Life Food 2: Splurge and Shred

05 Jul


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:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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.



Posted by on July 5, 2014 in Corporations, Health


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “Life Food 2: Splurge and Shred

  1. Mrs. Tyrannocaster

    July 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Mrs. Tyrannocaster here. After reading this I couldn’t rest until I knew what the heck Kellogg’s ‘Pep’ cereal was, so I took a dive into Wikipedia. Pep eaters could stuff themselves silly on whole wheat flakes while listening to the Mutual Radio series “The Adventures of Superman” sponsored by…..Pep! This didn’t keep the brand from getting flattened by arch-rival Wheaties, and it was dead, dead, deadskie by the late1970’s.

    But if you come across a 1945 Pep pin, proffered as a prize in the Pep package, please prance in pleasure because it’s worth plenty.

  2. tyrannocaster

    July 5, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    And now it’s Wheaties’ turn to get flattened; fair is fair. What with all the anti-wheat sentiment the brand is in a tailspin. The WSJ had lots to say but seemed unaware that there is a real move away from wheat in the consumer world; WSJ seems mystified by Wheaties’ poor performance, LOL. However, it did say this: “Once a king of the cereal aisle, the 91-year-old brand is a laggard nowadays, ranking 17th among U.S. cereal brands, according to Euromonitor International. Over several decades, its market share has dropped from the high single digits to barely 1%, said Matthew Hudak, a consumer analyst at Euromonitor International.”

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer grain.

    And yes, folks, that IS Mrs. Tyrannocaster talking. If I’m nice to her maybe she’ll give me some recipes to add to the blog. 🙂

  3. Kenny

    July 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Nice work on the poster. Took me a while to find the original. I’m liking black and white old movies and TV shows more as I age. I remember eating cereal as a kid from those small cardboard boxes that came in variety packs, along with lots of other junk.

    I’ll have to look around more here when I get the time. Looks intriguing so far, plus motivating to me to do my calisthenics and intervals.

    • tyrannocaster

      July 8, 2014 at 4:16 am

      Hi, Kenny, and thanks for taking the time to stop by. I’ve been a huge black and white fan forever, probably because of all the years I spent doing black and white stills as a performing arts photographer – lots of advance PR for theater, so I was always appreciative of the guys who cranked out the great B/W material at the studios like RKO; they had a system in place, much like an assembly line, but while the product sometimes had a sameness about it, it often managed to rise above assembly line standards. Then you’d get something like I Walked With A Zombie, still one of my favorite B/W films. I’ve written about it here.

      Look around, and your comments are always welcome. Thanks for taking the time to respond.


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