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70s Dinner Party recalls the glory days when cookbooks were fucking horrorshows
08:27 am


70s Dinner Party
70s Dinner Party recalls the glory days when cookbooks were fucking horrorshows

The appallingly unappetizing dishes and photography of 50s-70s cookbooks have been choice fodder for mockery for a long time, and it’s easy to see why. The unreal colors produced by the era’s photographic and printing technologies do nothing to help the repellent appearance of mystery meats and bizarre assemblages in aspic. I even keep a few old school cookbooks around solely for the photos—I doubt I’ll ever actually cook too many of these things, as almost everything pictured resembles the symptoms of loathsome diseases, and no recipe with “delight” or “surprise” in its name has ever lived up to its billing. Here are a few exemplary images from my copy of the 1961 edition of Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook (and looking at the asking prices for that book: thank you, mom, for never throwing that away). Unappetizing though these are—I don’t love ham salad, but I also don’t think it’s supposed to put one in mind of an Eldritch Abomination—they’re tame compared to what’s to come below.




Journalist James Lileks has made plenty of hay on this sort of stuff—he’s long curated an online “Gallery of Regrettable Food,” which spawned an AWESOME eponymous book and the related follow-up Gastroanomalies. But this is 2016, and dead trees are for olds. You need ghastly food photography blasted to your phone! So allow me to recommend 70s Dinner Party on Twitter.

Anna Pallai was brought up on 1970s stalwarts of stuffed peppers, meatloaf and platters of slightly greying hardboiled eggs. When she rediscovered her mother’s grease-stained 70s cookbooks, she knew she needed to share them with the world, and so the hit Twitter account @70s_Party was born.

70s Dinner Party mines familiar territory, and if you find this stuff as goddamn hilarious as I do, it’s quality grist for that mill. It also appears in Tumblr form, and unsurprisingly, there’s a book. Just released last month, it’s earned high praise from both The Guardian and The Spectator. Here’s a selection of posts.











Hat tip to Beth P for this find!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Vegan cookbooks inspired by Nick Cave and Morrissey
Salvador Dali’s cookbook is every bit as insane as you would expect it to be

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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