Friday, May 26, 2006

The Best of the Worst.

You may remember that a while ago, I announced that I was running a contest for the absolute worst recipes my readership could come up with; the prize to be an autographed copy of Jen Lancaster's Bitter is the New Black.

(Or then again, you may not remember. You might be a stranger in these parts. If so, welcome! I like stranger. And if you're here from Mamarazzi, Hi! That's my entry about Jodie Foster. Please be gentle with me.)

At any rate--I challenged my readers to come up with foul, revolting recipes for the benefit of my other blog, Horrifying Foodstuffs. And I received four, count 'em, four! entries. So here are the winners:

1. Fiddledeedee, for "Green Bean Casserole a la Betty"
This is a variation on the classic Green Bean Casserole as adapted by my beloved mother-in-law. She created this dish on the occasion of her hosting my sister-in-law's soon-to-be in-laws for an evening of culinary adventure and wedding planning.
1) Substitute 2 cups of week-old pork gravy for the mushroom soup. Don't worry if the gravy has separated--this will add to the recipe's complexity;
2) If you are out of frozen green beans, don't bother going to the store; a can or two of green peas should substitute nicely;
3) Likewise, crushed potato chips will stand in nicely for the French fried onion rings;
4) Dust liberally (and I mean bolshi-liberally) with paprika.

2. Vickee for "Veg-All and Lime Jell-o Delight:"
My mother put a can of Veg-All in Lime Jell-o with cottage cheese served on the side. She proudly offered it as not only the main course, but dessert! It is the only time in the History Of Our Family that my father took one bite, put down his fork and proclaimed:

"Children, You Do Not Have to Eat This." We stopped, forks in mid air, and quickly plunked our forks back on our plates. It was beyond disgusting. My father actually retched on the first bite.

We had PBJ's while my mother sulked in the laundry room. We didn't see Jell-o for years.
3. Badger, for Veal-Oyster Loaf:
This is stolen directly from Kathy Casey's Retro Food Fiascos, a copy of which I would be willing to swap you for one of your copies of Jen's book assuming that (a) this recipe isn't disgusting enough to win your contest thingie, and (b) you don't already have a copy. Unless you want another one. Anyhoo:

Veal-Oyster Loaf

1/2 pint oysters, drained, bits of shell removed, finely chopped
1 pound ground veal
1 1/4 cups crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup minced onion
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 egg, beaten
mixture of:
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. monosodium glutamate
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. thyme

Lightly mix together oysters, veal, corn flakes, onion, milk, egg and seasonings. Pack lightly into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours [or until your kitchen smells like something died]. Unmold loaf and serve with Swiss cheese slices. Garnish with a parsley sprig [because presentation counts!]. Serves 6 to 8 [people you really, really don't like].

If that doesn't do the trick, I would be happy to forward recipes for Gingersnap Tongue and Hamburger Melba. Or a Spam Shake (which involves Spam, anchovies, beer and tomato juice, among other things). Or a cake made with Veg-All. Or fudge made with Velveeta.

Or I could just send you one of my Glamour Shots.
And an honorable mention to blackbird, for the following. Which I actually didn't find all that horrifying. But that's because I'm from New England, where bad food abounds.

well, I don't know if this will count..
and I certainly never win anything, but here you are (from the
lexicon of my MIL)

Seafood Dip

1 slab of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, with marks from the vinyl
wrapper still on it
1 pile of crab meat (real or otherwise, usually otherwise)
1 jar of supermarket cocktail sauce

Do not make the cream cheese attractive in any way.
Plop the 'crab meat' on top of it and
pour the jar of cocktail sauce over it all.
This is eaten sliced onto Ritz crackers.

Muenster Toasts

5 slices of muenster cheese
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
5 slices of party pumpernickel bread

Mince the cheese, add the mayo, spread on bread, and BROIL till brown.
Die of heart attack.

This last one is dredged in mystery - or flour, it's hard to tell...

