Saturday, December 20, 2008

French Shrimp Mold and Other Midwestern Delights

Mom broke out the stash of old holiday recipe books this morning. She was putting together a batch of no-bake cookies, the most wonderful cookie ever created, and I opened up a copy of the Holiday Recipe book courtesy the Iowa Public Service Company, published 1985. I was shocked and amazed. Salads with mayonnaise and mini marshmallows? Peppermint candies with no actual peppermint? Chinese Liver and Vegetables? What do they mean?

I can't stop reading it. Maybe it's more disturbing because I'm reading Omnivore's Dilemna, but there's some seriously scary stuff in here, like "French Shrimp Mold." The word "mold" is in the name of the thing. And there's nothing in the salad section that even remotely resembles a salad. Half of them call for a packet of lemon jello. "Pretzel Salad." "Mystery Salad." It's mind boggling.

There are also helpful tips on using your dishwasher and garbage disposal on the bottom of the page. This book is a gold mine.

Like it or not, these are recipes are stitched into our Midwestern history, the skeletons in our recipe closets. We still whip up a condensed soup casserole every couple of years. We love it. Do you have a casserole in your closet?

In case it sounded tempting, here's the Shrimp Mold recipe, submitted by Mrs. Martie Ech of Moville, Iowa:

French Shrimp Mold

1 can tomato soup
1 (8-oz.) pckg.cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp. Knox gelatin
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup green onion
1 cup shrimp, minced

Warm tomato soup and add cream cheese. Dissolve gelatin in hot water and add to above. Add mayonnaise, celery, onion and shrimp. Pour into mold. Let stand in refrigerator until firm. Serve with crackers.


liz said...

this is hilarious! i was going through a 1976 better homes and gardens cookbook recently that i bought at a thrift store and i felt the same way. the best part is the meal ideas they have in the back. you could not even make this up:
-from lunches on the go: club sandwich, orange, jelly roll slice, and breakfast cocoa. or how about bacon-peanut butter sandwich, carrot sticks, apricot foldovers, and hot mulled cider. or maybe you'd prefer sliced ham on whole wheat, a hard boiled egg, chocolate pudding, and iced tea.
-dinner lists like 7-8 items including a meat main dish, a "starchy complement," a vegetable, a salad, a dessert, and an "accent"
-then there are special meals including: "club women's lunch," dinner for 2, 4, or 6, "men only," and "duck dinner"

also hilarious: "one day soon, the united states will change from the inch-pound system to the metric system." hahaha!

p.s. i love the new look of your blog! i do google reader so i have no idea when it changed.

Kellie said...

I just had to comment to say I'm currently reading Omnivore's Dilemma too! -Kellie

Allison said...

Liz, I love the bacon-peanut butter sandwich concept. I know I always grab one when I'm running out the door. Glad you like the new look!

Kellie I wish we could have a book club discussion about Omnivore's Dilemna, I keep trying to tell to my sister about it and she's like "stop talking to me about corn sex."

valereee said...

Makes you wonder what in the world could possibly be French about it, doesn't it?

J.R. said...

When I was little I used to love peanut butter and bacon sandwiches. I'd also put peanut butter and bacon on waffles.

But, to add to the original post: I may have mentioned this before, but I have a friend who spent two years as a Mormon missionary. Of all the places they could send him, they stuck him in the capital of Mormonland, Utah. On at least two different occasions, he was treated to a similarly disgusting gelatin concoction:

Prepare two packages of lime flavored jello. While still liquid, stir in a can or two of drained tuna fish and pour into a rectangular pan. Place in fridge until firm. Once firm, remove from fridge, slather with mayonnaise and cover with shredded carrots. Serve!