Better Homes and Gardens “So Good With Fruit”, 1967
The other day, I got out this cook book because I was looking for something fun to take to a pot-luck. Not just any pot-luck, mind you, this was my great friend Karen’s Annual Holiday Mid-Century Pot Luck! This pot-luck, and the divine lady hostess, meant Business – Food entries were supposed to have been created from a mid-century cook book, preferably with color photos. And there were prizes awarded for the entries, based on several criteria, including (but not limited to) tastiness! So I couldn’t just bake some random cookies and call it a day. I wasn’t going to be home all day prior to the party, though, and didn’t want to risk a hot or baked dish. I needed something simple, so I (California-raised once-vegetarian that I am) called in the fruit: Cheerful! Festive! Colorful! Healthy! Oh yeah, and Tasty!
May I point out that, for the first few of these parties, I went to Great Lengths to create something that was not only 100% authentic, complete with serving pieces as shown in the photos, but I also picked the most disgusting recipe I could find, and actually spent the money and time to assemble it. Past entries have included a salad dressed with tequila, another salad served in pineapple rings made of ham and mayonnaise, and the worst, and most memorable: shrimp and onions concealed in lime Jell-O! (Yes, actually! Though I did not even eat One Bite of that one.) And these were all published recipes, that we assume at least One person thought good enough to write, and at least One other though good enough to publish! However, with both time and money being tight this year, I wanted something colorful yet edible, and quick.
Several changes had to be made to the recipe as given (below). First, white onions are just gross raw, so I substituted scallions. Second, I didn’t have time to peel tangerines, so I used canned (and drained) mandarin oranges. (Shhh, don’t tell! I know, I should be celebrating fresh California produce! The City of Berkeley will be disowning me for Sure!) And finally, I didn’t use anywhere near 7 cups of lettuce (really, is that how much is in one head of lettuce? How big were heads of lettuce in 1967?) Instead, I laid a few leaves in the bowl and plopped the other ingredients onto them. Who needs lettuce, anyway, when there are mandarin oranges!?! Otherwise, I did make the “croutons” and used Paul Newman’s Light Italian dressing. On the whole, not bad at all! Worthy of a re-make, possibly to include spinach leaves and crumbled gorgonzola next time.
Tangerine Walnut Toss
7 cups torn lettuce (about 1 head) 2 cups tangerine sections ½ mild white onion, sliced and separated in rings 1/3 cup Italian dressing Walnut croutons
Toss lettuce, tangerine sections, and onion rings with Italian dressing. Top with walnut croutons: Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ cup California walnut pieces. Stir till walnuts are crisp and butter-browned. Serves 6 to 8