There are certain colors that food just isn’t supposed to be, particularly blue and black. Admittedly there are some black foods that most people don’t have a problem with, such as licorice or caviar. But when a food that isn’t normally black suddenly is? It’s really hard to convince yourself that it’s OK to eat – some sort of primal response to Bad Food. Someone brought these black devilled eggs to a Halloween party we went to, and it seemed to take the guests quite a while to work themselves up to trying them. Once they did, though, they disappeared rapidly.
I said I would do it, and here it is: the winner of the Regrettable Food survey, Chiffon Chicken Pie, straight from the pages of The Sunday News Family Cook Book published in 1962. Please tell me I never have to make this again.
The ingredients were not necessarily promising, but didn’t include much “fake food”, and thankfully no MSG. I bought Ritz crackers for the first time in years, and had to hunt a bit to find pimientos. We already had gelatin on hand, as I sometimes use it in mousse cake. I bought a value pack of chicken thighs (no way was I going to use quality organic chicken for this) and roasted them, picked the meat off and made stock from the bones, but I could certainly have bought precooked chicken meat and canned stock, which would probably have been more authentic.
Yes, the Chiffon Chicken Pie won out, after a neck-and-neck race with both the Norway Strudel and the Mock Chicken Legs. I honestly don’t know whether to feel relieved or horrified. So any way, now I need to go buy some Ritz crackers and pimientos (I seem to have an unopened box of gelatin already), and we’ll make this either later this week or next (we’ve been eating a lot of chicken, I might need a slight vacation before undertaking the pie).
Say, if anyone is still morbidly curious about the other regrettable dishes, I’d be happy to supply you with the recipes for you to try them yourself. No problem!
One of my birthday presents this year was a truly enthralling item: The Sunday News Family Cook Book. It was published in 1962 by the New York News, and includes “favorite recipes” from readers as well as recipes from the paper itself. Many of the dishes in it sound just fine, although instructions are occasionally a little vague. Others, however, are mind-numbingly weird, and the food photography is…um…fascinating. Have you seen James Lileks’ book The Gallery of Regrettable Food? This book is right up that guy’s alley.
Some highlights (you can vote for your favorite at the end):
Hamburger Bean Medley. This includes baked beans, kidney beans, lima beans, and chow mein noodles, and makes my eyeballs ache. And just think of what it might do to your digestion.
While helping my inlaws move this week, we came across this unusual item: a box containing two ampoules of Gogotine Scotch whisky, packed in Paris who knows how long ago. Our first reaction was, “what the…” quickly followed by “Huh. Do you think that’s safe to drink?” Of course, we’re afraid to find out. Anyone know?