarmers – I’m knitting some for my dancing granddaughters – pink for 2, & black for the oldest. I made myself some multicolour ones – they’re fun!
Suzie Ridler says
OK Poledra, I deleted it. Guess I was being too picky about my pics! So hard in the winter when it’s this dark when it comes to photographing food but I am doing my best. Thanks for the support!
ooh I have one of those Sunset books, the Mexican Cooking one. I bought it on my first trip to California in 1981 when I fell in love with Mexican food, still got it and it is still good.
Don’t give up on the retro recipe idea, not all books from that time rely on processed foods. My Mum was, and is, a fabulous cook and used a lot of magazine recipes as well as her 1950’s Good Housekeeping book which she got as a wedding present. I know, because I used to sit and study these books as a child – I was always into cook books!
Wandering Coyote says
LOL – I grew up on those books! My mom had a huge set of them. There were some good recipes, but I remember there also being a lot of sugar in them, too – and I’m talking savoury stuff! The pictures are so bad, aren’t they?
Anne Chisholm says
Finally parted with my cookbooks from the 60s and 70s. So much more fun to cook with today’s recipes and fabulous fresh ingredients.