Mrs. Tyrannocaster is not the author of this post and I am not a nutritionist. She, being neither nameless nor shameless, and certainly not being trained in any arts as old as time, has never served a mob of terror and violence, except maybe when feeding the dogs. But she is a hell of a cook, and like me, she enjoys seeing what Life magazine had to say about food. At times the magazine rises (sinks) to the level of what Igor Stravinsky once referred to as an “unresisting imbecility’ (he was referring to what Disney had done with The Rite Of Spring in Fantasia) and you just have to go for it. They do give you a lot to work with.
So let’s splurge. No, really:
I couldn’t resist the idea of posting the glarpy recipe but I could very easily resist eating it. Maybe, maybe, if the recipe had been made from scratch with good ingredients (and a lot less salt) you could get a reasonable result (though it would seem like a poor use of soup), but, like the rest of you, having eaten enough of this kind of thing made with the stuff people who make recipes from Life magazine normally use, I have to wonder how many might have taken the trouble to do that – answer: zip, that’s my guess. But that’s a cheap shot, you say; nobody expects an ad recipe featuring Campbell’s soup to be any good. Well, you’re right, and that’s part of the problem. But that’s what we’re used to.
Here’s something we are certainly not used to, at least not these days:
Nowdays one box of this would give you more than the RDA of GMO but the AMA, ADA, and the AHA would all be like OMG over it, LOL. Not to mention Pep and Krumbles – wonder what their gimmick was. Sugar, you think?
And as for sugar, I don’t want to give the impression that Sugar Information, Inc. was asleep at the wheel, either. Their continuing series of ads pushing the White Death has been lampooned justly across the interwebs, but it bears repeating:
Does she need an appestat? Does she need a lobotomy? Eat sugar, kill hunger, and get an energy boost; what’s not to like? Now this one really does qualify as an unresisting imbecility. But while Sugar Information, Inc. was pushing sugar as a way to lose weight, there were companies trying to help people gain it. This, we don’t see too much of now. But lookie:
Hold me back! Just look at the difference between those two girls! Where can I get this homogenized emulsion these days, chock-full of calories and other weight-building nutrients? And speaking of nutrients, let’s see how another enterprising company was using them to help you gain weight in Life a few years later.
This one is from 1969, and its whole approach is a lot more sophisticated than the earlier one, but that seems logical. Hell, we are so dumb we can’t even see the approaches they are using now. (“But advertising doesn’t work on ME” really should be some sort of generational epitaph for us.) I would argue that nobody, except a person who is literally emaciated (think concentration camp victims), should simply try to gain weight; what most people want to gain is muscle mass, and it’s not the same thing, obviously. But these ads imply otherwise. And in fact, we know today that gaining weight by eating more doesn’t work as well as you’d think it would, just as losing it by eating less doesn’t work too well; the body’s homeostasis works against both actions to try to maintain the status quo…at least, if you are eating real food and not a low fat/high carb diet. But if you want to gain weight, carb it up, dudes.
Jabba Pizza the Hutt indeed, although at least there you can get some meat with your carbs. And some really lousy cheese, too.
Except for the weight loss and weight gain ads, most of the food-related stuff you see in these old issues of Life is about saving time at the expense of eating well, as though the two are mutually exclusive. I don’t think they are, but what you can not expect is to make the same dishes; you have to fix simpler foods when you need to save time. As I mentioned before, today we have the luxury of stores that will sell us some pretty nice food that is ready to eat, if we can afford to pay for it. But back in the Fifties you could not find that option in a grocery store. You would have to go to a deli (several delis, really, in order to get much variety) or other specialty vendor. And today if you can’t afford to buy at Trader Joe’s or
Libertarian Whole Foods (or there aren’t any where you live) then things are more dicey.
We would all prefer to eat pastured eggs from chickens that eat bugs, most of us would prefer grass-fed beef and lamb (I have read comments from some people who don’t like the taste, which strikes me as truly peculiar, and it makes me wonder what the animals they bought were eating), and while industry is in denial about this, most of us would prefer to know if there are genetically modified elements in our food. We know where we want to go but we don’t always know how to get there. But in the meantime I don’t think too many of us want to eat Kellogg’s Corn Soya Shreds for breakfast!
Here’s what Mrs. Tyrannocaster fixed and ate for her breakfast, not being any more enamored of the dismal sounding shreds than I am:
Bacon, three pastured eggs, left-over leeks & zucchini (and some rather good butter), ditto roasted cabbage, carrots, and a few other vegetables (and oils and spices), and no, those are not beans in the middle, it is natto that I made last week. (Natto is really peculiar and it is definitely an acquired taste. I used the recipe here and it seemed to work fine.)
That’s it for now. Stay young and monstrous. There’s a monster in every kid, just wanting to come out and play.