A few weeks ago, I came across this beauty in the Niagara Falls Value Village. At first glance, it seemed much less interesting than the stack of New Kids on the Block videotapes a few shelves over. Then the white gelatin mold in the lower right corner caught my eye - "Are those cucumbers on top?" I thought. "And what the hell is with the shiny meat curls on the side?"
Flipping to the recipe in question, I find that this monstrosity is called "Cottage Cheese-Cucumber Salad" and is composed of lemon-flavoured gelatin, grated onion, cottage cheese, and chopped cucumber. That does it. I have to buy this book.
One dollar and a strange look from the cashier later, I have some new reading material for our trip back to Toronto. It quickly becomes apparent that "fast" was a synonym for "canned" in 1974, as nearly every recipe calls for a can of this or that. Case in point:
"Shrimp-Macaroni Casserole." This "pantry-shelf special" contains Kraft Dinner, 2 cans of shrimp, one can of condensed cream of chicken soup, and a handful of demolished Chex cereal. Delish!
If you have ever wondered what a meatball volcano would look like, your prayers have been answered:
Titled simply "Confetti Meatball Supper," this dish is another canned wonder, containing cans of meatballs, cheddar cheese soup, mixed vegetables, and chopped pimento. The sub-head for this recipe warns "Keep canned meatballs on hand for this dish" - in case of what, exactly? Unexpected guests that you secretly hate?
When I showed the following picture to Dave, he summed it up nicely with "Oh, God."
While the recipe itself is rather innocuous - basic tuna salad with some curry powder, stuffed into tomatoes - the final product bears an uncanny resemblance to the egg pods in Alien. Perhaps H.R Giger was inspired by his After Work Cookbook. After all, these tomato cups' structural perfection is matched only by their hostility.
I love the "Frank-Kraut Dinner"
Who knew hot dogs (er, "franks," as they were called in the '70s) could look so appetizing laying on a delicious bed of saurkraut and condensed cheddar cheese soup (both canned, of course)? There are no less than 8 "time-saving" recipes in this cookbook that have hot dogs as the main ingredient. Oscar Mayer - Helping sisters do it for themselves since 1883.
By far, the most stomach-turning photo in this book is for this "Entertaining Special"
I'm not sure what the photographer was going for with the "futuristic" setting, but the S.S. Discovery vibe does nothing to disguise the vomit-coloured abomination that is the "Sweet-Sour Chicken Mold." Containing powdered sour cream sauce, lemon gelatin, dill, green pepper, cucumber, carrot, and canned chicken, I cannot even begin to imagine what this thing tastes like. The book describes it as having "distinctive flavours," which I'd wager is a polite way of saying that it tastes like ass.
I told Dave that I should exclusively make recipes from the After Work Cookbook next time that we have guests over for dinner. So, who's free next weekend?