Monday, February 15, 2010

Time Travel Cooking

Hubby bought me "The Time Traveler's Wife" video for me for Valentine's was tucked under my pillow on Saturday night, because he couldn't wait until the actual holiday. Isn't that COOL?? And on top of it, when he buys me chick flicks, he even watches them with me. Now THAT'S a secure man...;)

Well, anyway, this isn't going to be a review of the movie--although I have to admit I liked the book better--isn't that the way it goes? But it does bring me to what's on my mind today--which is my fascination with the past, particularly when it pertains to home life.

I had an idea this year, based on some health issues we are both having. I wonder if people in my childhood (the 60s and 70s) were of normal weight because going out to eat was a major--and rare--treat. I remember how as a kid, getting a hamburger at our local hamburger stand (remember Sandee's?) was a HUGE deal. My mom, who labored tirelessly to serve us wholesome and home cooked meals, was forever in the shadow of anything that came of a greasy paper bag. I think back now, and I marvel how on a daily basis we were served vegetables out of our own garden, some sort of entree (my mom was, and is still, big on Campbell's soup casseroles), often fresh bread right out of the oven, along with homemade pickles and her owned canned fruit. Cookies, cinnamon rolls, and all sorts of pies were a staple. We thought nothing of it as kids, unfortunately. But I sure do now.
Anyway, I was thinking about the whole diet insanity in our nation. And I started to wonder if it might be that we simply eat out too much. And so at the beginning of January, I began to cook at home every night, including weekends. Believe it or not, we are starting to lose some of that not-so-lovely extra poundage. Hubby, who also works out at a gym, has lost about 13 pounds, and I've lost around 8. And get this, I'm still baking cookies and other yummy desserts! So, it's interesting to see how much we'll lose at the end of the year--or if my theory is a bust.

Well, I'm enjoying this so much, I thought it would be a kick to take it one step further. Right now, I use my crock pot on busy days. I can't look at a crock pot and not hear the Helen Reddy song "I am Woman, Hear me Roar". To me, crock pots are all about 1970s moms in polyester pant-suits, frantically throwing in frozen ingredients before they scoot out the door to fight the male-dominated work place. I think, however, that I want to go back a little further with my cooking style, back to the alien culinary planet known as the 50s.

So, I think this year, I want to add these things to our menus. Stuffed peppers, shrimp cocktails, jello molds with grated carrot and artichokes, Rice Krispie squares, veal chops, porcupine meatballs, Chicken a la King, and even a souffle or two. And wouldn't it be fun to make a Baked Alaska? Just thinking about these foods brings me back to all the hours I would spend as a very little girl poring over my mom's cookbooks, favorites being "Fun with Jello" and of course, the grande dame herself, Betty Crocker. Some of those foods looked like they came right out of a spaceship. And they also looked so incongruous--imagine green olives suspended in lemon gelatin!--that they had to be delicious...right?? Right?? What a wonderful thing to imagine ladies in hats and chiffon that "lunched" on aspics and mousses and ladyfingers and spritz cookies. They certainly didn't live anywhere in my Brady Bunch neighborhood.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

(Image: "Cherries on a Chair" Acrylic on Canvas, Cory Jaeger-Kenat, 2010.)

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