Saturday, October 31, 2009

Marketing to the Lady of the House

It surprised me to find that the Rochester Gas and Electric Company used to publish a cookbook series, until I was reminded that it helped encourage energy consumption.

But the "Womens Guide to Home Emergencies" book was an even funnier surprise. It wasn't a gender neutral "Guide to Home Emergencies." This booklet was for the fairer sex. The ones who can't chip a manicure or crawl under the sink while wearing a dress and apron.
The year it was published?.....1973!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cookbook from Kraft

Is that really Salmon flavored Jello? Or is it a decorative mold? We're off to an interesting start here.....

Next they showcase the Miracle Whip topped Jello mold. Hmmm.

I think my favorite part is the "special occasions" recipe section. Just add Velveeta and mayonaise and you've got yourself a real treat. Mmmm. I admit to using Velveeta in certain recipes, but I have to laugh that it doesn't require refrigeration and that the Dutch government finally allowed it to be imported after they realized it didn't have enough dairy in it to cause a threat to their own cheese industry. :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The "Choosy Moms" cookbook

One of the things that was evident while looking at my mom's cookbooks was that many of them were branded by food companies. It makes total sense. The more ideas you can give people, the more product you'll sell. The Peanut Butter Cookbook actually had lots of yummy sounding dessert recipes inside, but the interesting items came from the main courses.

First up: The peanut butter and canned ham sandwich. Hmm. Salt and peanuts. Could be good.

Then came macaroni and cheese and peanut butter. Skepticism is growing....

Then WHAM! They pulled out all the stops. Canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup and peanut butter mixed together in a meal called "Polynesian Supreme." I might have to make this sometime just to see what it's really like. I pity my next party guests. :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Joys of Jello

The Joys of Jello cookbook didn't start out so bad. There were pretty confetti cakes and decorative Jello molds used to hold ice cream centers or gum drops. Not my taste, but ok.

From there though, it got strange quick. It appears that vegetables in Jello replaced fruit as the trend, and I found pages of these horrifying recipes - like Spinach, Avocado and Carrot molds.....

and Jello molds with Cauliflower and red peppers.

But then it just got downright gross when they started adding canned tuna fish and olive slices to the mix. Blech!

By the time I got to tomato molds, it actually seemed quite reasonable. I guess in the end, it's no different than aspic (eat your heart out Julia Child), but I don't plan on meat molded into gelatin anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back by Popular Demand: Retro Cookbooks

A few weeks ago I blogged about the fun finds in my mom's old recipe folders. When I was cleaning out my dad's house, I found the actual cookbooks. The recipes inside these covers aren't that remarkable, but I found the titles quite fun, like.....




I must admit that I was disappointed there weren't more recipes to mock inside the covers, but that's ok because I also found "The Joy of Jello" cookbook. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post for some technicolor goodness and some "oh gross" laughs.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bran for all occasions

I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the title on this recipe booklet. All occasions huh? Weddings? Baby Showers? That romantic evening with your sweetie? Somehow I think the title was a bit too inclusive in it's use of the word "all."

I'm a fan of fiber, but even I have my limits.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to mortify an overweight teenager

My high school held an awards ceremony at the end of every year to celebrate the accomplishments of the students. They never told you what award you would be receiving in advance, but instead simply sent an invitation to the event. I had received awards in years past, but always for academic achievements.

Unfortunately in 1991, I received an award for "Outstanding accomplishment in gym." As a 250+ pound teenager, let's just say I wasn't thrilled with walking down the aisle to share that particular spotlight.

I laugh about it now - but it's still an ironic, head shaking dismay paired with a groan. :-)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Q: What do taxidermied animals and candlesticks have in common?

A: They're both hideous. These candlesticks are quite possibly the ugliest I've ever seen....

...and this stuffed "Cayman gator" doesn't win any prizes for the warm and fuzzy category. Even the stuffed baby duckling I found (who was soft and fuzzy) wouldn't earn a spot on display in my house. Let's hope the "stuffed animal" trend doesn't come back.

Yes folks, these were all items found in my dad's house.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My little blue autograph book

On my 10th birthday, I got an autograph book as a gift. As I flipped through the pages I remembered that nobody famous had ever signed it, but the notes from my parents mattered the most. The first was from my dad:

Then my mom gave her wishes:

Not even a signature from Mickey Mouse or Goofy could top that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The things you learn about your parents

While going through papers I stumbled upon this little gem. It appeared to be written by one of my dad's co-workers and implied that he found my parents engaging in a little "hankie pankie" in the men's room at work. (My mom was a stenographer in the secretarial pool in the office where my dad was an accountant).

