January 4, 2016
In the early days, Gourmet Magazine had no test kitchens. As I’ve often discovered to my own peril, nobody bothered testing the recipes.
I’ve had some truly spectacular failures. Last week I tried making salt rising bread from the January 1951 issue and it was a terrible flop. As I was looking through the issue with a newly jaundiced eye, I came upon these beauties.
Gastronomie Sans Argent was the magazine’s name for inexpensive recipes. So how, I wondered, could they possibly suggest that someone on a budget hollow out a five pound wheel of imported cheese to use as a serving bowl? Then I took a closer look at this recipe…. and saw a few more problems. You’d be crazy to try this.
Then there’s this gem, which was obviously suggested by someone who’d never actually made it. Be my guest.
And finally, an early recipe for what we now call nachos. Nachos, it turns out, were invented in Mexico for American soldiers in 1943 by a man named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya. The Frito folks (this is an ad) also threw in a supremely silly suggestion for serving “guacamole salad”.
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