Worst... Recipe... Ever?
At a yard sale a few days ago, I picked up a copy of a 40-year old cookbook, CULINARY ARTS INSTITUTE ENCYCLOPEDIC COOKBOOK (1964 edition), thinking it would be interesting to see how it compared to more modern cookbooks.
So, when I flip open the book at random, the very first recipe my eyes alight upon is:
LIVER SAUSAGE BOLOGNA LOAF
I won't print the full recipe (but if you insist, it's reprinted several places online, such as here), but basically you make two ground organ meat pastes, one with bologna & mayonnaise and the other with liver sausage & mayonaisse. Sounds real healthy so far, doesn't it?
But wait! You put down a layer of sliced bread on a baking sheet, spread the bologna mixture on it, top with more bread, spread the liver mixture on that, top with another layer of bread, and then... SPREAD THE ENTIRE "LOAF" WITH BUTTER.
But wait, there's still more. On top of the buttered "loaf", you put alternating slices of yet more bologna and liver sausage. Then bake the entire thing for about 30 minutes.
I don't even want to think about what the fat and cholesterol content of this dish must be. I have the mental image of entire 1960's families keeling over at the dinner table from cardiac arrest.
There's an accompanying photo in the book; I'll see if I can scan it and include it here. Fortunately it's in black & white; I think seeing the finished object in living color would be the stuff of nightmares.
Liver Sausage Bologna Loaf
- - - - -
So how was the rest of the cookbook, after that?
Umm, interesting, in a time capsule kind of way. Very, very few ethnic recipes, and the few I spotted in my skimming and skipping around were generally a)not identified as ethnic, and/or b) Americanized versions. Most of the few "Mexican" recipes call for using green peppers, rather than chiles. And the only "Chinese" dish I could find was Chop Suey, which isn't.
There's a list of calories/serving for many ingredients, but nothing about fat or sodium content. And under "Requirements For Good Nutrition", it includes "Bread and Butter: At every meal."
A list of coffee bean varieties makes no mention of "Arabica".
The section on parties and entertaining seems overly labored and elaborate, even the subsection on "Informal" entertaining.
On the positive side, this is a big book, over 1,000 pages. If it seems dominated by the worst of the "Midwest" cooking style of the 1950s, nonetheless there are some recipes included that sound not only promising, but actually good. (Particularly some of the dessert recipes.)