I laughed when I saw it. Could it be? Mom was so proper. Then again, dad did like to give hugs. At my dad's memorial one of his former co-workers stopped by. I asked him: "Bill, is this a joke? Or is it true?"

He looked at it, laughed, and said "This paper is a joke, because "Larry O" didn't write this, but the story about catching your parents is probably true."

I'll never know if he was telling the truth or just giving me a funny memory of my parents - but I'll be forever grateful for the levity he brought to the day. Reading that "joke" paper still makes me smile.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A sign of great taste: The WWF Album

I came across my old record collection and along with the Michael Jackson's Thriller and Lionel Richie vinyl, I found this gem: The Wrestling Album." Note that despite being full of singers from WWF (World Wrestling Federation), there's no clear endorsement on the jacket other than on the microphone covers.

Perhaps even the WWF didn't want to be associated with the vocals of men like Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Hulk Hogan, or The Junkyard Dog. Yes, I'm embarassed that I can remember their names, but as you already know I'm one classy girl with amazing taste in music :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another early work by Lori Helms: Grade 6

I don't know what made me snicker more:

a) My 6th grade poem in the Community Arts Day booklet OR
b) The fact that my 6th grade teacher's name was Mr. Hickey

Childish humor aside, here is my poem. Apparently no title was necessary.

Kind of jumpy.
Australia native.
Nighttime animal.
Gray and red fur.
A long tail.
Ready to hop.
Often shy.
Observe him.
Sitting silently.

The End.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What IS that?

While cleaning out the kitchen cabinets I discovered this wooden donkey. It was clearly handmade, and I knew SOMETHING was supposed to happen when you pulled the donkey's moveable ear, but I couldn't figure it out. My brother was also baffled, but we agreed that we couldn't throw it out.

It was on the counter at my dad's memorial when my Aunt walked up and said "Oh - I see you found Aunt Florence's cigarette dispenser." Aha! I jumped on the opportunity to learn more about it. Apparently you put cigarettes in the donkey's pack and when you pull on his ear, one shoots out of it's butt underneath the tail. Definitely classy. Definitely a classic. Definitely not trash.

I walked around the house with my Aunt, asking her to tell the stories behind other "UFOs" (Unidentifiable family objects). I wish my parents had been able to take that walk with me, but Aunt Joan was a great substitute.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The end of a book.

One of my mom's old friends said it best. "I feel like I just finished reading a book...."

It's hard to describe the feelings you go through after both parents have passed away. Over the past few weeks I've felt overwhelmed, emptiness, sadness, shock and happiness - but through it all I've had a sense of determination to get by, by being pragmatic and trying to maintain a sense of humor. My mom was a strong woman - and I wanted to live by her example.

Because my dad died unexpectedly, we had lots to do beyond the typical paperwork. We had to deal with a house full of 42 years of memories (and a healthy amount of junk), and an apartment to empty - despite just moving my dad in 3 weeks prior.

We had a dumpster delivered and with the help of 3 friends, filled it with junk from the basement in just 3 hours! Did you know my dad collected bicycle parts? We threw away at least 10 bicyle frames and numerous rusted handlebars, wheels and tires. We also found work training manuals from the 60s, phone bills from the 70s, and at least 6 coffee pots. :-)

Once the clear junk was removed, we had a second dumpster delivered and brought everything up from the basement and into the garage.

While the sorting was tough, we had a lot of fun reliving memories, and over the next several blog posts, I'll be sharing some of the finds we found interesting. Some are personal, some are amusing, and some are downright bizarre - but I hope you'll get a laugh or a smile from them like we did.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Run Holly! Run!!

The beach in Carmel is also dog friendly, and leash-free canines ran with glee up and down the sand, chasing seagulls, balls, and handfulls of sand (nice one Brett). Holly was a salty sticky mess by the end of the afternoon, but she didn't seem to mind one bit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Diggity Dog

No, this photo isn't a picture of some fabulous bakery for humans. It's a display of dog treats at Diggity Dog in Carmel. The staff are experts at getting humans to part with their money by creating anthropomorphic displays of treats for dogs that look like something a human would enjoy. I must confess that Holly enjoyed a strawberry canoli and a calamari ring or two.