What were they thinking? How did they eat this bilge? Good questions, but you won’t find them answered here. The Gallery of Regrettable Food is a simple introduction to poorly photographed foodstuffs and horrid recipes from the Golden Age of Salt and Starch.
The author, James Lileks, is a columnist for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Tribune, and this book is based on his website The Institute of Official Cheer. He is a funny, funny man with a skewed perspective no matter what he is talking about. We both love his sensibility.
Another reason we love this book, is our regrettable addiction to those very pamphlets he lampoons, and we own many of those featured in the book. We’ll share those with you in a later post, but this can serve as their introduction.
I’ve scanned just a couple of pages, so you can get a flavor of his writing:
Some of our favorite things about these old pamphlets are the dishes pictured; they can serve as a directory of when pieces may have been produced.
You’ve got to love the 1950’s when “the girls” played bridge but couldn’t consume any calories, while “the guys” got beans and wienies. That picture of the hotdogs and beans almost looks like it came from a sci-fi or horror film, “It came from outer space …” Now can someone please explain to me how anyone could think this was appetizing?
If you have any interest in vintage cooking pamphlets we highly recommend picking up this book; ditto if you enjoy humorous essays about the 1950’s and 60’s.