The Deluded Diva

Retro cooking is welcome diversion


I have become weary of worrying about the debt ceiling and the leak in my bathroom ceiling.

As a diversion, I have become enamored with vintage cookbooks and enjoy reading about how our mothers and grandmothers got a meal on the table.

(Note I say “table.”  I’m wondering how many families still eat at a table on days other than holidays.)

I inherited my grandmother’s 1953 Souvenir Edition of the Better “New Cook Book.”

I was reading it this morning and it brought back memories of my mother slaving over a hot stove for “dinner” which was always served at lunch during the Fifties.

A recipe for “Tuna Jackstraw Casserole” caught my attention because it calls for shoestring potatoes from a can.  Remember those?  I loved them, and wonder if they are still on the market.  Haven’t noticed.

I’m pretty sure Mother made this and put the recipe in her “fancy food” card file.  Here’s the recipe and instructions:

Measure 1 cup shoestring potatoes from a can, reserving some for the topper.  Combine potatoes with one can cream of mushroom soup, one 9-1/4 ounce can of drained tuna, and a 6-ounce can of evaporated milk.

Add one 3-ounce can broiled sliced mushrooms (drained) and 1/4 cup chopped pimiento.  Pour into 1-1/2 quart casserole.  Arrange reserved potato sticks on top and make uncovered 200-25 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Makes 4-6 servings.

And I guess the “Tuna Casserole” was born.

Another interesting recipe, called “15-minute Banquet” incorporates a 12-ounce can of luncheon meat which I interpret to be Spam.  You brown slices in melted butter and add a 11-ounce can of yams.  Spoon 1/3 cup peach preserves over all and heat uncovered until hot and glazed.

I yearn for everything about the 50s, but I’m not sure this is something I miss…

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