I guess this was before the Michelin Guide covered San Francisco

Last weekend Ted and I went through a few bookshelves at home in an attempt to lighten the load and get rid of books we’ll never read again. The easiest place to start was the cookbooks.

I came across one called “San Francisco a la Carte,” published by the Junior League of San Francisco in 1979. It bills itself as “An award-winning collection of over 500 recipes reflecting the culinary diversity of the Golden State City.” Keep in mind, the Bay Area is known to be a mecca for innovative, truly excellent food, and as far as I know, that was also true in the ’70s. Apparently none of that excellence made its way to the Junior League, because here are a few of the gems I came across in the book:

Veal and Water Chestnut Casserole (Yes. I’ll wait while you go throw up.) 

Ham Loaf (Starring ham, milk and breadcrumbs.’Nuff said.)

Cable Car Tuna Casserole (Featuring canned tuna, mayonnaise, and the ever-versatile cream of celery soup.)

Parsley Soup (WTF? 3 cups of parsley with chicken stock, soy sauce, and half-and-half, garnished with — you guessed it! — more parsley.)

And this may be the worst idea I’ve ever heard: Banana Rumaki. I can’t resist including the actual recipe.

Bananas = good. Bacon = good. Curry = good. All 3 together = food poisoning. 

You start by boiling the bacon…wait, what? Who BOILS bacon? And for the love of all that is holy, who takes watery, half-cooked bacon, wraps it around green bananas, and shakes curry powder on it? The same brilliant hostesses of the Junior League who also propose that you delight your guests with this treat: 

Attractive to whom? Maybe if “that small group” has come straight from the cannabis farm…

There’s really not much wrong with the title. “Stuffed Gouda?” Okay, I can get behind that. Good plan. The problem here seems to be in the execution. Admittedly, the ingredient list is rather straightforward, and doesn’t require a lot of forethought. It’s possible I just might have this stuff in my house when unexpected visitors swing by. (Well, sherry, anyway.) But any recipe that instructs me to “pile the cheese back into its shell” does not sound like something I want to make for people I actually like. So if you stop by our house one night and I offer you a fluffy, boozy, processed cheese ball, you may want to consider texting first. 

Stay tuned for the next installment, featuring “Carob and Honey Pie,” and “Borscht Jelly Salad.” Maybe we should have a dinner party of dishes made exclusively from this book, and see who our real friends are. 🙂 

3 Replies to “I guess this was before the Michelin Guide covered San Francisco”

  1. Anything with dungeness crab, lima beans, and pineapple together? I’m feeling “Iron Chef” inspiration here!

  2. Sounds more like a church cookbook from the midwest than the junior league of San Francisco! Funny, nonetheless, especially with your execution-I mean that literally, the execution!

  3. God, these dishes sound fabulous. We probably made some of them in the ’70’s. To hell with fancy Michelin food!

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