Thanks for checking out my first post as The Throwback Chef! The idea of starting a food blog has existed in embryo form for quite some time, but finally materialized when I ran across a package of old recipes while browsing my local antique mall. Sitting there amongst the vintage aprons and coffee mugs (for which I have a terrible weakness), was this large Ziploc bag with well over 200 recipes, most of them dating from the 1950s.
Some of these are clipped from newspapers or printed labels from canned goods, but most are handwritten on random scraps of paper or the back of envelopes; the ink and pencil faded, and some barely legible. With personal names like “Carol’s Punch” and “Aunt Jenny’s Cake”, I felt the urge to preserve these family recipes that might otherwise might be totally forgotten. My intent is to recreate these meals and to document every step, from assembling the ingredients right down to the part where my poor husband dutifully samples the end results.
One thing that is going to be a challenge is that several of the recipes are incomplete. No titles or instructions, just ingredients and their measurements. It’s sort of like that game where you put a word on your head and try to guess what it is by other people’s descriptions, but you don’t get to look at the card. However, let no one say that I give up at the slightest inconvenience, because I’m going to improvise like my life depends on it, and hopefully figure them all out!
Another challenging issue is more of a mental block than a technical problem. As anyone who has ever flipped through a vintage cookbook can tell you, some of the pictures may make you lose your appetite for an indeterminable amount of time. While classic recipes like the above “Italian Creme Cake” give me no hesitance, the more bold ones that mix watermelon balls with mayonnaise (and no, I’m not being facetious; apparently someone thought this was a good idea) seem like a criminal waste of watermelon and time, since you’d probably spend hours with your head in the toilet just THINKING about that combination.
The question left for me is do I:
- Suck it up and give it a shot, because I might just be surprised, or
- Throw that crap out and hope that there’s no more copies floating around, because the world doesn’t need that kind of horror?
I’m leaning towards option 2; because as a die-hard Mayonnaise hater, this sounds even more nasty to me than to someone who doesn’t mind that gloppy beige mess. And lest you think that all I will be doing is trying suspicious-sounding retro recipes for the next year, let me reassure you that I honestly have no desire to experiment that hard for every meal (plus my husband might leave me); so, I will be including more modern recipes, a la Pinterest, to balance it out.
Regardless of what I’m whipping up for my blog posts, I’ll be sharing every recipe that I attempt, so that you can cook along (or laugh along) with me on what is sure to be a fantastic food and humor-filled adventure!