What looks like fish-eggs in aged mayo, yet is apparently the single most perfect ingredient for all your five-star, restaurant-quality cuisine? Well, according to this 1938 cookbook and its guide to the finer things-- "Miss Dine-About-Town"-- nothing says true class like Minute Tapioca!
Miss Dine-About-Town is quick to tell us she hasn't made any of these dishes herself-- no, she's just eaten them.
Yep, ol' D-A-T's been mooching off family, friends and hopeful restauranteurs, trying to make it sound like it's her high society job... And not, y'know, that she's just a lonely, aging spinster happy to share a meal with anyone who doesn't have FancyFeast breath or shed.
Of course, given the looks of some of these dishes, I can see where Miss Dine-About-Town would want to disavow any involvement in the culinary side of things. I mean, who could blame her?
I'll show you what I mean.
Here, we see the ladies of the bridge club enjoying a quiet, civilized luncheon. Judging by all the black, I'm guessing this was right after they lost their fifth member, Gladys, in an unfortunate card shuffling accident...
Grand Soups I've MetIf you like cream soup with a new texture, a wonderfully creamy "body," try Minute Tapioca in it.
Yes, of all the soups I ever met, the most memorable were the ones with little nubbins of tapioca floating in 'em. I noticed the soup here is called Duchess Soup, and I had to find out just what sort of tapioca-based soup Royalty was enjoying during the 30s.
Well, apparently, our crowned counterparts like their soup made of milk, butter, minced onion, tapioca and grated American cheese.
I say-- terribly regal, what? Undoubtedly what the Queen herself enjoys along with a nice Spam roll or two.
Then Miss Dine-About-Town busts out some main course ideas...
Croquettes and Patties I can personally recommend
Instead of sad croquettes that have lost their shape, or taste all bready and dry, these are shapely, moist creations-- with no hint of what holds them together!
What holds them together, if not Minute Tapioca, might be a few surgical nips and tucks and a pair of perky silicone implants... what do you think?
Similarly, I find myself concerned about the decoratively-arranged veg surrounding this "Veal Loaf Roast"...
I mean, the alternating slices of tomato and onion on top are slightly odd, but what exactly is going on with these potatoes and carrots on the side?...
What statement are we trying to make here exactly? That the cook's love life is not all she'd hoped?
And why do those carrots seem to be trying to do some sort of Rockette scissor-kick move?
Well, moving on to other, less anatomically-correct vegetables...
Now thanks to Minute Tapioca, you'll never have to endure the tiresome process of making a white sauce to drown your veggies in...
Nope, now you can drown 'em lickety-split with versatile tapioca!
Or perhaps your guests are more into sandwiches... Well, Minute Tapioca holds moisture, but won't make bread soggy. So let's just take a look and see what kind of sandwiches they suggest.
"Nippy Cheese Sandwich Filling," eh? And what puts the nip into it? Let's see here... canned tomatoes with juice and pulp... Minute Tapioca... dry mustard... grated American cheese (perhaps it was nippier back in the 30s)... ground dried beef... and Worcestershire sauce.
Mm-mm!, yep, dried beef, American cheese, mustard and tapioca-- doesn't that sound... um... very... er.... elegant and, um, moist?
Well, before we go today, I thought you all would want to see the booklet's full-color centerfold. And no, it's not Miss Dine-About-Town posing for a cheesecake photo...
In fact, cheesecake doesn't enter into it.
The more I look at this, the more I find myself thinking how this is the dessert equivalent of those fat, mustachioed, scary-hairy actors you find out work as the leading men in adult movies.
I mean, I suspect this two-page spread is supposed to be tantalizing, to make us drool a bit-- but somehow with all the lumps and bumps and fruit sprigged like questionable rashes, it just spoils the appetite.
It's the Carl Hungus of dessert buffets.
Well, that's the end of today's dish!
- If you missed last Wednesday's Treasure Box bounty, click here.
Otherwise, I hope the week ahead treats you sweetly. With no lumps!