January 18, 2010

Winning Recipes or Winning Advertising?

I was looking for a chili recipe and remembered that I had a copy of 50 Winning Chili Recipes (2002, 108 pp.) on my bookshelf. This cookbook was published by Philip Morris Inc. and was one of the many tobacco premiums that they "gave away" throughout the years. One could obtain the cookbook, or any number of other items, by sending in UPC's from Marlboro brand cigarettes. Someone probably had to smoke about 8,000 packs of cigarettes to get this cookbook.

Seriously, though, Philip Morris never skimped on the quality of the Marlboro items that were offered and this cookbook is a prime example. (There were other cookbook titles published besides this one.)

Although it's only a softcover book with a spiral wire binding, it is a super quality softcover book. It's printed on thick, glossy paper, lies flat and is full of great photography. Oh, the photography! I want to rip out the pages and frame them.

The book's predominant colors are the reds, greens, yellows and oranges of chile peppers, which are, I believe, some of the colors that are also supposed to make you hungry. I don't know if it makes me hungry, but this book is pleasing to touch and to look through. The size is compact, measuring only about 5-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches.

The 50 recipes were chosen from 25,000 entries in the Marlboro Chili Roundup cooking contest. Some of the recipes have really interesting names like Jamaican Me Some More Chili, Grandma's Chili at It's Best, Three Way Burn, Reno Rob's Chili, Georgia Jenny's Cow Friendly Chili and Crazy Horse Chili.

The recipes come from all over the United States, although not every state is represented, and some states have several entries. I was surprised at the number of recipes from the midwest and northeast. Being a Texan, I tend to think of chili as a southwestern thing.

Looking through the book, I forgot all about the recipes and became immersed in the photographs. Books that are as pretty as this is why a Kindle and ebooks will never totally replace my dead tree books.

The theme is a mixture of Western and chile peppers. Look at these boots. Nice!

Look closely. This is a matchbook. If they still even make matchbooks, I'll bet they're not nearly as nice as this one.

This is the recipe for Heaven'n Hell Chocolate Jalapeno Chili. A perfect pepper.

If you'll notice, this buffalo has a string of chile pepper lights wrapped around his head. Did they use a live buffalo for this shot?

This is a recipe for Fiesta Chili. Don't those peppers look gorgeous?

I love the contrast between the crackled paint and the crackled chile pepper skin.

A lovely bouquet with peppers instead of flowers:

Even rusty old license plates are charming.

Got to have neon.


At 7:02 AM CST, Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I love chili recipes - it is fascinating that a cigarette company would be offering a cookbook as a premium, but I suppose they were looking for that "Western" connection?

At 7:48 AM CST, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

What a cool book Kathy. I have a few of those tobacco premiums myself. I have to laugh to myself whenever I pull out those Benson & Hedges books endorsed by Craig Claiborne and James Beard.

I don't have this Chili book. I'll be on the look-out though. I'm all fired up about that Heaven'n Hell Chocolate Jalapeno Chili.

Thanks for sharing, Kathy

At 3:14 AM CST, Blogger Rochelle R. said...

Looks like a very fun book. I believe I have a book by them but not that one. The No Alarm Chili recipe sounds quite good. Do you have any of the Benson & Hedges cookbooks? I have quite a few of those.

At 7:12 AM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

I think you're right T.W. And it's interesting that there is no mention of the product anywhere in the book, save the lettering on the cover which is the same as on the packs of cigarettes and the words Philip Morris Inc. in teeny tiny letters on the bottom edge of the rear cover. Most of the other premiums (all very nice ones) had the word Marlboro prominently displayed somewhere.

Louise, weren't there two or three Benson & Hedges cookbooks? Guess it was acceptable to endorse (in a round-about way) tobacco products back then. I never have gotten it about tobacco advertising. It never did influence me one way or the other so I am always puzzled by the controversy.

Rochelle, off the top of my head I think I have two of them. Never used a recipe out of either one though.

At 5:20 PM CST, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

I'm not sure Kathy. I think there may have been more books part of the Benson & Heges Cookbook Series. I have four sitting on my lap "as we speak."
1.. Benson & Hedges 100s presents 100 of the World's Greatest Recipes by James Beard-1976
2. Benson & Hedges 100s presents 100 of the World's Greatest Recipes by Craig Claiborne -1976
3. Entertaining With Style:Recipes from Great American Restaurants-1980
4. Recipes From America's Favorite Resorts-1985

I don't know why I don't use these books more. They really do have some GREAT recipes. I guess the tobacco companies could "pay" for the cream of the top:) They never influenced me one way or the other. If I had to "blame" someone, it would have to be myself. Personally, I'd take advertising from the golden age over what they pretend to produce now!!!

Thanks Kathy...

At 7:23 AM CST, Anonymous Julie said...

Love those photos and your post!

At 9:39 PM CDT, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

Just popped in to say Hi Kathy. Hope all is well with you and yours...

At 2:03 PM CDT, Blogger ShawnPokerPro said...

i used to have that book and was desperately looking for the recipe for the chili soup. i see you have put up a few of the recipes and i was wondering if there was any way you could put another one up? i cant remember the exact name of it but i know it was a chili soup and it was absolutely phenominal. thx

At 5:36 PM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone happen to know if they ever published a chili cookbook with a recipe by someone named Robin Bowden? I entered the contest back when they had it and took a second place spot, but unfortunately I've since lost my personal copy of the recipe.

At 8:56 PM CDT, Blogger Pastrygirl said...

Today I found the fifth in the Benson and Hedges Series "Recipes From America's Favorite Resorts". I was so jazzed because I thought I had the whole series. These are great recipes from some of the finest old resorts around the country. Does anyone know if there are more in the series.



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