Category Archives: Minced Beef

Retro Food For Modern Times: Free On E #1. I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For…Muffins?

Just so we’re clear?  Free on E is not my memoir of rave and single life in the ’90’s but a new thing  I  thought would be fun – I could cast my eye over some of the cookbooks available for free as ebooks and…you know…do what I do.  Read. Cook.  Mock.  Eat.

And occasionally give a little “Eek” of delight when I find a hidden gem.

And because they’re readily available and free you can read, cook, mock and “Eek” right along with me!

Ice Cream Muffins

Ice Cream Muffins

Anyone actually wanting my memoir of rave life in the ’90’s?  Sorry, that’s a completely different e-book that will be available for purchase in the not too distant.  Just kidding.  Unless anyone would actually pay money for it.  In which case….hit the contact me button immediately.  I’ll start writing….

Anyway, my first venture into “free on e” was “Rapid Recipes for Writers And Other Busy People” By Marsha Ward.

Oh boy.

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha….

To put it nicely, the 31 recipes in here are mostly pretty ordinary.  I was seriously struggling to find one that I wanted to cook.  There’s a lot of ground beef, a lot of canned soup and frozen vegetables.  This is a typical example:

Boss Beef Dish

Make patties of:

2 lbs ground beef

4-5 grated potatoes

1 grated onion

1 tbsp garlic salt

2 eggs.

Brown both sides of patties in skillet.

Add mixture of:

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 cans water

1 lb frozen peas.

Simmer until warmed through.

Blecchhhh….

Then there’s

Garlic Baked Potatoes:

Cut a small triangle out of each potato; add 1/2 tsp garlic powder and replace triangle.  Put a pat of butter on or margarine on potato, wrap in foil then bake in over or on coals in barbecue or campfire.  Salt and pepper maybe added to margarine for extra flavour.

Hmmm…Enjoy that mouthful of burnt garlic powder. Why not just add the garlic powder to the margarine?  Whilst we’re on the subject of garlic powder?  It’s the devil’s work.  Second only to margarine.  Don’t even get me started on that particular rant…

I was just about to agree with the reviewer who said this book wasn’t worth free when I came across the recipe for:

Ice Cream Muffins

1 ½ cup self-raising flour

2 cups soft vanilla ice cream

Mix until dry particles are moist.  Grease muffin tins; bake 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees F.

“No way”  I thought.  “There’s no way that’s going to work.  That’s about the dumbest thing I ever heard”.

So, I made them.

Yeah,  I don’t get how my mind works either.

And…believe it or not, they worked!

Ice Cream Muffins

Ice Cream Muffins

Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t the best muffins I’ve ever eaten but they were recognizably muffins and they were made out of ice cream and flour!  That’s kind of awesome.  And the possibilities are only as limited as the flavours of ice cream available to you.  I didn’t have  vanilla and I wasn’t about to buy some for a recipe that I was sure wasn’t going to work so mine were actually rum and raisin muffins.

Ice Cream Muffins 2

Ice Cream Muffins

This exercise also reminded me that if you ever need a dose of kooky in your life, spend an hour or so reading Amazon reviews.  They’re hilarious!!!  This gem was in the review section for Rapid Recipes for Writers.

Review

Let’s break this baby down shall we?

I’m not a good judge here.  Didn’t stop you from writing a review though, did it!

This is an actual cookbook!   Yeah.  Uh huh.  What did you think it was?  A rubber chicken?

AND a lot of the recipes had MEAT.  Maybe they don’t tell you in NaNoWriMo circles that it’s bad form to start a sentence with “and”*?  Or that it’s kind of annoying when you capitalise RANDOM words.

I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t cook.  So why buy a cookbook then?  Oh, that’s right.  You didn’t realise it was a cookbook (sigh…facepalm).

When you’re reviewing a book, it might also be useful to tell people more about the book than yourself**.   I believe all we learned about “Rapid Recipes for Writers ” was that it was an actual cookbook!  That contained MEAT.

What do I know though?  Five out of seven people found that review helpful.  Which only serves to confirm my belief that five out of seven people are idiots.  Which I guess dear, smart, funny, cute, discerning reader leaves you and me!

We’ll head back to Vietnam next week….

Bye for now.

Signature 1*For the pedants, I’m perfectly aware I started at least 3 sentences with “and” in this post. Please refer to sentence 3 in **below.

** For the most part people reading Amazon reviews are not remotely interested in what you eat or anything else about you.  If you are that self-obsessed, maybe you should try blogging. The added benefit of which is, that when it’s your blog, you can start sentences with whatever the hell you want.

Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

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Retro Food For Modern Times: Singers and Swingers In The Kitchen – Roberta Ashley (1967) – Franks, Mince and A Saucer of Milk!

Whilst I love all old cookbooks, there is a special place in my heart for the celebrity cookbook and finding Roberta Ashley’s “Singers and Swingers In The Kitchen” was like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

Subtitled

“The Scene Makers Cookbook Dozens of Nutty Turned On Easy-To-Prepare Recipes From The Grooviest Gourmets Happening” 

Singers and Swingers is a collection of recipes from The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Leonard Nimoy, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minelli and other icons of the ’60’s  “that will keep you grooving with the greatest.”

Life really does not get much better than this!

Front Cover - Singers and Swingers in the Kitchen

Front Cover – Singers and Swingers in the Kitchen

Back Cover - Singers and Swingers In The Kitchen

Back Cover – Singers and Swingers In The Kitchen

As teenage columnist for This Week Magazine, Ms Ashley often asked bright young things of the day what their favourite foods were.  She advises that many of these dishes were:

“Worked out while they were quietly starving or working in a “pass-the-basket” coffee-house.  That means that most of these dishes can be cooked on allowance type money…or very little bread as they say”

Which just makes me love it more…star studded AND thrifty is one of my favourite combinations!

