April 22, 2009

House of Tater Tots

I don't recall eating very many Tater Tots when I was a child. Perhaps I've just blocked the memory. Or, perhaps my Mom didn't have a copy of the Ore-Ida Generation Gap Gourmet (not dated, 16 pages) recipe booklet. This booklet looks like it may have been published in the 1970s, so it's also possible I was already in charge of my own meal planning, (in which Tater Tots played no part).

This is a cute little die-cut cookbook with the cover in the shape of a house. A good-sized house at that. The booklet cover measures approximately 7 x 11 inches, although the pages inside are only 5-1/2 x 7 inches. It's illustrated inside with the same cute cartoon-type drawings found on the outside. The booklet is subtitled "Ore-Ida's Guide to Foods That Turn Offspring On".

I have eaten my share of frozen french fries, however, and a goodly amount of frozen hash brown potatoes too. But they didn't involve recipes. Insert potatoes in pan of hot oil and fry. Who needs a recipe for that?

An ex-sister-in-law (who could cook decently, if nothing else) used to fix a casserole made with sour cream, cheese and frozen hash browns for family get-togethers. I remember that as being pretty good, although I've not had it since she disappeared from our lives many years ago. It seems she took her recipes right along with my grandmother's quilt when she left.

The front half of the booklet is aimed at providing parents with tips and information on teaching their children to eat right. How this fits in with Ore-Ida frozen potatoes that must be deep fried before serving, I'm not sure. They mysteriously don't mention anything about this.

Remember the post I did some time ago about the Meat Loaf Train? Food in the shape of trains must have been a popular way to win over children who were fussy eaters. This booklet has a train too. A Tater Train. It's made out of Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Browns and ground beef and stewed tomatoes. Unfortunately, there's not a color picture so we can compare the finished Ore-Ida Tater Train to the Worcestershire Sauce Meat Loaf Train.

Here's a potatoe casserole recipe found inside this booklet:


3-1/2 to 4 cups frozen Ore-Ida Cottage Fries
1/2 cup frozen Ore-Ida Chopped Onions
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish. In covered skillet over medium heat (350 degrees), cook Cottage Fries and onions in broth until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. In medium bowl, toss cheese, flour, salt, pepper, dry mustard and cayenne pepper. Arrange half of potato mixture in bottom of baking dish, top with half of cheese mixture; repeat these two layers. Sprinkle with paprika and dot with butter. Bake 35 mintues. Makes 4 servings.

The last page tells some of the different frozen potato products that Ore-Ida was producing when this booklet was published. There were three varieties of Tater Tots--Plain, With Bacon and With Onion). Pixie Crinkles, Golden Crinkles, Dinner Fries, Cottage Fries and Golden Fries. Shoestrings. Potatoes O'Brien, Whole Peeled Potatoes. Shredded Hash Browns. Southern Style Hash Browns. Country Style Dinner Fries.

The selection back then was as overwhelming as it is now.

April 19, 2009

New Trade Association Booklets

I've received several booklets from trade associations in the mail this past week.

This offer from The American Lamb Council says it's for a single booklet called Eating Well with American Lamb. However, when I received my offer in the mail, it actually had five different brochures and booklets in the envelope.

I really liked the spiral bound booklet, For the Love of Lamb, with recipes by Chef Tim Love (also known as the Cowboy Chef). As well as the recipes, it also contained some educational information on lamb. There's also a nod to the local food movement on the front cover and inside -- "American lamb is 10,000 miles fresher".

This recipe for Greek Style Lamb Kabobs is from one of the smaller brochures:

I wrote about the Delmarva Chicken Festival last year. This current free offer for chicken recipes is sponsored by the Delmarva Poultry Industry. Although each offer only lists one recipe brochure, I received three different ones in each envelope. Each one of the four brochures below contain seven to ten recipes. A small brochure called 1998 Winning Recipes (not shown) had recipes from that year's Delmarva Chicken Cooking Contest.

