If you want to eat like a 20th century 1960’s family, you’ll now have a chance. “The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook” brings back all those family favorites that you might only have seen on television or the Thanksgiving table.
The title plays off a classic 1963 comedy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and the recipes come from the first half of the decade — think Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and AMC’s current hit “Mad Men.”
Rick Rodgers and Heather Maclean have modified the original to make them healthier. Their recipes have more of an emphasis on making recipes from scratch rather than opening a can of ready-made soup to provide a base for Chicken a la King.
One of the most eye-opening charts is on grocery inflation. “$1 in 1963 had the buying power of $7.10 in 2010.” A 1960’s gallon of milk was $.49 — it’s now $2.79 and up. And who wouldn’t like a 30 cent a gallon of gas verses today’s prices?
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Sixties food favorites include Pupu platters with Crab Rangoon, Coconut shrimp, Spam and Pineapple kebobs, piggies-in-blankets (small hot dogs wrapped in dough), Sloppy Joes (goopy hamburger and vegetables in tomato sauce sandwiched in a toasted bun), candied yams with marshmallow topping (think Thanksgiving for many families) and the absolute 60s classic: tomato gelatin aspic salads decanted from a copper fish mold.
Nostalgia reigns in the “Don’t mess with Mom” Tuna and noodle casserole — an eternal classic using condensed cream of mushroom soup and frozen peas.
If you feel daring you can try Beef Wellington or Lobster Newberg which starts with instructions on how to successfully cook a lobster.
Finish with a dessert like Pineapple Upside-down cake or Grasshopper pie (chocolate crumb crust, crème de menthe, crème de cacao and heavy cream.)
Wash it down with a Martini (vermouth and vodka), White Russian (vodka), a Grasshopper or a Mai Tai (rum, lime, Curacao and more) but make sure you have the right glass for the sipping. They make clear serving sizes were very different in the Sixties.
“If you or your guests try and drink like you think they do on the Sixties-set television show “Mad Men,” your liver will not be amused. Like food portions, drinks have been supersized over the years. Today’s martini glass averages eight to nine ounces; a cocktail glass in the Sixties held about five ounces when filled to overflowing.”
1 quart small strawberries, hulled (or use large strawberries, quartered)
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
Candied violets (available at specialty food stores or online) or fresh mint leaves, for garnish
1) Toss the strawberries with the liqueur in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
2) Just before serving, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a chilled medium bowl until stiff. Mash the ice cream in another medium bowl with a rubber spatula. Stir about ¼ of the whipped cream into the ice cream, then fold in the remainder.
3) Divide half of the strawberries and their juices among 4 chilled glass serving bowls. Top with half of the whipped cream mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Garnish with the candied violets and serve immediately.
“The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook: More than 100 retro recipes for the modern cook”
Rick Rodgers & Heather Maclean
Running Press, Philadelphia
$20, 217 pages
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