The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Just in Time for the Finale! #review #giveaway

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a Mad Men fan for years. As difficult of a time as the 1960s (and now ’70s) were, Mad Men has always made this decade seem so sexy and cool. I’ve had a long time love affair with mid-century decor and watching Mad Men is like TV porn for me.  The costumes are so specific and structured, the sets are so stylistic and unique, and although the food of the ’60s isn’t featured on the show as much (outside of alcohol, so, so much alcohol), the food of the ’60s was also very interesting.

When I find a cookbook from this era, I get really excited. The colorful, yet desaturated photography of the time made the food look almost plastic, and in some cases unappetizing, but I still feel a sort of whimsy when I see the recipes from so long ago.

One book that captures both the recipes of the time and the show Mad Men is The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin. This book delves into the food and drink that appears on the show. Featuring recipes from some of the restaurants and bars mentioned on Mad Men, and cookbooks of the time, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook gives us a nice sample of of the cocktails, entrees, and desserts of the ’60s. Many of the recipes are paired with a show reference, history of the dish, or a suggestion for a character from the show. This is a cookbook that informs you of the past while teaching you the recipes. I love that!

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While there is a lovely section of full-color pictures from some select recipes, this cookbook is more focused on print information than photographs of the final products. What that means is the book is packed with more than 70 recipes that represent mid-century eating and drinking and the stories that go with them. Speaking of drinking, over 25 of those recipes are cocktails alone, which isn’t a surprise when you consider alcohol is one of the most consistently prevalent things on Mad Men.

One of the recipes I tried from the cookbook was the Manhattan. I love Old Fashioned cocktails, just as Don Draper does, but since I’ve had those before, I decided to try the Manhattan. It’s a similar cocktail, using whiskey and bitters, but with less ingredients and not nearly as sweet.

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 Manhattan

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Pour whiskey, vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

**recipe reprinted with permission


This version of the cocktail is from the Oak Bar on Central Park South in New York where Don and Roger Sterling stop for an after-work drink in season 1 episode 7.  One thing that makes this cookbook unique, especially for a Mad Men fan, is that it points you to the episode that the drink or dish appeared, or could have appeared, in the show.

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Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad {Recipe}

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IMG_3566Skeetie Salad is a fruit salad that’s been in my family for years. My family renamed it Skeetie Salad after my uncle Scott, because as a child he loved to make and eat it so much. (Skeetie was his childhood nickname).

I made this recently for a ’60s themed cocktail party, along with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It is not hard to make and only uses a few ingredients (although others could be added)

Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 28 oz canned pineapple tidbits (I used one 20 oz and one 8 oz can)
  • handful of maraschino cherries
  • 2 - 11 oz cans of mandarin oranges
  • 6 bananas
  • half of a 10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows (about 2-3 cups)
  • Approx. 1/3 cup mayonaise (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Strain the pineapple and mandarin orange juice into a bowl. Drain as much liquid off of the fruit as you can and put into a large separate bowl.
  2. Dump mini marshmallows into the juice and allow to soak while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. In the bowl with the pineapple and oranges, add cherries and sliced bananas.
  4. After marshmallows have soaked up some of the juices, strain the juice and discard, and put the marshmallows in with the fruit.
  5. Add the mayonaise and mix it all together.

Notes

This salad often tastes even better the next day, although slightly mushier. The mayo measurement is approximate because we never really measured it before.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/skeetie-salad-a-k-a-fruit-salad/

 

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake {Recipe}

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I went to a ’60s themed cocktail party last week and wanted to bring something of the era as a treat, so I scoured my mom’s recipe box and found my grandma’s recipe for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake that seemed perfect. I love how it turned out.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • Large can of sliced pineapple (save the juice)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • For the cake:
  • 2 eggs (separate the yolk from the whites and put both aside)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose flour and it worked just fine)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until completely mixed together and caramelized. Don't let it burn.
  3. Pour into an 8" cake pan, making sure to coat the whole bottom.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices in the bottom of the cake pan on top of the caramel mixture. I put one in the middle and six around it.
  5. Place halved cherries inside and in between the pineapple slices.
  6. Beat egg yolks until very thick.
  7. Gradually add sugar to yolks and continue beating.
  8. Boil pineapple juice in a small sauce pan and add to egg/sugar mixture. Combine well.
  9. Then add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet mixture; mix until smooth.
  10. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes, checking it every so often.***
  12. It should be done once a toothpick comes out clean or almost clean.

Notes

***Notes on baking time

The recipe I used somehow forgot to put how long to cook the cake on it. At 325*F, mine took 50-55 minutes to completely cook. Since it was taking so long, I ended up changing the temperature to 350*F for the last few minutes. My experience may be different from yours, so check on the cake occasionally to make sure you don't over bake it.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe/

Here’s some other great photos from the cocktail party:

 

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