Welcome to “Cooking Through the Decades,” a 10-week journey through the 20th century, where you can let our revamped retro recipes take you back through history. Cook along with us for a chance to win cookbooks and an America’s Test Kitchen apron autographed by Bridget Lancaster.
SETTING THE SCENE: THE 1960S
We’re gaining confidence in the kitchen. This decade is about speed and power, and boosting our hubris are the best-selling culinary tomes – Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The Joy of Cooking, the New York Times Cookbook – assuring us that there is no limit to our gastronomic abilities. Food is in the paper every week, on TV, readily available at a myriad of drive-ins and fast food joints, and in cans so prolific that we would surely be prepared for any impending Cold War disaster. We can put a man on the moon, we can make beef bourguignon (thanks, Julia), and if we want to frequent a restaurant that revolves once every hour or serves flaming bacon-wrapped oysters on a sword, by golly we will. But the 1960s are also about youth. The babyboomers are growing up and going to college where they take to the green and advocate wholeness and crunch. We can grow our hair long, march on Washington, refuse to give up our seats. With clashing on three fronts — Flower-Power health food up against commitment to old-world quality à la Julia Child against the reliance on pre-made, canned convenience — a revolution is simmering. But for now, if you are modern and fun and listen to the Beatles, you just might throw a themed dinner party.
THIS WEEK’S RECIPE: CHEESE FONDUE
Sure, we can make a cassoulet, thanks to The French Chef, but what the sophisticate serves at a dinner party, easy and showy at the same time, is fondue. Not only did it carry a coveted jet-set caché, but its DIY nature said elegance with a certain nonchalance… plus it required liquor and fire! How spectacular. In 1962, Craig Claiborne, the arbiter of taste via The New York Times, called the growing taste for fondue “one of the most interesting developments in the field of food within recent years.” Recipes appearing everywhere from Gourmet to Glamour gave detailed backgrounds on this dish, seemingly so exotic that readers required step-by-step instructions: “Each diner is armed with a long-handled fork on which he impales pieces of bread to soak in the fondue.” Danger is our middle name.
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Cook Like It’s 1968! Fondue goes à gogo!
Cook this forward-thinking party meal and send us a picture of you with the dish (or if you’re shy, just the dish is ok too)! Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “1968.” Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and blog or Twitter URL. Also, feel free to include a few lines about your experiences with this dish or decade.
Deadline: Tuesday, August 14 at 8pm E.T.
Two winning entries will will be featured on The Feed next Wednesday. The lucky cooks will win a copy of the Cook’s Country Cookbook and an America’s Test Kitchen apron signed by Bridget Lancaster.
Images from Vintage Ad Browser.