These booklets from the National Pork Board are actually three different offers. These three offers are only a few of many available at their website. I like the design of these booklets with their look of a spiral binding. They also have a little flap on the rear cover so you can make a stand-up recipe book.

This recipe for Apricot-Dijon Pork Salad from the Pocket Guide to Pork Volume #1 looks pretty good in the picture.

As always, these little advertising cookbooks reflect some of the current and popular trends. I'm starting to see more and more of the newer bookets reflecting the Go Green and Eat Local movements.

April 12, 2009

Wilton Easter Circa 1963

I came across this old Wilton's Wonderland of Cake Decorating Supplies 1961-1962 catalog this morning while I was looking for a cookbook with an Easter theme. In light of the fact that I'm supposed to be getting ready to head out the door any minute, I stopped my search right there.

The catalog's all in black and white except for the cover:

If one were looking for ideas for decorating cakes or cookies for Easter this booklet had several items you could order that would fit the bill.

I've never seen any of these little chicks that survived through the years, but if I did, I'd sure want them. I already have lots of little Christmas decorations like these.

The first row shows the Easter "Quickie" Cake Top:

And if you're into baking cookies, there were several Easter themed sets to choose from:

Wish I had time to hunt up the McCall's magazine article that used this Lamb Mold:

Everyone's waiting on me, so I'd better run.

Have a Happy Easter!!

April 04, 2009

On Pistachios

The last time I bought pistachios was just before Christmas when I was making batches of Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti as gifts for friends and neighbors. Then, last week, I was cruising the aisles of the grocery late one afternoon looking for a snack. Wouldn't you know it, I chose pistachios.

Over morning coffee a few days later I read about the pistachio recall in the newspaper. As the story grew, I found out both types of the pistachios I bought were on the recall list. I didn't get sick and not all pistachios everywhere were recalled, but there it is, stuck in my mind forever--Pistachios and Salmonella.

It's stuck there along with spinach and tomatoes and jalapenos and peanut butter and peanuts--the subjects of past recalls, some long over with, but whose memories nevertheless linger in the back of my mind. I'm not likely to soon forget that I avoided Mexican restaurants all of last summer.

Hello food processors and manufacturers--I'm tired of having to dig through my trash looking for discarded packaging to see if your product is the one on the recall list. It seems to be happening way too often.

Hello FDA--I'm tired of being the last to know. Am I going to have to start reading this list first thing every morning?

It's no wonder folks are finding their own gardens, locally grown food and CSAs looking better and better every day.

I followed a link in the original newspaper article to the Western Pistachio Association website (where they are now attempting damage control) and I found an offer for a free recipe booklet. Despite the bad press pistachios were receiving, I somehow still felt the need to request a copy for myself. After all, I didn't plan on eating the brochure. I'd worry about overcoming my newly formed aversion to pistachios later.

I wasn't too surprised when it arrived in my mailbox in record time.

I received America's Favorite Chefs Share 10 Delicious Recipes (not dated, 22 pages) and another brochure explaining how pistachios are a healthy food. From information on the website, I believe these were probably published in late 2008.

I like the little play on words found on the cover: "Go Green with U.S. Pistachios".

There are ten celebrity chef recipes along with lovely photos of each dish. This WPA press release (pdf) tells all about the booklet. Here's a sampling of some of the dishes found inside:

Arugula, "Pickled" Strawberries, Candied Pistachios and Crumbled Bleu Cheese Salad:

Tuna Crudo with Pistachios and Pistachio Oil:

Chicken and Pistachio "Fried Rice" with Fresh Ginger and Chinese Hot Mustard:

The other brochure contained tidbits of nutritional information such as:

  • There are 49 pistachios in one serving.

  • A single serving of pistachios has a comparable amount of potassium to that of a small banana.

  • The amount of fiber in one serving of pistachios is the equivalent of eating about 1/2 cup of broccoli.
The main point of this brochure is to tell us that "Pistachios are a Proven, Cholesterol-Free, Heart-Healthy Snack."

Well, sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren't.