And for those readers who may be new to the kitchen, or hesitant cooks, Ms Ashley offers the following words of encouragement.

“Give it a try, the recipes are mostly easy ones and remember a year ago, Barbra Streisand couldn’t cook at all”

Adorable!

The recipes in the book are mostly solid, with only the occasional piece of  WTFery  thrown in.  If there is a real problem with the book it is that there is a certain degree of repetition in the recipes.  Of the 68 main recipes in the book, minced meat features in 11.  These include:

3 recipes for Chilli:

  • Chili by Paul Revere
  • Chili Esperanza by The Mamas and The Papas.  They liked to eat this with scrambled eggs…the thought of that makes me gag a little. (Then again, maybe they should have stuck to softer types of foods like chili and scrambled eggs and avoided the types of food that can get stuck in your throat like sandwiches.)
  • Chili for Chums.  This is not name checked but to my mind is actually the best of the lot.

Paul Revere was the lead singer of a band called Paul Revere and the Raiders who liked to dress up in period costume and presumably precede all of their gigs by repeatedly shouting “The British are coming, the British are coming”.

Paul Revere 1967

Paul Revere 1967

Ah, those crazy days of the ’60’s.  I bet he feels a little silly about wearing that costume now….

Then again, maybe not.

Paul Revere 2007

Paul Revere 2007

Returning to the prevalence of ground mince, there are also 3 recipes for Sloppy Joe Type Creations:

  • Sloppy Joe A La Sam The Sham
  • A Jones Delight by Jack Jones
  • Snick Snack Hamburgers by Lesly Gore. Lesly Gore was famous for her song “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To”. She must have self catered because these sound repulsive.
Lesly Gore's Snick Snack Hamburgers

Lesly Gore’s Snick Snack Hamburgers

There is an equally revolting concoction called Robb Stew made by one of the three Robb brothers from the band called….you guessed it…The Robbs…They appeared to operate on the principle that if you can’t be original, be consistently unoriginal.   Surprisingly, all members of this band were not wiped out by food poisoning in 1968 but 3 of them went on to have illustrious careers in the music industry by founding Robb…I mean…Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles.  This studio has produced artists such as The Gogo’s, Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Devo, Public Enemy and Jane’s Addiction to name but a few!  Quite possibly this is truly a case of what doesn’t kill you making you stronger.

Robb Stew

Robb Stew

There are also 4 instances of minced meat with pasta:

  • Carol Lawrence’s Lasagne
  • Noel Harrison’s Bolognese Sauce
  • Paul Anka’s Party Spaghetti
  • The Buckinghams‘ Spaghetti and Meatballs

Whilst their recipe does sound delicious, some of those Buckinghams look a little druggy around the eyes if you ask me!

The Buckinghams

The Buckinghams

Not like these clean living young men from groovy London town!

Rolling Stones 1967

Rolling Stones 1967

Wow! Look at the young Keith Richards in 1967 (middle row on the right).  And look at him now:

Keith Richards 2012

Keith Richards 2012

If you ever needed a reason not to take a bucket load of drugs look no further!

 The Stone’s recipe is one of the six that contain frankfurters as one of the key ingredients.

  • Chili Dog Chili by the aforementioned Paul Revere.  That man sure did love his chilli!
  • Golden Joys
  • Hurry up Casserole
  • Frankfurter Casserole
  • Hot Dogs on The Rocks by the Rolling Stones
  • Frank Pops by The Cyrkle.  I have no idea who The Cyrkle were.  And  if this recipe is anything to go by, I’m not surprised that they have faded into obscurity. Placing battered franks on a stick doesn’t make them more fun, it only adds insult to injury!
The Cyrkle's Frank Pops

The Cyrkle’s Frank Pops

Mind you, the recipe from The Rolling Stones is not up to much either…although…with the right sausage, a proper gourmet one, and proper mash, this could be a perfectly acceptable meal!  It can, can’t it?  Or have I just been married to an Englishman for too many years?

Hot Dogs on The Rocks

Hot Dogs on The Rocks

I love a recipe that comes with its own warning! In case you were wondering

“Mick Jagger invented the potatoes and franks; Charlie Watts added the beans”

There is a tone to some of the entries that suggests there may not have been much love lost between Ms Ashley and some of the celebrities. Here is Ashley’s introduction to Liza Minelli’s recipe for Crepes Suzette:

“Liza Minelli is a little girl who’s come a long way despite a terrible handicap”

The part of me that craves gossip and scandal read on with an overly avid “Wow, really?  What’s she got?”

The so-called terrible handicap?

Famous parents.

Unless they had different meanings for both the word “terrible” and the word “handicap” back in the late ‘60’s that is a nasty thing to say about someone! Poor old Liza doesn’t even get a proper photo, just a teeny thing on the cover!

Carol Lawrence also gets short shrift (even if she does get a very glamorous photo).

Carol Lawrence 001

We are told that Carol is:

“Making a rather nice name for herself in Hollywood; not as a star but as a lasagne-maker”

Ouch! 

Not really how a Tony Award Winning Actor would want to be known!  Mind you, she did go on to write a best-selling cookbook about Italian Cooking so maybe Ashley’s comment is more prescient than catty. 

 You may have noticed whilst reading this that there have been no pictures of food.  That’s because the book doesn’t contain any. This, as with most celebrity cookbooks, is long on celebrity, short on food.  That some of the recipes sound super is a bonus.  That some of them sound absolutely vile will be the subject of the next post.

In the meantime, put some flowers in your hair, light some incense and groove out to some fabulous sounds of the sixties. It’s what I’ll be doing!

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