Crusty salmon shortcakes

On Pinterest this morning, from the website “aspic and other delights (a blog dedicated to gastronomic atrocities of the past – curated by vanessa jane & lyall)”, this Betty Crocker recipe card from fifty years ago:


The name aroused hopes in me of an English muffin or non-sweet waffle or, yes, shortbread (a biscuit in the American sense, a kind of flaky bread) with smoked salmon and a sauce (cream sauce, say a nice lemon dill sauce, or hollandaise). That would have been yummy.

But then there’s the evidence of the photo.

And of course it’s Betty Crocker, a generally alarming sign. In this case, “impromptu party fare” connotes speedy preparation, almost entirely from canned/tinned ingredients or packaged mixes. Though I can’t imagine a party where the concoction in #1 — so drastically far from finger food — would be welcome.

The Betty Crocker recipe cards are favorite targets of snarky appalling-food sites. Where you learn that this one is actually quick to prepare, but tastes distressingly like cat food. The recipe:


The ripe olives and pimientos come in cans or bottles, of course, and the parsley flakes are, sadly, dried, from a jar. (Oh, at least, chop up a little flat parsley, for the taste!) And then the cream of mushroom soup: “Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, the first item in the menu of International Cuisine” (from Monty Python’s travel agent sketch).

The result is unappetizing pastel food, but the photo in #1 has been enlivened by a garnish of green olives, ripe olives, and broccoli. My advice is to enjoy the garnishes and feed the rest to a hungry animal.

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