Guess what today is!
You know how people will sometimes joke that something's so bad you'd serve it to guests you really want to get rid of? Well, today I made something that bad and then deliberately invited some of my closest friends to eat it.
|Better Homes and Gardens Prize-Tested Recipes, May 1952|
This comes to us from RetroRuth at Mid-Century Menu. At first I was really excited because I really like reading her blog, have made a few things from it, and thought it was absolutely spiffy to make something out of her collection. Then as I was waiting to get my scan of the recipe, I started to dread that this would have lots of American "cheese" or an entire jar of mayonnaise in it. Then I got the scan and was relieved. As far as scary 50s recipes go, this one looked relatively benign. Yes, it's got canned chicken in it, but if that's the worst thing, this'll be just fine.
For this adventure, I invited over my cousin T, her girlfriend Kelly, and Austin who has been featured before. I would like to say that this lovely concoction will be the first time Kelly's had my cooking. T arrived early and we made this thing together, then later that night we all tried this thing.
I usually don't gather up all the ingredients and make them pose like this, but for this little escapade I just had to. Look at them! It's all in a can!
|I didn't notice the percolator in the background looking like I randomly put a cremation urn in the picture, but I rather like it lurking behind the ingredients.|
|I wanted to put the other half in the disposal so bad.|
I'm taking my time leading up to when I actually got out the canned chicken because canned chicken is evil. Even though I went all-out and got "premium chunk chicken," I can't stand the stuff. It is the unholy love child of expired canned tuna and cat food. Every time I see it, I think of those all-day Boy Scout hikes where midway we'd have to stop and eat canned chicken with crackers. And I don't mean chicken salad or something else to cut the taste, it was straight-out-of-the-can canned chicken. If you were vegetarian, you were allowed peanut butter instead. But if you were not, no peanut butter for you. Even after spending all day swatting spiders off your face and lugging the comically oversized backpacks, no one was hungry enough to choke that shit down without begging to have the vegetarian option despite not actually being vegetarian.
The thought of canned chicken makes me have flashbacks to the brief period of trying to be made into an outdoorsy person by means of choking down canned chicken straight out of the can and doing miserable group activities.
|Please, imagine having to eat this straight out of the can.|
|That's not just canned chicken, that's premium chunk canned chicken.|
It looks like it's a spoonful of mayo away from being a decent tuna sandwich, but that's only because my camera-phone doesn't record smells. I'm not going to try to describe what we in the kitchen felt at the sight and stink of this. Instead, here's T attempting to exorcize the pie-to-be with barbecue tongs and 100 Recipes Every Girl Should Know.
|"The Power of Martha Stewart compels you!"|
|This picture of me trying to gradually add the water and canned mushroom pee to the flour represents how I felt.|
|I fail at white sauces.|
So, like every other cook who didn't want to serve up lumpy gravy, I got out the blender. If you pinched your nose, it passed for mashed potatoes.
|Cook until thick, eh?|
The fumes had gotten to my head by now and I realized I'd forgotten to dissolve the bouillon cubes in water. And what the hell was I supposed to do with them, anyway? Oh shit, I was supposed to have added them to the sauce!
Also, these people think I should be using two bouillon cubes for this sucker. I didn't think about how much bouillon this was for one pie. Here's Austin holding up an 8" pan (the size the recipe says to use) just so you can all take in what a tiny little pie I'm putting that much bouillon into.
You know what? I'm not going to list off the scatological things being said as we added the pee to the c---- overthickened white sauce. I had a big rant about 1950s food manufacturers making all manner of unspeakable bad recipes thinking it'd make their canned, processed things appealing despite wartime rationing being over. Which is true, apparently. But this... this was submitted to Better Homes and Gardens (I always wondered, better than what?) by a someone who, um, made this at home. Probably repeatedly. Do her children still instinctively look for the nearest three exits when they hear a can opener?
|Smelling this as I stirred to thicken was painful.|
Furthermore, who at BH & G tested this? Some execs or some young naïve home ec majors? Did they somehow not get swarms of flies like the ones that took over my kitchen? Did they actually taste this? At least they were really nice and didn't put Mrs. JE Hopkins' headshot right next to the recipe.
|Because with fresh vegetables and meat, you just can't make lovely creations like this.|
Y'know what? Let's shake the pan around so the sauce really gets in there.
