Flapper Salad

406px-joancrawford1crop.jpgThe grapefruit boats recipe over at Retro-Food.com got me thinking about all the vintage dishes that strive to look like other things, ice cream planets and candle salads and of course, grapefruit boats. I delved into one of my favorite promotional cookbooks for the following salad – well, it is sort of a salad.

The Sexton Cook Book came out in 1950 to promote John Sexton & Co. Manufacturing Wholesale Grocers who had been in Chicago ince 1893 and made a range of food products. They particularly served the bulk-cooking crowd. Here are some of their customers, as listed on the title page: Dude Ranches, Fountainettes, Convents, Air Lines, Country Clubs, Drive Inns [sic], Industrial Cafeterias, Infant Homes, Orphanages, Resort Hotels, Sanitoriums, Canteens, Steamship Lines and Tea Rooms. Well, it’s a clever cookbook that can cater to both a Country Club and an Industrial Cafeteria. You can usually tell by the contributor (also listed at the back with their institution) what sort of place you would expect to find the particular dainty dish (or, as in the case of Glandular Stew – I kid you not, it’s on page 242 – not so dainty).

Here’s a nice Flapper Salad, that is supposed to look like, I don’t know, Joan Crawford in Our Dancing Daughters – only just the head. It was contributed by the Head Dietitian at a Michigan hospital.

Flapper Salad (1 serving)Lettuce, Bibb or salad greens…..as needed
Cloves, whole…..as needed
Cherries, maraschino…..as needed
Pink coloring…..as needed
Cheese, American or pimiento…..as needed
Mayonnaise…..as needed

On salad greens place a pear half. Use cloves for eyes and nose, cherries for lips and coloring for cheeks. Run cheese through the food shredder to make attractive curls. Insert into “cherry lips” a white birthday candle for “cigarette.” Garnish with mayonnaise and light the “cigarette” before serving. Note: This is especially attractive to serve on New Year’s Day.

I have got a few questions about this whole business.

1. How am I supposed to make “attactive curls” out of cheese? That hair is going to look more like mine after a day out in the rain with no hat.

2. Where does the mayonnaise go?

3. Do I want to eat something that is smoking a birthday candle as a cigarette?

4. Is this something they served at the hospital, and if so, why?

5. Why is it good for New Year’s Day? Am I missing some festive meta-message in the Flapper Salad? Perhaps she is suppoed to look like a hungover party girl in need of a few good resolutions.

Here’s the first New Year’s resolution: no cigarette-smoking food items. Oh, and please promise not to make Glandular Stew, while we’re at it, either.

Picture of Joan Crawford in 1928 from Wikipedia.

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