Serendipity-doo! My copy of "Gastroanomalies" was delivered to my doorstep 20 minutes before Mr. Lileks came on-air. I am a daily visitor to and the proud owner of "The Gallery of Regrettable Food" (which I read straight through in one sitting upon its arrival and nearly hurt myself laughing) and "Interior Desecrations" (ditto). It was a pleasure to hear him on the air again and to read along with his new book.
For years now, author has been collecting old advertisements, photographs, comics, and magazines from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. His website, , is an online archive of ephemera. Lileks calls it the "." A few years ago, he published some of his collection, complemented with his own brand of sardonic commentary, in The Gallery of Regrettable Food. Lileks is back, with a sequel: Gastroanomalies: Questionable Culinary Creations from the Golden Age of American Cookery. It's full of bran, ground meat, aspic, gelatin, and other goodies. What were some of the crazier — and more memorable — dishes you ate in the 1950s? Fish pies? What constituted a casserole back then?
Reading the book's description, I thought it was an actual compilation of bad recipes from the 40s-60s. Instead, this is a narrative(rather mundane at times) with pictures from old cookbooks. I was very disappointed to find there were perhaps only 4 recipes in the entire book. Hardly "bursting with recipes" as Emily Lloyd from the Fairfax Library wrote in her review(Someone obviously did not do their reading assignment) :-P. I was looking forward to seeing what ingredients were in "Baked peppers in Marshmallow Sauce". Someone had to have made the recipe back then, tested it...what made it palatable? Inquiring minds want to know! Unfortunately, this book fails woefully in that regard. Chefs, cooking fanatics, and the epi-curious - save your time and money. Hit the garage sales and look for some old 50s-60s cookbooks/magazines for 50 cents. They may provide more insight than this "Gallery of Regrettable Food" did. Perhaps a different title and an accurate editorial review might have made this dish more palatable. However, if you are looking for some nostalgia for the "good old days", you will most likely find this book amusing.
I have just found a really REALLY funny food site called the Gallery of Regrettable Food. It is a the work of an individual who has found that many of the food books and food advertisements produced during the 50′s and 60′s in the USA are really not all that crash hot at all.
This is not a cookbook. You'll find no tongue-tempting treats within unless, of course, you consider Boiled Cow Elbow with Plaid Sauce to be your idea of a tasty meal. No, The Gallery of Regrettable Food is a public service. Learn to identify these dishes. Learn to regard shivering liver molds with suspicion. Learn why curries are a Communist plot to undermine decent, honest American spices. Learn to heed the advice of stern, fictional nutritionists. If you see any of these dishes, please alert the authorities.