The secret to every beautiful homemade casserole? Decorative lunch meat. Who knew?
Who doesn’t love homemade macaroni and cheese? Except for the tomatoes on top, I loved my mother’s the most. This weekend my mother and daughter and I decided to indulge. Hot, cheesy, fat-filled heaven in a casserole.
But do you know what was even better than the actual food? The Better Homes 1961 Casserole Cookbook the recipe came out of. I traveled through time with each turn of the page, amazed at both the creativity and diversity of this eclectic cookbook.
When I first opened this curious book I found myself staring at an array of cooking vessels that rendered me nearly unconscious. My heart belongs in the past, when women worked in the kitchen while children hung to their apron strings. On these yellowing pages were pictures of electric saucepans, super-ceramic skillets and chafing dishes. All tools of the trade in a time I can only dream of.
This cookbook was written with great excitement! After all, what happy homemaker could deny the exhilaration one can feel when preparing a home cooked meal! It seemed that every page included not one, but up to four exclamation points per paragraph!
None of the recipes call for cheese, but rather, processed cheese. Wikipedia states that processed cheese contains some “normal cheese,” as well as emulsifiers, salt, whey and extra food colorings. Was this the beginning of the end for America?
Every homemaker wants to prepare food that is not only delicious but also appealing to the eye. This is why Better Homes suggests topping your casseroles with lovely creations made completely out of deli meat. Olives and parsley were the icing on the cake.
I particularly like the “meat horn” effect. This shouts out, “meaty, yet decorative too!”
Remember when Stouffer’s introduced the “all new” French bread pizza? The 1960’s had already Been-There-Done-That! Yet on the very same page you will find a meal that Stouffer’s has yet to take on. The infamous Bread Egg Salad Vienna Sausage Pickle pizza. You have my permission to take this idea and run with it. No, really.
The pièce de résistance? Feast your eyes on this Confetti Rice Ring prize. Rice, peas and pimento stuffed to the gills with creamed chicken.
Creamed chicken WHAT, I am not sure. It seems they aren’t so sure themselves. “COULD be ham, sea-food sauce.” COULD BE? OK, you take the first bite. I dare you!
Now, if you excuse me, I have some meat horns to prepare!