February 10, 2010Mid-Century Menu – ABC Jiffy Cookery Noodle Hash Casserole and Tomato Pizzas
To the ReaderIf you are working by day And cooking by night, Or your chores you would keep, both easy and light, If you like to eat well But cook in a hurry, If you want to relax Without bother or worry, If you yearn to play bridge Or the weather’s too hot; Or you simply don’t want, To bend over a pot, You’ll find that this book With occasional rhyme Will make cooking pleasant, And help you save time!
So begins the adorable, pocket-sized cookbook The ABC of Jiffy Cookery that was published in 1961 by Peter Pauper Press, which is still in business today publishing journals and gift books.
This particular cookbook is special because, not only does it have fun rhymes in it, but it was sent to me by frequent blog commentor Annie recently. I love it Annie! Thanks so much!
In any case, this is a relatively short book is based on two things; the alphabet and quick cooking. All the recipes are arranged alphabetically by title, and each letter section has a cute, 4 stanza rhyme that accompanies it. There was a lot of interesting things to choose from for the Menu, but I finally narrowed it down to two things:
Noodle and Hash Casserole and Tomato-Cheese Pizza.
We also picked ice cream for dessert, but since the book only gave suggestions for ice cream toppings, I don’t know if that actually counts as a Menu item.
Anyway, here are the recipes we picked:
The Noodle and Hash Casserole was chosen because the idea of potatoes and noodles in the same casserole was intriguing to me. The Pizzas were chosen because English muffin pizzas are very retro, and the anchovies give it the disgusting touch that you can only find in the Mid-Century Menu. And we picked the ice cream because…well…its ice cream!
So let’s get started.
First up – Noodle and Hash Casserole.
And you can’t cook without the rhyme!
Peamilk. Seriously! A mix of the canned pea juice topped off with enough milk to make it 1.5 cups.
Since I make white sauce so much on this blog, I decided to skip ahead to the part where I add the cheese. Oh, and I didn’t have any tabasco on hand, and since it was snowing like mad I had to make do with cayenne pepper.
The finished cheese sauce, which looks pretty good.
Now, the other reason I picked this recipe, besides the noodle/potato thing, is that I got to layer it and add a ring of canned hash around the outside of the casserole. I love to layer. It went noodles, peas, hash, sauce, repeat.
Finished! Like the hash ring? I think it turned out pretty well.
I stuck the casserole in the oven, and while that baked Tom and I worked on the Tomato-Cheese Pizzas.
By this time, Tom was home from work. “Here,” I handed him the camera, “Take pictures of me making these.”
“You take pictures, I wanna make them this time.”
I wasn’t going to argue with that, so here is Tom, making the pizzas!
Toasted English Muffins.
Laying out the first tomato layer.
Putting on the anchovies.
“What do these taste like?’ he asked me, “have you ever eaten one?”
“Nope. I imagine they are pretty gross, though.”
“Ah! Yuck! Don’t!” But it was too late, he was already chewing.
“So salty! Uh! Salt!” His digusted faces were pretty funny, but I didn’t get a good picture. Rats!
After he ran out of faces, it was back to business as usual.
The Rosemary Fairy.
Second layer of tomatoes.
And finally, mozzerella cheese.
“Okay, pop them in the oven!”
Brown and bubbly, and fresh from the oven.
“How are they?”
He shrugged. “Not bad. The anchovies just taste like salt on the pizza.”
I took a bite. The anchovy was strong. I only ate one. Tom ate all the rest.
In the meantime, the Hash Casserole had come out of the oven, all bubbly and browned.
Tom scooped some out, and took the first bite.
“It looks kinda gross,” I said, “what do you think?”
“It’s good.” His mouth was full, so he swallowed and said, “It tastes really unhealthy.”
I took my first bite. It did taste really unhealthy, but it also wasn’t that bad. I could have done without the canned peas, but overall edible.
Tomato-Cheese Pizzas: Straight up anchovies are gross. What more can I say? If I would make this again, I would use fresh basil and oregano instead of rosemary and make a paste with the anchovies and spread that over the english muffin. Taking a bite of anchovy was just too shocking.
Noodle Hash Casserole: Good, but not great. The potatoes and noodles were a little too much, and I hated the canned peas. This would need some fixing up, but I would ditch the noodles and just layer the hash with fresh veggies and pour cheese sauce over the whole thing.
Ice Cream with Animal Cookies: Excellent!