Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fisharoni Surprise

It's no secret that I have a deep love for vintage craft magazines. They are glimpses into 20th century American life that you just can't get anywhere else. Lately I have a developed a particular fancy of The Workbasket, for it was not just a craft magazine, but also included gardening and cooking.

The garden section was ever filled with great information about how to store tuberous begonias for re-planting the following spring, and how to prune wisteria so that it will continue to bloom well. But then sometimes it would have a great tidbit like this:

Q. What is the vegetarian diet for venus fly trap plant? -- Mrs. R.G.H., OH
A. As these grow best in living sphagnum moos which decays with fertilizer, give each leaf of fly trap a tiny piece of lean raw beef each week.
(April, 1976, p. 28)

The cooking section relied heavily on recipes sent in from readers, for which they were paid. In 1953, a printed recipe was worth. In 1970, they were still paying $2 for recipes. (They did raise the reward to $5 by 1973 though. Housewives were apparently on to their game.)

While there are lots of good knit and crochet patterns in these volumes, my true enjoyment comes from those $2 recipes. My family and faithful readers will remember my foray into bacon cookies, which came directly from The Workbasket. And upon getting a 1966 issue given to me (thanks, Joy!), I immediately found this gem:

Fisharoni Surprise
1 (1 pound) can salmon, flaked you know, I haven't eaten canned salmon in probably 20 years. I could go get a can to try this out
1 medium can baked beans really? maybe I should rethink this recipe
1 medium size can tomato soup oh hell no
2 cups cooked macaroni thus the "roni" in the title. should I really be surprised?
1 medium size onion, chopped and sauteed in butter
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
salt and pepper to taste

also in that same issue was a recipe for Rosy Ham Loaf, which was a combination of ground ham and ground pork, mixed with tomato soup (of course!) and dry mustard, and topped with pineapple. I think that if I ever made this one, I'd need to serve Rosy Perfection Salad from Weight Watchers as well. (go on, click the link. you won't be worry)

Mr. Deplume has come up with the idea to have a dinner party wherein each guest must bring a dish made from a Workbasket recipe. The dishes must be prepared exactly as written. Everyone I talk to thinks this is a grand idea. I think that I would need to have a lot of pizza in the freezer in case we ended up with a inedible table full of canned soups and frankfurters. Look for your invitation in the mail!