Lime Ring Mold

Recipe

My first gelatin recipe. I’ve been waiting for one to pop up as gelatin recipes, in all their various forms, were a staple in every mid 20th century household. Grammie’s Lime Ring Mold recipe was not listed as a salad per se, so I’ve added it to the blog as a stand alone post instead of including it in the Infamous Salad Week.

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What the hell is the vinegar for (other than comic relief from the absurdly large bottle of it in the photo below)? The directions never say where to put it and no other Lime Mold recipe calls for it so I left it out.  I was also unsure of the amount of cream cheese but I went with 8 oz after consulting many other Lime Mold recipes and I sprayed the mold with a tiny bit of coconut cooking spray (also per other recipes). Grammie’s recipe never says to drain the pineapple but I did anyway. Grammie was a bit lazy when she wrote this recipe down.

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The ingredients look so pretty all together but I may have let the Jell-O thicken too long in the refrigerator.IMG_1747

Grammie

So this isn’t really a photo of Grammie but this was her kitchen and she probably took this photo of my dad wearing Grampie’s shoes and hat. He must have been around 2ish which would date this photo as 1949. This is not the kitchen I remember.  By the 1980s, that table was replaced by a counter top with lower cabinets and the table was moved just to the left of where the photographer was standing.

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Final Product

Evidently, I’m a scared chef; scared to liquefy whipped cream if I beat it too hard, scared to turn the Jell-O back to electric green lime water, and scared to just about beat anything too much because every time I use a stand mixer to make cookie dough, the cookies flatten into super crispy disks of shame. I should, however, have beaten the shit out of this recipe because it looked nothing like the beautiful milky green creations of the Lime Ring Mold recipes I saw online. Oh no, instead it looked like cat vomit after she ate green crayons and styrofoam.

 

VERDICT: Horrible

Aside from how the Lime Ring Mold recipe turned out looking, the taste of it was way too sweet.  This totally could have been user error in not mixing the ingredients together enough but if I ever made this again (an actual possibility just to see if I could get it looking right), I would beat the ingredients like they were trying to rob me.

The 12 year old didn’t like it.  One of the neighbor kids, L., did so a care package may mysteriously show up at their house today.

Baked Pork Chops

Recipe

This recipe sure doesn’t look like much. Not so sure if my witty commentary can fill the absence of terrible ingredients.

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I stumbled a bit over the bouillon packets, I’ve only ever seen cubes. There were none at the grocery store so I bought bouillon powder.  According to the All-Knowing Google, a packet is the same as a cube so 1 teaspoon of powder = a cube = 1 packet.

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This has been the simplest recipe yet. Maybe I should have done a little dance or something to liven things up a bit instead of watching a Betty Grable movie while I sprinkled on the chicken bouillon powder ?

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Grammie

There’s no date on this photo but I would hazard a guess that this was taken in the 1950s.  Again, guessing, but it was most likely Valentine’s day and not their August anniversary as they are both wearing long sleeves.  There aren’t many photos of the two of them showing much physical affection so this photo is special.

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The glass that the water was in the above ingredients photo was inherited as a set of either six or eight from Grammie when she passed away.  According to Replacements.com, Grammie’s glass set was made by Libbey Glass Company and described as “Needle Etch 24 Clear.” Replacements.com also lists a shot glass and a “pitcher with Ice Lip” in this same pattern.  I did a some further research and found a “Hotel, Club and Cafe Service” Libbey catalog (on Libbeyhistory.com) that listed the exact glasses that Grammie had! In the 1928 catalog, the Libbey Glass Company said of the etching,

“We make a specialty of acid needle-etching, each design a combination of etched lines wonderfully executed, that seem like so many brilliant silver threads woven around the glass.”

Well I don’t know about the “brilliant silver threads” bit but they are nice enough glasses that we use every day. It seems that shot glasses and pitchers weren’t the only items that had the “Needle Etch 24” design. The Grammie’s glasses was one of their No-Nik tumblers with Safedge (a bit of a rolled edge around the top) but listed are a number of items including lemonade glasses, orange juice glasses, and high ball glasses, among other shapes and sizes.

I don’t know whether or not these glasses were sold in retail locations.  If not, then Grammie quite possibly nicked them from the hospital she secretly worked at the first year she and Grampie were married! Cool! I’m sure there’s a less salacious story behind how Grammie acquired the glassware but it’s still fun to wonder.

