Monday, May 16, 2005

Do the Moon Walk Like the Astronauts

Young Betty Jingo's seventh-grade Social Studies class is doing a unit on The Sixties. As the end of the school year approaches and they close out their curriculum, seriousness in the approach to the subject matter wanes a bit.

Her History teacher, who is far too young to have experienced that decade at anything like first hand, and who shows signs of being quite fuzzy about the chronology -- she seems to labor under the impression that Elvis Presley was quite the Lion in '62 -- has decided they shall have a Sixties Party to celebrate.

She's given the kids the assignment of bringing in Sixties food for the party -- "Ask your parents; they'll know."

Sixties food. Hmm... Bit of a poser. To me, the Sixties was spent in the glory of my mother's stunning cookery -- the memory of her oxtail soups, moussaka, pot roasts, exquisitely herbed roast chicken provoke Homeric drooling even now. And since she's still with us, producing dishes of equal and superior fabulousness, it's not as if 1967 was les Temps Perdues.

I know less discriminating chefs were doing things with hot-dog slices entrapped forever, like mosquitoes in amber, in lurid psychedelic hues of Jell-o and whipped cream, that Fluffernutter debuted somewhere in the middle of that mess, and that cottage cheese enjoyed an inexplicable vogue, but I hardly think it's fair to subject the poor things to any of that.

A vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, sounds scrumptious, but those tiresome Carrie Nations down at the School Board would probably reduce Jingo Acres to flinders with their axes. Best not to poke that particular sleeping dog.

After racking our brains for a bit -- Tang? Swanson Hungry Man Dinners? Campbell's Soup? (Warhol, you know) -- Wonder Woman snapped her fingers. You could see the lightbulb (drawn by R. Crumb) over her head.


Let's see who has a sense of humor, eh?

(I vetoed her idea to put oregano in the batter. Too many bad memories....)


Employee of the Month said...

Space Sticks or whatever they were called, a tootsie roll with less flavor.


Jiffy Pop.


Anonymous said...

Rice Krispies Treats! Whip N' Chill. Tang!

I sure remember those Space Food Sticks. Loved the peanut butter and the chocolate ones.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Screaming Yellow Zonkers.
Good 'n Fruity.
Cool Whip.
Great Shakes.
Carnation Instant Breakfast.
Captain Crunch.
Pop Tarts.

And we're still here...

Kevin Wolf said...

I think you can still find the cereal Quisp around some markets; Quake seesm to have gone underground, so to speak. Or if you lay your hands on a box of Clackers - they'd be just as inedible now as they were then. Now that's authentic 60s!

mim said...

Sixties food was Fifties food. This was before the Revolution at the Table.

I suppose you can always bring the cookies that were around then. Chocolate chip cookies, but please, no white chips. Basic brownies. Oreos. Vienna Fingers.

Drake's Yankee Doodles sustained me through college, so you can bring them. But not Sunny Doodles; they were introduced later.

Hey, if you're bringing Tootsie Rolls with less flavor, why not the real thing? Pinky Lee advertised Tootsie Rolls in the 50's.

mim said...

Some more things:

Chocolate fudge covered graham crackers.
Wise or Lay's potato chips (plain, not flavored)
Chee-tos or Cheez Doodles
Fritos or Dipsy Doodles (but not Doritos or Bravos)
Pretzels of just about any shape
Party mix made with Chex cereal (Wheat, Rice, or Corn, but not Multi-Grain)

Are the kids old enough to appreciate cheese and crackers? If so, there are:

Ritz or Town House crackers
Triscuit (original only)
Cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread
Cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, Gouda, Edam, Bonbel, Swiss Knight cheese
The cheese spreads that come in glass jars.

But if you're having cereal, why not Apple Jacks? They had a kind of vogue in the late 60's.

Remember, the purpose of studying a decade is to understand it, not to caricature it or ridicule it.

XTCfan said...

Too many bad memories? What, Ned, did you get burned too many times?

I think Wonder Woman should throw a bit of catnip in the brownies. Same basic look as what she's going for, plus a better taste. (Oregano and chocolate? Eeuw.)

While you're at it, I suggest sending along some sugar cubes with tiny drips of food coloring on them. Also, maybe some cylindrical sugar candy of different shapes (they would mimic a wide range of consumables), and perhaps some small baggies full of powered sugar...?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Mim is hot, hot, hot.

Anonymous said...

hey mim do you spank?

Anonymous said...

So what do these kids know about it? Hot dishes were the major rage- I guess you call them casseroles now. You know, tuna, mushroom soup, peas, macaroni - that sort of stuff. Big fancy salads with jello and various goodies (marshmallows, walnuts, sliced bananas) were big. Sounds like these kids just stuck to candy and cereal. Typical. Sounds like your mother knew her stuff. How 'bout that??? Anon.

Linkmeister said...

The 7:03 Anonymous is mistaking the 50s for the 60s. Casseroles went out with the LHJ Cookbook; the Joy of Cooking replaced it.

I just remember popcorn by the bucketful, and not the microwave variety, either.

Neddie said...

The other thing we still had in the Sixties was corporal punishment, and some of you AnonyPunks aren't too big to go over my knee!

Don't make me come over there!

Lance Mannion said...

Whatever you do, don't ask Laura Petrie for her recipees. She'll leave out key ingredients, just like she "forgot" to tell her friend Millie about the mustard.

Personally, my favorite 60s dish was Mary Ann's coconut custard pie.

No, wait. My favorite 60s dish was Mary Ann.

Ginger was tasty too.

rameau's nephew said...

fizzies - I liked the rootbeer flavour... and Mconald's became ubiquitous in the sixties... we used to eat there and then go to the trampoline park next door, where the tramps were at ground level over holes in the ground...

and pizza was a novelty in Florissant.

Mr Misty and tenderloin sandwiches at DQ... ah, those were the days.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Apologies to anyone who has never been to St. Louis.

The worst pizza I ever had was in the St. Louis area. They use something called "provel cheese" on it. When I asked, "what is that?" they said, "how can you be Italian and not know? Don't they have 'provel' in NY?"

No. They do not.

I ended up getting Noble Romans and Little Ceasars and Dominoes. All second and third rate. The "pizza" of choice there was "Imo's," but I couldn't choke that down on a bet.

If you want good soft ice cream or custard though, St. Louis is THE PLACE to get it.

rameau's nephew said...

We used to go, on Saturday's in the Sixties, to the Village Inn Pizza Parlor, with long trestle tables and benches and a robotic dixieland one-man-band who (which?) played between short silent films projected on a wall. If there were chain pizzas available, I wasn't aware of them.

It was next to a Dunkin' Donuts, and my brother was allowed to get a dozen to bring in with us, since he hated pizza... rarely were there any left for Sunday morning.

and possibly the best food memory of the sixties... peanut clusters at the candy counter of Sears at Northland Mall. It was next to the hardware and sporting goods, where a life-size cardboard Ted Williams stood next to the fishing tackle. Dad would pick up two or three pounds of fresh chocolate peanut clusters, then to B. Dalton to browse... those were the days.

Peanut clusters are still a favorite, but they don't make 'em like they used to.

res publica said...

Ummm...I was born in 1974, so this is all heresay, but....wasn't rumaki all cool and hip in the 60s? You know, that crowd-pleasing abomination-on-a-toothpick.....