Retro Food


(illustration courtesy of

Hubby’s work on his mom’s house continues. He cleared the biggest hurdle this afternoon: finding Midcentury Modern pink tiles to match the ones in the bathroom. They’ve been ordered and will be en route in the next couple of days.

Midcentury Modern is the buzz phrase for the homes and decor of the post war era. It’s taken off in recent years as the Boomer demographic grows older and searches to recreate the pleasant parts of what’s seen as a happier time. I don’t know if that will include food, though.

Processed foods have been around since the 1800’s, but the postwar years brought in a new wave of popularity. The magazines of the era featured combinations of food-like products: molded Jell-o salads; indescribable and borderline inedible (to my palate, anyway) processed meat concoctions; and if you wanted to get fancy with dinner, you could open not one but two frozen and pre-sauced vegetables.

Luckily, Julia Child arrived on the scene with Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Between the books and her TV shows, she managed to throw a life preserver to home cooks drowning in the sea of chemical and sugar laden stuff out there.

If someone really wanted to go retro with their cooking, they need to go back to the days before World War II, or perhaps even I. Once you get the chicken in the oven or the roast in the Crock Pot, the sides can be puttered into existence. Steamed green beans with a little olive oil and Parmesan, roasted cauliflower, maybe a salad–was that so hard? Dessert doesn’t have to be anything other than fruit, does it?

Cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. It just has to be done, and can be with the elegance and grace that comes with simplicity.


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