Final Product

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VERDICT: Horrible

The Baked Pork Chops were totally overcooked and though I basted them several times in the last 30 minutes, they were dry.  I don’t know if the basting was supposed to help mix the chicken bouillon in with the water and make a kind of sauce or if it was just to flavor the top of the chops.  Maybe I was supposed to mix the bouillon together with the water before it went into the oven.  I don’t know, but this dish needs a revamp before I would consider making it again, which is a shame because it would have been a nice easy dish to make often.  So if I had to do it again (not going to happen but I wouldn’t put it past the Hubs to work his magic on it), I would definitely start checking the internal temp at about 45 minutes and make a sauce to go with it.  Maybe Grammie has a Horrible sauce recipe somewhere I could try…

Watergate Cake

The Recipe

The Watergate Cake, in its various incarnations has been around for many years.  It began as a kind of pudding in the 1950s and morphed into the sweetheart of instant food. According to the Atlas Obscura article, “Watergate Cake,” the version of the recipe found in Grammie’s recipe box gained popularity in the 1970s.

The recipe card was made by Current, Inc. which is still in business making cards and various other paper products today.  The “Kissin’ wears out cookin’ don’t,” was a popular saying and adorned many products in the 1970s such as local cookbooks, needlepoint, plates, patches, and coffee mugs. You can actually still buy a vintage set of the recipes cards here.

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The ingredients and the mixing of them was simple, really just dumping them into a bowl and giving them a quick stir. I tried to get Mexican 7UP but they didn’t have any at the store that day.

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I’ve obviously never made pistachio pudding because I was surprised when the cake mix turned green. I also didn’t have the correct cake pan.  Grammie’s recipe called for a flat cake pan so I just used what I had on hand, which didn’t turn out so well as you can see below. The middle totally fell in (but I slathered icing all over it anyway). Speaking of the icing, it was more of a pudding than anything.  I’ve never used Dream Whip before (I didn’t even know if they still made it) and didn’t taste the icing until after I mixed the pudding in, but next time, I’ll whip up the Dream Whip and taste it on its own first.

Grammie

Here is Grammie and Grampie in their living room, December 1975. They look like they’re ready to go out to a Christmas party. Nice medieval looking Christmas decoration on the mantel! And is Grampie checking out Grammie’s boobs?

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Finished Product

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VERDICT: Horrible

So maybe I should clarify what constitutes a Horrible recipe from a Not So Bad recipe.  A Horrible recipe is one that I’m never making again, or that to make again, I would need to revamp the recipe in such a way that it would be unrecognizable from Grammie’s original recipe.  A Not So Bad recipe is one that I would make again but possibly with an addition or substitution here or there.

The reason the Watergate Cake recipe gets a Horrible rating is because it just didn’t taste like much.  If I’m going to eat dessert, I want it to be amazing and this completely missed the mark.  It just tasted like a cake mix cake, which I know it was, but I had high hopes that the addition of the pistachio pudding would have done something to take it outside of the cake box. It did not. A lot of the recipes online (and there are tons) bake the cake in a Bundt pan, which would have solved my sinkhole problem, and some of them used Cool Whip instead of Dream Whip, though I don’t think the substitution of whipped topping would have made any difference.

IMG_1456The Hubs thought it was pretty tasteless too.  The 12 year old, on the other hand, loved it and this is what I came down to the next morning…

Yep, that’s my oldest, stuffing his face with cake for breakfast right out of the pan.  Maybe I’ll make it next year for St. Patrick’s Day just for him.

Carrot Casserole

Recipe

Let me start out by saying, I’m not a cooked carrots fan.  Unless, of course, they are covered in something sweet enough to make them borderline dessert. I’ll just put it out there – I think this dish is going to be gross.

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The ingredients for this dish were nice and simple and, with the exception of Oleo, wholesome.  I substituted butter for the Oleo. Whole milk is always used unless a recipe specifies something else and organic cane sugar was used in place of white sugar.  I should try a little harder to use only ingredients that Grammie would have had available to her but part of me thinks, in a number of these recipes at least, that some of the ingredients are so terrible that every attempt should be made to balance them out with some organics. Probably silly, but there you have it.

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So everything was going well until I hit the ‘toss carrots in Oleo [butter]’ instruction. I wasn’t sure if the carrots were supposed to be drained before tossing them or not, so even though I am trying to follow the recipes exactly, I went ahead and drained the carrots.  I expect it would have been okay to skip that step, but I thought too much water was poured over the carrots initially. Anyway, everything else went smoothly. And why yes, that is a Deathstar kitchen timer, thanks for noticing.  It makes pew-pew noises when time is up.

Grammie

Grammie and the family took a vacation to Missouri, at least according to the back of the photo which says, “Inez Entrance to Cave in Mo, July 1946.”  That was the year the bikini went on sale for the first time; UNESCO, UNICEF, and the Atomic Energy Act were created; and more importantly to housewives across the nation, Tupperware was introduced! My dad was born in July the next year after this photo was taken, when Grammie was 37 years old.

