Retro Food For Modern Times – Singers and Swingers – Roberta Ashley (1967): Ladies Night

Last week I mentioned how much I loved the tv show Get Smart.  Thinking back, the main attraction probably wasn’t the humour, the wacky contraptions, the escapades or the resolution where good always triumphed over evil.  The main reason I loved this show was Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon

She was my first inspirational role model.  She was smart, sassy, and gorgeous; she wore great clothes and had fabulous hair.  More importantly, not only was she  a woman forging a career  in a male dominated arena, but she would often get the better of the boys (and look glamorous as she did so).  Plus, she was a secret agent!  What a woman!  I so wanted to be her!

Who am I kidding – I still want to be her!

But, having been very disappointed in the recipe offerings from Don Adams, the worst of which is mentioned in the last post, I was a little wary about looking at the recipe from Barbara Feldon. 

Barbara Feldon's California Triumph Salad 001

No fear needed, this is a super salad recipe.  I have never understood why cauliflower isn’t used raw more often.  I think it has a lovely, nutty flavour.  I also love radishes and cucumber and the other ingredients in this salad.  I happened to have some celery and some cherry tomatoes in the fridge so I threw them into my mix but this would be delightful as is!  I also did not let the ingredients sit in the dressing for half an hour as suggested but dressed the salad and ate it immediately.  The addition of the egg is a nice touch and makes this more of a “meal” than a “side”.

California Triumph Salad Ingredients

California Triumph Salad Ingredients

If you are looking for a salad dressing to have with this, Sybil Burton Christopher’s Salad Dressing  from Singers and Swingers perfectly fits the bill.

She was also quite the female role model. Ms Ashley has this to say:

“When Richard Burton took up with Elizabeth Taylor, everyone felt sorry for Sybil.  But not for long.  She packed up and moved from England to Manhattan, where she was instantly one of the most popular girls in town.  She opened Arthur, a fabulously successful discotheque, and married the lead singer of group she booked into the club”

 Talk about living well being the best revenge!

I made a minor change to this recipe, as I am not a fan of raw garlic in a salad, so I smashed up a clove of garlic and let it sit in the other ingredients for about an hour so the flavour would infuse the mixture but I fished it out before I dressed the salad.

Sybil Burton Christopher's Salad Dressing 001

Sybil's Salad Dressing

Sybil’s Salad Dressing

Salad + Dessing  = Delicious!

Salad + Dessing = Delicious!

Finally, after feeling very virtuous about eating the salad, you can splurge on dessert by making Barbra Streisand’s Instant Coffee Ice Cream.  A word of warning though, the mix tastes overly sweet before freezing.  This is lessened, once it is frozen but you might want to reduce the marshmallow content from the original recipe depending on your sensitivity to sweetness. 

Barbra Streisand's Coffee Ice Cream 001

The pretzels work really well, adding some crunch, some toastiness and some saltiness which further reduces the impact of the sugar.  Given the current predilection for salted everything, Babs may have been displaying some  culinary prescience in this combination!
Not only is she a singer, actor, film producer and director, she’s got some cooking nous as well!!! If I didn’t admire her so much, she’d be kind of irritating!

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand's Instant Coffee Ice Cream

Barbra Streisand’s Instant Coffee Ice Cream

So let’s hear it for this trio of  fabulous women of 1967, not only for their fabulous food offerings but for acting as role models to generations of young women who have been inspired to forge their own careers as hard-working, independent, successful and glamorous women!

I’ll leave you today with a little gem I found on the youttubes of Barbara Feldon singing a song called “99”.  I have been listening to it obsessively all week.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an original video – everything I found was stills or clips from the show.  This does have a good selection of great hair and clothes and also some goofy dancing from my favourite ever Get Smart Episode, the Groovy Guru.


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