All right, the kitchen smells like a gas leak mixed with pee and I'm somewhat dizzy from the fumes. Let's just make the biscuit mix to package directions and cover this up.
|The package directions lied about how much milk I needed.|
|It looks like an innocent pie, but you can see some of the goop oozing out.|
Anyway, T had to go get Kelly from work and Austin hadn't arrived yet, leaving me all alone with the oven full of pie, and the flies. While I waited, I put on this recording of Moonlight Serenade on guitar to calm myself while I did the dishes.
All right, this sucker's been baked long enough, time to drag it out into public! It looks innocent enough, does it not? Sure, you can see some of the ooze that awaits, but let's ignore that and look at the bread which baked up really nicely.
Or not. After all, this is an upside-down pie. Behold!
We've got pictures of all of us choking this thing down, but unfortunately, due to a mixup of whose pictures are on whose camera, I'm only just now posting them 10 days later. But first, here's what everyone thought upon learning that this was a reader-submitted recipe!
T: "Cruel and unusual punishment."
Austin: "She could almost cook?"
Kelly: "Reader recipe wasn't very inventive. Seems to be born out of necessity rather than creativity."
And, for your viewing pleasure, here we all are!
|I volunteered to go first.|
|Imagine being told "Wait! Hoooold it!" with mouthful of upside-down chicken pie.|
|This thing gave me some serious shivers after I choked it down.|
After seeing how this thing hit me, Austin nevertheless volunteered to go second.
|"Doesn't smell that bad, what is it, casserole of death?"|
|Amused that the pie fell off his fork.|
|Overwhelmed by the chicken upside down pie.|
|It only gets worse from here, folks!|
Then, the unspeakable happened. He got a second forkload.
|T: "He's gotta contemplate the conception of flavors."|
|"Eh, it's not that bad. I think he's [that's me] overdoing it."|
|Kelly carefully sniffing this.|
|I think T's asking Kelly why she'd actually want to smell it first.|
|I think T's face says so much.|
|I think they're plotting revenge on me for serving this.|
|Preparing to take the plunge!|
|Let's take a moment to appreciate what my friends just did for me.|
|Attempting to rationalize what just happened.|
HOLY CRAP THIS THING IS SALTY! We could smell the salt!
But you know what? Austin discovered that for some reason, it was... if not good, passable dropped into the soup.
|The only way to eat this is after drowning it.|
And after having some of it in the soup, it was so salty that eating the soup without it tasted like nothing. Also, in a wierd way, once you'd put it in soup to cut the salt, it kind of grew on you- even though the chicken was really stringy and it still tasted really off. Believe it or not, this is all that was left:
Then we had minestrone and war cake to make up for it.
I hope you liked this adventure! Be sure to see what everyone else made! If there's an asterisk next to someone's name, I haven't got the link to their post yet, but they've probably got their pies up too.
Brian of Caker Cooking – Chess Pie This one's my recipe!
Ruth of Mid Century Menu – Avocado Lime Pie
Mimi of The Retro WW Experiment – Nesselrode Pie
Erica of Retro Recipe Attempts – Curried Egg Pie
Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers --Mile-High Lemon Chiffon Pie
Sarah of Directionally Challenged Cooking --Simone's Pet Strawberry Pie
Kelli of Kelli's Kitchen --Butterscotch Pie
Ashley of A Pinch of Vintage --Schoolteacher Pie
Poppy of Granny Pantries --Black Bottom Pie
Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl --Chocolate "Pie"
Emily of Dinner is Served 1972 --Seafoam Cantaloupe Pie