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Final Product

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VERDICT: Horrible

Okay, so Carrot Casserole is definitely not sweet, but instead very egg-y.  It tastes like a breakfast casserole that’s lacking some meat.  In fact, I may fry up some sausage and have a nice little breakfast with it tomorrow.  The carrots don’t taste like anything next to the egg flavor, maybe I should have taken into account that eggs were smaller in the 1950s -70s and decreased the amount?  Would that defeat the purpose of following the recipes exactly or would that make following them MORE exact? I don’t know.  Please comment with opinions (I’m lookin’ at you, Carla). Also, there was some water at the bottom of the dish so I’m so glad I went ahead and drained the carrots but probably should have gone a step further and given them a bit of a squeeze before drowning them in egg-y milk.

This mild dish may be a good balance to a strong meat like salty ham or barbecue, you know, something with a lot of flavor. If I were to make this again, I would totally incorporate some sausage or ham into the recipe and maybe some green pepper and onion to make it a true breakfast casserole.  I bet that would be a good way to get some veggies in the 12 year old too!

Today for breakfast, I paired Aidells Smoked Chicken Sausage Spicy Mango with Jalapeno with the Carrot Casserole and it was a great combination.  I could actually pick out a hint of sweetness from the carrots. But don’t get me wrong, just because I enjoyed it today, doesn’t mean I’m ever making this again.

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P.S. That cool blue sugar bowl was made by Darby Ortolano, she can be reached on Facebook at her page Darby Ortolano Ceramics. And the awesome salt pig is from Page Pottery (a super sweet husband and wife team from North Carolina), you can find them on Etsy here.

Thanks for checking out the blog!

Chicken Casserole

Recipe

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All righty, Grammie’s Chicken Casserole recipe looked pretty simple, I mean, five ingredients that I can make ahead before shoving it in the oven for an hour? I had high hopes for this one. I can see why casseroles were so stinkin’ popular.  Was this before the advent of the slow cooker?  Well, I did a little poking around, and according to Allison Speigel who wrote the nail-biting (just kidding, it’s very straightforward) article, “A Brief History of the Crock Pot, The Original Slow Cooker,” the Crock Pot, while invented in the 1930s, did not get wildly popular until it was bought by Rival Manufacturing in the early 1970s.  But before then, it’s totally understandable that dumping ingredients into a casserole dish and throwing it into the oven was the way to go for a busy housewife.

Grammie’s recipe was very specific about the brand and shape of the pasta which made me think that this might be a recipe from the company itself. I checked out the Creamette website and didn’t find one that matched Grammie’s recipe, though I’m sure the fine folks at Creamette have changed their recipes over the years.

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This recipe also didn’t say what kind of cooked chicken to use so I just chopped a couple of chicken breasts and fried them in a little bit of oil.  Maybe rotisserie chicken could have been used instead as a time saver. The Velveeta (SO reminds me of childhood!) was also a bit of a challenge.  I couldn’t for the life of me cube it.  Maybe because it was room temperature? Anyway, I ended up just pinching off bits and placing them evenly over the noodles.  I layered the ingredients in the order of Grammie’s recipe.  The clean up crew had to be called in after I got a little crazy with the mushroom soup/milk mix. She didn’t complain about the overtime though, so it all worked out.

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This is Grammie and Grampie, probably in the late 1950s.  I have a sneaking suspicion that my dad is the boy wearing the face mask on the left.  And look at that farmer’s tan on Grampie! Grammie looks so cute in her gingham bathing suit and that is the happiest smile I’ve seen in a photo of Grammie to date.  The family went on a quite a few vacations like camping (in a cabin), Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore, among other places. Grammie and Grampie often vacationed with her sisters and their families. Some of the vacation photos are labelled with locations and it would so much fun to recreate some of them one day!

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Final Product

If this tastes like it looks, it’s going to be Horrible.

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Looks kind of pretty plated up but…

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VERDICT: Horrible

Too salty, not enough flavor, looks like cat vomit.

Of course, the Hubs loved it.

It’s definitely a creamy dish, not super flavorful but it perked up a little bit after sprinkling some smoked paprika on top.  Some of the noodles were more al dente than others but overall not a bad make ahead dish for a busy mom, I mean, I’m never making this again, but I’m sure it would work for other people. I’m glad I cooked my own chicken as the Velveeta and mushroom soup gave this plenty of sodium and the plainness of the chicken balanced that out a bit, or at least tried to. If this is ever made again (never going to happen), maybe use low sodium mushroom soup instead? The Chicken Casserole needs an additional oomph in the flavor department, the smoked paprika helped but maybe it needs to be incorporated into the preparation, or another ingredient should be thrown in there.  Maybe a dash of chipotle hot sauce? I don’t know, it needs something though. The 12 year old thinks it’s edible but not great.

Thanks for visiting!