Clam Roll Ups

1 can of minced clams, drained
4 tablespoons of mayo
sprinkling of mystery ingredient no one can remember and she's out of
1 small onion
6 slices of white bread
12 teaspoons of butter

Mince the onion, mix with mayo.
Add mystery ingredient.
Add clams.
Remove crusts from white bread and press bread to within an inch of
it's life, until it is like paper -
this can be done with a rolling pin but is best done with fingers.
Liberally butter both sides of now unrecognizable bread.
Smear clam mixture on bread and roll up.
Secure with tooth picks and bake till golden.
Slice in sections like maki rolls -- but without any of the flair and
panache of Japanese food as this is the staple of a wasp dinner
party, being: white bread, butter, mayo and clam.
So there you have it! Congratulations, ladies. You have done well.

p.s. If you're wondering how I graded the entries--well, first of all, the fact that Fiddledeedee lives right down the street and could come by and TP my house had no bearing on her first place win. No indeed!

No, the judging was weighed according to 1) how non-ironically the food was being served and 2) how much of it was eaten. I'm figuring that anyone who, like Fiddledeedee's mother-in-law, could serve that slop at a dinner party where she's meeting her daughter's fiance's parents is as un-ironic as you can get. And I'll bet the parties in question each managed to choke down a couple of bites, just to be polite. Vickee's recipe scores highly for its sheer revoltingness, plus I truly hate gelatin salads, but only one bite was actually ingested.
Badger's recipe is amazingly revolting, but something tells me that no one in the Badger clan has actually cooked and eaten a single bite of Veal-Oyster Loaf. Also, Badger loses points for plagiarism, which is naughty (then regains them for her original commentary, making the whole thing a wash.) And Blackbird? Well, honestly, I'll bet I've eaten all that stuff before (when I was young and foolish) and probably liked it just fine. After all, I'm a wasp of the white bread variety. Those clam roll ups on squished white bread? That's soul food, baby. Oh! I'll bet the missing ingredient in the clam roll-ups was Beau Monde seasoning. Or Accent.

Blackbird's honorable mention stems from the fact that she bothered to enter in the first place, my awe at her obviously superior taste, and mostly, see these scans? They aren't just mega-cool retro images, they are the front and back cover of a cookbook that the lovely Blackbird gave me as a present when we met for coffee. And bribery counts, people! Especially a really good bribe like Jiffy Cooking. This is the motherlode of horrifying recipes. Seriously, every time I open its pristine pages, my head swims with mingled fear and delight.

So ladies, email me your names and addresses, and I'll forward them to The Governor of Jennsylvania. And a heaping helping of congratulations to you all.

(And if you've read this far, thank you. I'll bet you're glad to see the back of the book ... and the entry.)


  1. - I was on the phone with my MIL when I clicked on this post...
    she's honored, as am I.

  2. Hey, it's not plagiarism if you give credit! Plus you said AND I QUOTE: "It can be either your dirtiest little culinary secret or something you dug up at the Kraft Foods website." So I took a little license there.

    Oh, but I am all honored and shit! For real! I will email you my particulars.

  3. Well...Thanks! I'll let my dad know that the worst dinner of our lives now lives in infamy. And I'll let him tell my mother - or maybe not.

    I'll email you the requested info.

  4. My MIL serves that seafood/cream cheese monstrosity.

    And did you find the recipe that starts," You will never guess what's in this recipe..." I nearly peed myself over that one...

    I need to start reading your blog much more regularly, if only because damn, does my husband's family make some gross recipes. I coulda been a contendah!

  5. hi! here via blackbird, and i just have to say my mother still has that better homes and gardens cookbook. it was part of an infinite series, a la time/life subscription. oh! the memories! oh! the indigestion!

  6. I swear I have eaten that cream cheese whoosie. With wheat thins. Altho' there may have been a sprinkling of onion on it too.

    (shudder) Back in junior high at a sleepover. We probably thought it was fancy 'cause it had shrimp on it.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.