27 August 2014

How to Wine Friends and Affluent People

If you are into that throwback 1950's vibe, you can credit a good bit of it to Robert H. Loeb, Jr.  Loeb was the food and drink editor for Esquire magazine in the early 1950s. It was a perfect fit.  Loeb has an ethos that men are better than women and whiskey is better than most men.

While in today's world that might make him sound like the quintessential asshole, you have to admit he was very funny.  He loved for his books to have little text and a lot of pictures.  He wrote several cooks employing a technique of taking rather lofty historical characters, writing a short, first-person bio or (autobiography as they read from the characters point of view) and spinning recipes. Clearly, the recipes have no real connection to the biography, nor are they meant to be indicative of what the person would have eaten.  It is perhaps more indicative of of his supposition that what really matters is appearance and knowing a bit about Cleopatra or Balzac would lead to a favorable impression for those of "wine and affluence."

While these may not be recipes that become staples in your kitchen, for those of you interest in food history, this is a great starting point for how food has changed in the last century.  The rationing and Victory gardens of the war gave way to an almost cavalier view of food. In the many "illustrated" food guides like this one, food is quite literally cartoonish.

Here is a recipe preceded by a bio of Sir Issac Newton.  The recipe is for a dish of canned beets that have been hollowed out and stuffed with a horseradish cream.  Not a bad recipe, but with little to do with Newton.  Here is Beets Isaac:

Beets Isaac

1 #2 can of beets
1 cup heavy cream
4 teaspoons white horseradish
1/8 teaspoon salt

Hollow out each beet.  Whip the cream. Add the salt and horseradish.  Stuff the beets.  Refrigerate. Serve.
If you are looking for a nifty fifties recipe for your Labor Day Man Men binge, this is the ticket.  Make those martinis strong.

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