New Year’s Buffet, Pig Head Included

December 30, 2017

This menu, from Gourmet’s January 1975 issue, is one of those stunning artifacts that tells you how much things have changed.

For one thing, it’s hard to imagine any mainstream magazine starting a recipe with “halve your butcher halve a pig’s head.”  For another, what contemporary cook would think stuffing Brussels sprouts was a good idea?  This menu also ends with one of the most absurd-looking deserts I’ve ever seen. Every time I look at it I laugh.

The ham crescents, on the other hand, seem like a good idea. And if you use frozen puff pastry, they’re a piece of cake.

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  • Judi Suttles says:

    Oh my. That tangerine concoction
    looks most unappetizing. I won’t say like what.

  • Susan says:

    Same thought on the dessert. The head cheese brings back bad memories of having that as part of our Norwegian Christmas Eve dinner table. Ick. (My parents couldn’t fool me, I knew it wasn’t cheese.)

  • Elizabeth says:

    No matter the recipe complexity or menu content, I love re-reading the old Gourmet columns. My Mother had subscribed for decades; Ruth, you trigger a lifetime of happy memories, thank you & Happy New Year!

  • Matt Mattus says:

    Having just dealt with a letter from an angry vegetarian reader on my blog about head cheese (“having a butcher split either a calf’s head or pigs head’), I can relate. Of Lithuanian descent, my mother would prepare a tradition Holiday dish called Koseliena (Korsh-u-leana). As you must no, not uncommon in most of the Eastern European cultures, I assume that the oldest recipes were made with a pigs head, and remember my mom once obtaining one frozen from a local Hispanic market, but mostly we need to rely upon pigs trotters, split or sliced from the Asian markets here in Worcester, MA. I make it every holiday season, and now able to get a pigs head or backbone from a Vermont organic farm who saves the parts for me as no one wants them (best thing is – they are Berkshire heirloom breed so oh, that flavor!). My older brothers and sister roll their eyes at this dish with its clear cubes of gelatin with bits of meat and sometimes the skin of the pigs feet, but our older neighbors who are Lithuanian look forward to a plate and my younger nephews and nieces who are foodies and fearless, love teasing their parents on how yummy it is – especially served with freshly prepared horseradish, white vinegar are a sprinkling of coarse salt. Sure, it can look like dish-water cubes as my brother calls it, but that’s OK, I keep reminding him that Lobster tastes like poo, too!