A few years ago, my sister moved to Portland, Oregon. This move brought her the joys of Voodoo Donuts, Stumptown Coffee and most importantly in terms of this blog, it brought her to the doorstep of world famous used bookstore Powell's. One day while browsing through used cookbooks, a title caught my sister's eye: Favorite Recipes of American Home Economics Teachers: MEATS edition(copyright 1962). If there's one thing my sister knows I love, it's meat, so she purchased the book and gave it to me a few months later as a gift. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.
I started pouring over the pages and was amazed, astounded and sometimes baffled by the recipes inside.
"40 different meatloaf recipes?!"
"What the heck is Swiss Steak?!"
"Why oh why would anyone make a recipe called 'Congealed Chicken Salad'?!"
Like most things in my life, I obsessed over it for a couple days then promptly shelved it only to forget about it for the next three years.
Which brings us to this past Sunday. Sitting with my roommate watching "American Eats" on the History Channel, a segment came on about the history of Jello. The announcer explained that when Jello first came out they marketed it by handing out free recipe booklets to housewives - recipe booklets that included things like "Congealed Chicken Salad." As I gagged over b-roll of ladies serving up gelatinous meat, I was suddenly reminded I owned an entire book of such recipes. One thing led to another, and - Blammo! - here we are, I have decided to write a blog dedicated to the favorite recipes of American home ec. teachers circa 1962. Something like "Julie and Julia" except these recipes would make Julia Child want to stab someone with her Size 11 heels.
I figure many, if not all, of them will be pretty disgusting (hence the title "Home Wreck") but I'm willing to give it a shot. Hell, if it was good enough for my mom, it should be good enough for me. Hopefully this experience will give me (and any readers) a better understanding of where the heck all those recipes our mothers made came from (besides the back of a Campbell's soup can). Consider it applied food archaeology.
So, here goes nothing. I'm hosting my first Home Wreck dinner party on Monday (consider it Home Wreck 101) and I'll be starting with a beef dish. If it's inedible we'll order pizza, laugh, and use my roommate's slingshot to launch the nasty grub into oblivion.