Atomic Age Casserole Redux

Ever heard of an elevator pitch?
It’s supposed to be a short, succinct presentation to somehow convince someone you have something they’d be interested in.
Short enough for an elevator ride.
Succinct enough for them to immediately imagine making millions off your invention, pyramid scheme, pivot plan or book premise.

Here’s mine for the nation’s next bestseller:

“With the current craze for clothes, movies, architecture and decor from the 1950s and 60s, GenX-Y are hungry for the next undiscovered treasure from their parents and grandparents’ era.
What they are really hungry for are casseroles. Casseroles made with cream soups. Ground meat. French Fried onions and canned peas.
They want cookies made with oleo-margarine and evaporated milk. Tortes piled high with Dream Whip or tapioca pudding. They want jello salads chock full of shredded carrots and fruit cocktail. All they need are the recipes.”

Unless you’re riding to the 107th floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago, by this time the elevator would have dinged and your pitch is over,
But the listener would be salivating, and no doubt you are too.

So I’m setting to work on THE definitive recipe compilation. I’ll scour church cookbooks and old Better Homes and Gardens magazines. I’ll take creative new photos in creative ways of “Russian Fluff” made with Cream of Shrimp soup.
I’ll test treasures like Orange Slice Cookies, Lima Bean and Pork Knuckle Casserole and Rink Tum Ditty—a personal favorite based on the name alone.

This is not me. But it is my dad. I like to think Rink Tum Ditty is in one of those pans.

My husband will feast on Baked Bean Sandwiches. Alternated with enriched bread topped by Raisin-Peanut Filling.

Got a favorite retro-classic, vintage-Atomic age, mid-century modern recipe that gets your nostalgic juices flowing? Tell me all about it.

And if you see a cookbook with this concept come out before I get mine written, remember: You saw it here first.


BONUS! SAMPLE RECIPE! A 1950S FAVORITE

Corned Beef Casserole

-6 medium potatoes (‘medium’ confuses me, I need circumference and absolute measurements. E.g.: Small potato—2” around. Medium—4” on center Large—4”x 6” excluding protrusions)
-1 can cream of mushroom soup
-1 tsp. salt
-2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
-1/4 c.cubed American processed cheese (That doesn’t sound like enough. Fill free to use half a cup. Heck, go all the way to a full 8 ounces)
-1 can corned beef, cut up (Do they still package corned beef in cans? And if not, why not?)
-1/2 can milk (love the economy. No bothering with a measuring cup. And the touching faith in a cook’s ability to eyeball ‘half a can.’)
-pepper. At your discretion.

Cook potatoes, cut into cubes, place in casserole dish. Heat remaining ingredients in saucepan. Pour over potatoes and bake 45 minutes in 350º


So what do you think? Does my pitch have a chance with, say, Simon & Schuster?
Let me know if you see one of their acquisitions editors on an elevator.

16 thoughts on “Atomic Age Casserole Redux

  1. Just made grandma Vande Kolk’s rush n fluff . K2 not too crazy about it ( whip cream)
    What did they do with the other half of canned milk? 😳

  2. To make it eminently salable for this age you’ll need to add modifications for: gluten-free, casein-free (eggs/dairy), sugar-free, and for me, paprika-free (which also leaves our Lawrey’s), oh, and maybe reduced-sodium for those having to watch that.

  3. Love this concept! Mainly for nostalgia’s sake–not because I want to eat the stuff we ate back then! We had family favorites but I don’t know if they were unique to us, or unique to those decades. At potlucks today I still sometimes see tuna casseroles topped with crushed crackers, or strawberry Jell-O with bananas. But maybe they are contributed by people who are reliving their 1960s childhood. Speaking of Jell-O . . . I just visited the Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, New York 2 days ago! A blast from the past.

  4. This post reminds me why I never ate anything but pancakes or grilled cheese sandwiches when I was growing up. Ugh. Spam loaf. Cream of (ugh) pea soup. I sat at the table for an hour once, refusing to eat that one. Salmon patties. urrrffff. Sorry, Prude, the writing of it is superb, but this lil’ gal couldn’t tolerate a casserole till she turned 40!

  5. Dear, The Tuesday Prude – I stumbled upon you as I’ve been reflecting on my Calvinette days. Thank you for being here!
    As for food -I can not get over the resurgence of recipes that include cream of mushroom soup! And have you ever seen this book?

    I think I’ve found a friend or two here.

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