Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blog Party #37 "Retro"-- (OK, Maybe A Bit Too Retro!)

Blog Party, that wonderful event started by Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness, starts off its 4th year of fun this month and it's also my 4th time at the party--although I may not be invited back after I present my recipes! The theme of this month's Blog Party is Retro, meaning that the appetizers and accompanying beverages should be from the 1920s to the late 1960s. I have mentioned that I have been in a bit of a funk lately in regards to cooking--whether it is lack of time, a perpetual stuffy head, or maybe feeling just plain LAZY, I just haven't felt like making a huge effort with anything.
That being said, I do love a good party and I thought for some easy, low effort appetizers, I would look to the year 1967 and my copy of A Campbell Cookbook: Easy Ways to Delicious Meals, "465 Quick-to-Fix Recipes Using Campbell's Convenience Foods". I purchased this little gem at the Friends of Hawaii Book Sale for .50 cents and noticed that it is dedicated: "To all the modern, young thinking cooks who enjoy convenience foods in quick, easy recipes... to make family meals more tempting, party meals more exciting, and their own lives more satisfying." I mean who among us doesn't want all that?!?
Apparently cooking and entertaining in the 60's was all about "swanky" but easy food as the "modern cook" had access to all kinds of mixes, soups, frozen products, etc. to make her life easier. In fact the Campbell's Cookbook states that "You need only spend an average of 90 minutes a day in the kitchen as compared with the 5 hours your mother used, thanks to convenience foods and better packaging." It also mentioned that a study was done showing that meals made with convenience foods could save a cook an average of 10 hours a week, compared to "cook it yourself" foods and that these foods could save money as they were prepared commercially, in large quantities at the "peak of supply".
For my pupus, I went straight to the "Tasty Appetizers and Snacks" section of the book and found two recipes to try: "Pizza-Flavored Hot Cheese Dunk" and "Chicken Cheese Teaser". Apparently Campbell's wasn't much into cocktails for entertaining but believed firmly in "Refreshing Sippers", stating that "A mug of soup or "soup drink" makes refreshing sipping, hot and warming on a cold day, cool and refreshing on a hot day--sheer wizardry as a pick up, any season." I thought a "Beef Fizz" sounded intriguing but knowing there was no way I could get anyone to try all this without some alcohol, I threw in some Frozen Daiquiris too. Although the original Daiquiris, on the rocks, came from Cuba in 1905, "exotic" frozen blender drinks were hugely popular in the 60's and 70's.
Pizza-Flavored Hot Cheese Dunk
Campbell's Easy Ways to Delicious Meals
"Quick seasoning adds zesty pizza flavor ready without heating the oven"

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed Cheddar cheese soup
2 Tbsp ketchup
1/8 tsp oregano, crushed
1 small clove garlic, minced
Toast, cut in squares
Stir soup until smooth; blend in ketchup, oregano, and garlic. Heat; stir often. To serve, invite guests to spear toast squares with fork and dunk. Makes 1 & 1/4 cups dip. (I went out on a limb here and put olive oil and garlic salt on my bread before toasting in the oven for extra flavor)

Chicken Cheese Teaser
Campbell's Easy Ways to Delicious Meals

1 can Swanson Chicken Spread
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp finely chopped celery
1/4 tsp curry powder
Mix all ingredients. Chill. Thin to desired consistency with milk. Serve as dip or spread on crackers. Makes about 1 & 1/4 cups.

Beef Fizz
Campbell's Easy Ways to Delicious Meals
1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed beef broth
1/2 cup club soda
lemon twist
Pour broth over ice in 3-4 large glasses. Add soda to fill. Garnish with lemon. 3 to 4 servings.

Frozen Daiquiris
Cocktails A-Go-Go, Susan Waggoner & Robert Markel
1 1/2 ounces light rum
Juice of 1 1/2 limes (approximately 1 1/2 oz)
1 tsp sugar
1 cup cracked ice
Combine ingredients in blender and whir just until smooth. While this recipe can be multiplied to make several drinks at once, don't make more than will be served immediately, as the delight of a Frozen Daiquiri is its soft, fresh slushiness. Garnish with a thin slice of lime if you like.

Results: There are things from the past that stand the test of time. In 1967 there were the movies Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Graduate; The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Door's Strange Days albums came out, Julia Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel were born,the first home microwave from Amana came out and Gatorade was invented. Other things like the recipes above, should probably stay in the vault! The pizza dunk was fine--not sure you get the full on "pizza" experience with it, but I think the kids would like it. Chicken Spread, while certainly more palatable with cream cheese and curry mixed in it, is not going on the favorites list. Cold beef broth mixed with club soda is just WRONG even with a squeeze of lemon! The Daiquiris were delightful however.

