Monday, May 9, 2011


"Believe It Or Not" Salad and Other Dishes From the 1933 Congressional Cook Book

Here, let me make you something delicious.

The backstory (or just skip down to the recipes):

Some recipes are confusing:

Some are helpful:

Some are strangely appealing:

Some are from Edith Roosevelt, the president's second wife:

Some come with poems:

Some have great names:

Don't bring a knife to a porch affair:

We're expected to start shrinking at 60:

And, my favorite:

Believe it:

[Thanks, Eric!]

48 Comments / Post A Comment

raised amongst catalogs

Yum-Yum Gems would be a fantastic stage name for a stripper.

young preeezy

@vanillawaif +100

one cow.

i was super pleased to see that my weight fell just below where the chart placed me! then i realized i was looking at the men's chart. :( ye olde ladies be dainty!

raised amongst catalogs

@one cow. And be no taller than five feet, ten inches.


@one cow. I had the exact same experience!

Sydney C

@one cow. Same!

one cow.

@vanillawaif and drop dead at 65 while the menfolk live on.

raised amongst catalogs

@one cow But what will they have to live for without women to make them such imaginative foods?


@vanillawaif WHO WILL TAKE THE CARDS???


@one cow. Haha, I did that too!

raised amongst catalogs

@madamvonsassypants !!!!!!!!!!


No, I don't believe it.


135? Yeah, when I was in the eighth grade, MAYBE.

Quick Brown Fox

I definitely need to find more recipes that include a step to "milk the cow into the liquor."


@Quick Brown Fox: Also a useful tactic when looking for a date.


@Quick Brown Fox Was coming here to comment on same thing. How great is that as a recipe step?!


I wonder which is actually worse for you: eating bacon or eating bananas doused with carcinogenic red dye?


I have a congressional cookbook from the 90s—there are so many jello salads!

Matt Langer

"(Figures allow for average clothing. Deduct 4% for net weight.)"

4%! I will never again bother disrobing before stepping on the scale now that I know what I can get away with. "Oh that's much too high! Let me just take off a quick 4% to account for [this suit of armor/these rollerskates/my fourteen Olympic gold medals I wear everywhere]."


@Matt Langer

It made me think of an aunt who used to say "subtract 10 lbs for clothes" whenever anyone discussed weight -- and at any time of year, as if anything short of steel-toed boots and a full-length insulated wool coat could add that much.


@City_Dater: I have a suede coat that *might* weigh 10 lbs, perhaps I should wear it to every doctor's appt, even in July.


i collect old weird recipe booklets. i love this article and i love believe it or not salad. just today i bought a booklet of bundt pan recipes featuring the ominous sausage cake.

Quick Brown Fox

@itsureiswindy My beloved local butcher, Stumpy's Country Meats (which sadly just closed!), sold kielbasa loaf. Like they made a bunch of kielbasa mix, but instead of putting it in casings, they put it in a regular ole loaf pan. I know it's not really any more gross than a kielbasa link, but I just couldn't.


@Quick Brown Fox That just sounds like super tasty meat loaf.


I have an awesome 1949 copy of Esquire's Handbook for Hosts that has some doozies of recipes with... boozies.

Love stuff like this, although I debate cooking with sour milk.



In baking, it's pretty common -- adding a little lemon juice or vinegar to whole milk makes what is usually considered a "buttermilk substitute" for such purposes. This was probably true in 1933 as well.


So does anyone know if the bacon-in-milk trick works? I have never heard of this, but am intrigued.


@formergr I never understand it when people want bacon not to be crispy.


@formergr I was wondering the exact same thing.


All I thought of was this:
"Believe it or not, George isn't at home.
Please leave a message at the beep.
I must be out or I'd pick up the phone.
Where could I be?
Believe it or not, I'm not home."


@Perham And now it's stuck in my head. Thank you.


They still publish these things, and they're still absurd! http://www.virtualcities.com/ons/id/gov/idgvlc10.htm


Can someone please make Egg Lemonade? I'm very curious...just not curious enough to actually eat a raw egg. : )

Nick Douglas

@totallyunoriginal Done!


Wonder how much it costs to "have the butcher bone a fresh ham."


Um if by "bacon and eggs" you mean "deranged alien frog face," Mrs. John A. Martin.

Nick Douglas

I made the egg lemonade. It's pretty tasty and normal! I shot a video to prove it.


@Nick Douglas Haha! That was great! Love the reaction.

Nick Douglas

@adriana I think I'm gonna try it again some time with a clementine.


@Nick Douglas Okay now I'm reaaaaally curious about this stuff! Great reaction, btw.


@Nick Douglas My hero!


The egg lemonade is a proper virgin whiskey sour. Awesome.


I'm reaaaaally curious about this stuff! Great reaction, btobat kolesterol


I have bookmarked all your blogs, and always check in for new blog. I am your big fan.. subject you have taken was very interesting and it really made a great impact on my writings. I always learn new things from your writing.ibcbet

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