Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Age Of Tang

We recently had the annual Super Bowl function at our house, once again, on Super Bowl Sunday. This year, as an added attraction, we featured a showing of “The Ice Bowl”, a DVD of the famous game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys in December 1967. They don’t even allow human beings to play in 18 degrees below freezing weather anymore. It’s considered inhumane. Ah, the good’ ol days, when men were men......and really stupid! It was so cold, the ref’s lip’s froze to their whistles!.......and in removing the whistles, their lips were badly cut and bleeding, resulting in a sort of a “blood pop” hanging from their lips!

But speaking of “the good ‘ol days”, we also had a retro food theme this year. All participants who brought food were to bring something tacky from their childhood, like, say, some casserole your Mom made using Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. But the theme twist was.......you have to be able to admit that you actually like it!!!!

So I made Cool Whip Trifle, which I will readily admit I LOVE and the rest of the menu ended up looking like this:

*A bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, original recipe
*Green Bean Casserole (canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, topped with a can of “french fried onions”)
*California Onion Dip (made with Lipton’s) and Ruffles Chips
*Celery stalks stuffed with Kraft Old English cheese in a jar and cream cheese
*Li’l Smokies (this year served in the football shaped crock pot)
*Sloppy Joes made with Campbell’s Tomato Soup as an ingredient
*Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes
*Cucumber Lime Jello Salad (shredded cukes, lime jello, mayo)

And last, but not least, one of our guests, whose family ate rice, homemade soup and a whole fish everyday as he was growing up, brought a “fast version” of the rice, soup and fish fare, which he, not so secretly, is still fond of. Apparently, when too busy to cook a whole fish, then rice, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, and a can of sardines will do the trick. Remember, you have to be able to say you like it!!!! Well, I tried it, and since I love sardines, I admit I thought it was good. But a couple of our younger guests, as Marie noticed, “cut a wide berth around that side of the table by the sardines and soup”.

All this got us talking about the years, when those of us over 50 were kids, and our Moms (not our Dads!) were the most modern of women, preparing dinners from cans and boxes, in record time. Marie eloquently referred to that era as “The Age of Tang”, and as usual, I have stolen her words. And after whipping up her delicious 3 ingredient special Jello salad, which calls for lime Jello, cucumbers and mayonnaise, Marie speculated that, when we think of the housewife role back then, we usually think of the stay home housewife as overworked. And certainly it’s true that being in charge of all the things it takes to run a household can be taxing, in every era. But the food fare that was being offered up to consumers for the first time in those days, can-o-soup entrees, various “helper” foods like boxed mac’n cheese, TV dinners and the like, created a sea change for the housewife, to the easier side of things. Unfortunately, and some may beg to differ with me on this, the fast food items being dreamed up in the test kitchens of America were, for the most part, sorely lacking. But when I was diggin’ into that Sloppy Joe, made with tomato soup and hamburger, on a nice soft white Wonderbread bun, at our Super Bowl party, I was in heaven. That dish scores big time with me.

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