Crazy Cold War Recipes

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Given the strong-arm tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, some observers expect a return of the Cold War. If that prediction proves true, maybe the new Cold War will bring back some of the kitschy old recipes below, found in vintage cookbooks. Predictably, they emphasize canned veggies and preserved meats—perfect fare for bomb-shelter dining.

Best casserole: Frankfurter Crown

What can't you do with a hotdog? This recipe card, printed by Curtis Publications in 1973, combines American's favorite encased meat with green beans, potatoes, and bacon in a hot dish. The card suggests you serve it with coleslaw and rhubarb.

3 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
3 cups sliced cooked potatoes
1 cup cooked cut green beans
1 pound frankfurters

Cook everything but the wieners and mix to form a filling. Then dump it into a casserole dish ingeniously lined with vertically stacked frankfurter halves. Serve with a straight face.

Best Chinese recipe that contains nothing Asian whatsoever: Ham Ling Lo

The Cold War spread to Asia at about the same time as American cookbook editors began to feature "ethnic" dishes, including many with Chinese themes. But not all of them were very authentic, as this offering from Good Housekeeping's Casserole Book (1958) shows. Maybe the celery counts as Chinese? But where's the soy sauce, for crying out loud?

2 lb. pared white potatoes
2 12 oz. cans luncheon ham, grated
1 can pineapple slices
5 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup minced green peppers
1 cup sliced celery

Layer ham with veggies, topping with pineapple, in a casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until the smell drives your company screaming from the house.

Best dish for a Tupperware party: Sandwich Loaf

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Not since the "˜70s has it been fashionable to combine mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream in a single dish. Add white bread and you've got the makings for an impressive sandwich-cake on which you can draw faces or special messages with mustard. Serves at least 15 people, not including the dozens who suddenly remember they're not hungry.

4 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped pimentos
1-pound can salmon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 pounds cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
Small can chopped olives
2 tablespoons minced scallions
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoon walnuts
1 loaf white bread, crust removed and cut into five horizontal layers

Combine salmon with mayonnaise, eggs, lemon juice, olives, pimentos, etc. Spread this concoction between the layers of bread as you would a sandwich filling. Finish by "frosting" the outside of the loaf with cream cheese. Slice vertically with a bread knife while suppressing your gag reflex.

Chris Weber is an occasional contributor to mentalfloss.com.

January 4, 2008 - 7:25am
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