My plan is this--duck in the door at the Blog Party, fire up the blender and start passing out glasses of tangy, frosty lime goodness and see if Stephanie will put on my 60's playlist below to get everyone in the mood. Then I'll whip out the fondue forks for the pizza dunk, pass some crackers with the chicken teasers and once everyone has a good buzz going maybe we can use the beef fizz as a dare or something! I figure I'll let the better things I have bought for my first three BPs carry me on this one and beg everyone to forgive me for my kitchsy 60's convenience indulgence. I may have to do some work to get my "Foodie Cred" back!
Thanks to Stephanie for being a wonderful hostess as usual! Here's to many more Blog Parties (I am toasting with a Daiquiri--not a Beef Fizz!)

Deb's Gimme Some Magic Mushrooms and Another Beef Fizz 1967 Playlist
Light My Fire, The Doors
Happy Together, The Turtles
Gimme Some Lovin, Spencer Davis Group
Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
Respect, Aretha Franklin
People Are Strange, The Doors
Somebody to Love, Jefferson Airplane
Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
I'm a Believer, The Monkees
All You Need is Love, The Beatles
That's Life, Frank Sinatra

Uh oh, Max had one too many magic mushrooms and Beef Fizzes!


  1. beef fizz...interesting...I would definitely be in line to try the fondue though :)

  2. Those foods are too funny in their retro feel, and yet they do look good. Maybe not the beef fizz, but all others. I love the playlist. I know they're retro, but half of them are my favorite songs anyway.

  3. my gosh, i can't believe you tried that beef drink! someone give this girl a medal!

  4. Hey Deb, super post. I love the old cookbooks. I found a replica of the "El Paso Cookbook" first published in 1898. I love it. And I'm going to try your Chicken Cheese Teasers. Sounds like somthing my daughter and her friends could just sit there and munch on while gabbing away. Thanks for sharing.

  5. There's a reason you like coming to BP; because you get it! Not many guests would attempt a Beef Fizz, girl.

    Wonderful offerings! Music's good too...it's shaping up to be another fun night!

    (haven't gotten a single entry with aspic yet, though...)

  6. Ha ha ha!! This is hilarious! I love the playlist (didn't know you were a magic mushrooms kind'a gal! ;) and what can I say about that beef fizz? You're my hero for even trying it, you brave, brave woman!

  7. Wow, Max does look a little spacey. Maybe a B12 shot would bring him around. (Like they did for acid trips, so I've been told)
    Can't say I have ever heard of Swanson chicken spread but I am definitely up for the pizza dip. And eleven or twelve of those blender drinks. Cheers.

  8. Kat--I'll save you a fork!

    Prudy--Retro music is the best--sure you don't want a bit of "fizz"?

    Sara--it wasn't the worst thing I've had but it wasn't good!

    Teresa--Wow, i bet there are some great recipes in that book--how fun!

    Stephanie--No aspic? Bummer! You should be happy not many would try the fizz! ;-)

    Michelle--I figure you need the mushrooms before the beef fizz!

    Natashya--Don't run out looking for it--it's not pretty! I'll consider the shot for Max and maybe an intervention! ;-)

  9. Beef fizz!! Oh my gosh, i have never heard of such a thing!!! I have to try one someday, i will never hear of that again i'm sure! Been so busy, hope you are well. Keep up the fun blog and good cookin!

  10. HOW FUN IS THAT?! I love it! The beef fizz is scary though...but you are brave and I am impressed!

  11. I have to totally agree - the beef fizz sounds scary, Max looks like he didn't mind too much. I love your entry, a further back in time effort than mine and I also dodged the aspic! I hope that doesn't mean that Stephanie will set it as a theme!

  12. Couldn't make it this time, and boy did I miss out. Beef fizzes, huh? Mmmmm....Hahahaha. I know the cheese dip would go over big here, though. The menfolk love them anything with cheese -- especially the melty kind. Nice job on your party stuff!

  13. Wow you win the dare- you actually tried the Beef Fizz- I'm just takng my hat off to you for that one ;)
    But I do love your playlist and may I have another Dacquiri? Mmmm!

    In my book you haven't lost your food cred BTW
    Hope to see ya soon at another fab Blog Party!

  14. My goodness, your offerings have got me quite scared! I am delighted that someone had the imagination to think these things up though (and that you were brave enough to try them!) Five hours per day preparing food though??? Thank heaven for the good old people at Campbells

  15. Isla--don't rush out to try it!

    Jenn--Thanks! I feel brave!

    J, Kellypea, Gabi and Lysy--it was a fun bash! Hope to see you at the next one (with no Beef Fizzes!)

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  17. Wow! I don't eat meat but I LOVE the idea of a cheese dunk, and I've always been a big fan of daquris.


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