Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weird Food - Can't. Look. Away.

Presenting Home Deconomics aka HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge), maker of a line of retro 'ugly food' cards:  a hilarious, and stomach-churning, ode to the questionable North American mid-century culinary arts.

Call it a morbid fascination - you want to look away but just can't!

How sweet! They do say the road to a man's heart is through his stomach, you know...provided it doesn't take a wrong turn.

I love this! When you need a card that says "It might be not all that great, and a little frightening, but we know how hard you worked on it!"

Thinking of You
A great example of the gelatin trend!: the art of suspending every kind of food stuffs in various Jello-esque substances. These were considered 'salads'...

My favorite sentiment of the collection. Hopefully it wasn't an intestinal parasite!
Best of all, the cards include, when available, recipes or caption in case, you know, you get hungry and want to know what the frak it's made of:)

These remind me of some of the questionable cookbook titles I've seen at the used book store and I couldn't resist searching online for some strange titles. Get a load of these:

500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers, Encyclopedia of Cooking 1952
The Can Opener Cookbook, MacFadden, 1967
Recipes that Pep-Up Meals with Wise(c) Potato Chips, presumably Wise(c) Potato Chips, 1957
Make it with Margarine, unknown
Canned Meat Magic, Home Economics Test Kitchen, unknown
Gel Cookery Recipe Book, Knox Gelatin, 1957
That amazing ingredient: Mayonnaise!, C P C International Inc, 1981

and my favorite:

Isn't she adorable?!

The above picture was found in the Vintage Cookbooks Pool on Flickr where I spent an obscene amount of time browsing, part of which encompassed lunchtime. It's really worth a look, especially for the comments! Here are some more highlights:

 oh wow, look at you...

Oh please tell me it's strawberry jello!
oh...oh hell no....

S'cuse me, Pepto time!


  1. Oh my goodness, I think you might like ugly food as much as I do! And it looks like you found one of my favorite Flickr groups too :) So glad you like the cards. I have so much fun making them! As long as I eat BEFORE making them :P

  2. lol - i was thinking wouldn't it be hilarious to have a party filled with these foods? With enough booze it might actually become edible!

  3. Canned Meat Magic??!!! Just the thought of that Cold Mousse Ham cake seems to kind of trigger my gag reflex. It all just seems like you are handling the foo waaay too much.

  4. It's difficult for us to understand today with the emphasis on organic, raw or unprocessed food but at the time technology was seen as something that was going to solve all our problems. from wiki: "In the 20th century, World War II, the space race and the rising consumer society in developed countries (including the United States) contributed to the growth of food processing(...)" It was a theme present in all aspects of society. But after events like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the growing awareness of the impact on the environment, the idea of technology as inherently good started a downward spiral. Today we're at the other extreme: it's fashionable to buy 'green' and 'organic' so you see advertisers using words like 'natural' and 'eco-friendly' ironically placed on products packaged in disposable plastic bottles whose success depends on being consumed repeatedly. At the time it was all about 'canned' and 'processed': new foods made with technology that promised to save time ('instant' everything), longer shelf-life, etc. Here the wiki page on food processing:

  5. Those are great.... I am so glad the whole trend of puting food into rings and molds has passed... something very disturbing about a meatloaf or pate shaped like a bunt cake.