Joe Lavin

May 3, 2005

Make It a Betty Crocker Week

"It's about time you owned a cookbook," my mother told me, and so she recently gave me a reprint of "Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book," originally published in 1950. It's a nice present, and there are many useful recipes in here. Other recipes, however, are a little more interesting than useful.

Monday Lunch
Seafood Salad Mold

There's nothing like having a good mold for lunch. If this one doesn't strike your fancy, there's also Molded Garden Salad, Cheese Mold with Fruit, or Jellied Fruit Medley. What's that? None of these strike your fancy. Well, that's just communist talk, that is.

Monday Dinner
Emergency Steak

1 pound of ground beef 1 tbsp minced onion, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper 1 cup Wheaties

"Mix together…. Place on lightly greased pan, pat into shape of T-bone steak. Broil. Serve immediately"-- you know, before your guests notice that you're trying to pass off a giant hamburger as steak.

Monday Dessert
Last Minute Date Raptures

I originally read this as Last Minute Date Ruptures, which would be something entirely different.

Tuesday Lunch
Hot French Toasted Sandwich

"Make up chicken, turkey, or ham sandwich. Dip into beaten egg. Brown on both sides in butter in hot heavy skillet…. Serve piping hot." Try to eat lunch early today, so that you can schedule your heart attack for the afternoon and still be home in time for your evening Scotch.

Tuesday Dinner

"Always a favorite, hot or cold. To cook:

1. Wash thoroughly. 2. Simmer until tender. 3. When just cool enough to handle, remove excess connective tissue, bones, and skin." 4. Throw whole thing into trash when you realize that -- for Christ's Sake -- you were about to eat a cow's tongue! 5. Order pizza if you've got any appetite left.

Tuesday Dessert
Wheaties - Coconut Macaroons

These are just like coconut macaroons, "except in place of 2 1/2 cups coconut, use 2 cups Wheaties and 1 cup coconut." Coincidentally enough, both Wheaties and Betty Crocker happen to be owned by General Mills.

Wednesday Breakfast
French Fried Bread

"Dip slices of bread into Fritter Batter and fry in deep fat until brown." Have as many slices as you want. If the French Toasted Sandwich didn't already kill you yesterday, then you'll probably live through this too.

Wednesday Lunch
Mock Chicken Salad

"Follow chicken salad recipe, except, in place of the chicken, use cut-up cooked veal." After the meal, let your guests in on the secret and all share a good laugh. You prankster, you.

Wednesday Dinner
Perfection Salad

Here's another exciting mold, featuring gelatin, shredded cabbage, celery, pimentos, and sweet pickles. Note: perfection sold separately.

Wednesday Dessert
Coffee Jelly

Here's some fruit gelatin with a twist. Instead of using boiling water and fruit juice to make the gelatin, use hot strong coffee. Oh, and omit the fresh fruit. Would you like some coffee with your coffee jelly?

Thursday Breakfast

Everyone loves bread, especially if it's sweetened. Hey, wait a minute. Why does it say, "remove membranes" in the recipe? What are sweetbreads anyway? Pancreas??? You know, maybe I'll just pick up something on the way to work.

Thursday Lunch
Mock Veal Salad

Trust us, you don't even want to know what we've replaced the veal with this time.

Thursday Dinner

"Prepare same as Sweetbreads. Especially good with scrambled eggs or spaghetti." Or crack.

Thursday Dessert

Screw dessert. After all the internal organs, it's time for a stiff drink.

Friday Brunch
Wheaties Pancakes

Prepare pancakes normally, but fold in one cup of Wheaties at the last minute. Have I mentioned the Wheaties - Betty Crocker connection yet?

Friday Dinner
Mexican Liver

After last night's dinner, liver will seem like a treat. Mexican Liver is just like regular liver, except that by adding chili powder the dish instantly becomes Mexican.

Saturday Brunch
Mexican Wheaties

Just add chili powder, and suddenly your Wheaties are Mexican too, all thanks to that ingenious Betty Crocker. Thanks, Betty.

©2005 Joe Lavin

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May 11, 2004
The Carbohydrate Producers of America
First of all, I just want to say how honored I am to have been named the first President of the Carbohydrate Producers of America. We may be a new organization, but we are much needed. This is clearly a difficult time for those of us in the carbohydrate business. Our stock prices have fallen. Our customers have deserted us. And our products are growing stale on supermarket shelves. Still, like you, I am proud to make carbohydrates for a living. ( More... )

September 13, 2002
The Caveman Guide to Good Eatin'
It wasn't my plan to see a nutritionist, but after my last physical, my doctor suggested that it might be a good idea. That's because he thought I could stand to lose about 15 pounds, which was something of a coincidence since I thought he too could stand to lose 15 pounds. "Have you tried cutting out the midnight snacks?" I almost asked him. ( More... )

December 14, 2004
Would You Like Your Coronary Super-Sized?
I'm not one to think much about nutrition, but even I'm taken aback by the new Hardee's Monster Thickburger. With 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat, this burger contains two 1/3-pound beef patties, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese, and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. It costs $5.49, though if you spend $7.09 to add fries and a soda they'll throw in a small defibrillator for free. ( More... )