Friday, February 25, 2011

Peanut-Ham Spread: Excruciating, or Delectable?

I collect old cooking pamphlets, and the 1950s appetizer publications are chock full of concoctions that read like a passage from de Sade as rewritten by William Burroughs. Naturally, I'm fascinated to know: are some of these woefully misbegotten ingredient combinations somehow alchemized in the mixing, into something scrumptious?

Case in point, Good Housekeeping's 1958 peanut-ham spread:



Those guests look cheerful enough, as they begin their delicate ravaging of the hors d'oeuvres table, don't they? Nothing seems particularly amiss, does it?

I laid out my ingredients, each individual food item much beloved:



I measured and observed, how the impending mixture might be so insulting to the senses as to induce existential nausea:



I mixed, and looked again. Aesthetically unthinkable:



Attempted to plate it, a heaping dose or two on wheat rounds:



Choked it down with the help of ice-cold Dr. Pepper:



THE VERDICT: If you can get past the texture, the taste is, remarkably, quite inoffensive. The appearance and feel of it are quite another matter. I can only use the adjective: malevolent.

I wouldn't serve this to guests, not even if I were to be transported back in time to the 1950s, when, I believe, enough hard liquor flowed at these events to render visitors helpless before the truth of a dubious repast.

However, luckily the same booklet offers some other options, including this:



p.s. a friend suggested Miracle Whip instead--I think I should have gone with that...

18 comments:

Hunter said...

Was consuming that vile concoction in response to some sort of dare? Blech.

Megan Elias said...

I think you are on to something: the peanuts and ham supplied protein to balance the alcohol. I am so glad you made this as I have seen it many times and wondered and never acted on my curiosity.

Homo Escapeons said...

I cannot even get my head around the concept of peanut-ham but after a few stiff 50's style cocktails I'm sure I'd say "what-the-hell"!

The Unbearable Banishment said...

The deviled ham looks like dog food. I like the illustration of the Happy White People at a party. Men in thin ties. You should whip up a batch of the Surprise Cheese Whip next. How bad can it be?

Ponita in Real Life said...

So if you're like me and have no problem with food textures, it would probably be fine! ;-)

The Blue Ball thing you can keep, though. I can't stand blue cheese OR walnuts.

xl said...

Dr Pepper! Mmmmmm!

tut-tut said...

Have you read Never Eat Your Heart Out, by Judith Moore? in this memoir, there is a passage in which the author serves dog food as pate on crackers to her foodie friends and they rave about it.

63mago said...

The combination of mayo and this terrible peanut-butter is a bit much. Like hering in choco sauce. The small cheese balls sound nice - especially in combination with Salzstangen.

Sausage Fingers said...

Bloody hell - that will give you blue balls after eating it. yeuch

Brian Miller said...

i think i might need something stronger to get that in my mouth...

Pat said...

But you have to remember what we had been eating during WW2. This in comparison would be delectable and soooo glamorous.

Leah said...

Pat, now that is an interesting point there.

MJ said...

Blue Balls...ha!!!

I collect old recipe brochures and etiquette books, amongst other things, so I'm thrilled with your hands-on experiment.

nick said...

I do agree with you about recipes that just look so revolting you don't want to eat the result even if it promises to be finger-lickin' good. Not that ham has passed my lips in 36 years, me being a vegetarian. They say peanut butter goes well with chocolate, though I've never tried it.

Madame DeFarge said...

Is it just me, or did that sound quite tasty? I am regressing to state of 1950s mind. I'll buy a hostess trolley next.

Megan said...

I'd say I can't believe you actually did it, but it's you so I can't say that! Brava!

I'd try it but I don't think I'd like it.

(So nice to see the Hellman's jar, though! WHY it's called "Best Foods" out here I don't know!)

Tess Kincaid said...

Ah, the 50s, when Spam was considered a main course. How did we survive? Blue Balls? Brrr.

Target Parent said...

Hmmm... Putting Blue Balls in one's mouth... I need to ponder that a while.

Ok, done. Sounds like a cure to me! LOL!