Delicious Bennett’s Fix-A-Drink

These self-explanatory Bennett’s Fix-A-Drink syrups were made in the 1950s and 60s. One of those snippets from Google Books (a 1954 Trade Practice Bulletin) says that Recipe Foods of Baltimore, which made Fix-A-Drink, was charged with “disparagement of competing brands” and “restraining trade.” The image on the right (link at the end) is from a 1955 promotional booklet.

There were 9 flavors of Fix-A-Drink: Pink Lemon, Strawberry, Fruit Punch, Orange, Black Cherry, Lemon-Lime, Grape, Black Raspberry and Root beer.

A 1962 ad I found was offering a 25 cents off coupon – which for 1962 was practically giving the stuff away, most coupons were for a few cents. The ad also mentioned that Bennett’s made chili sauce too which is maybe why they are so keen for everyone to use Fix-A-Drink syrup in everything besides drinks. Yes, be a
magician and put Bennett’s Fix-A-Drink into everything you cook!

I can understand the “cakes, cookies, pies, puddings.” The salads and salad dressings, maybe – maybe fruit salads. I wouldn’t, but I can imagine it. But meats? Vegetables?  Just no, Bennett’s. No and no again.

At the link below, you can see the rest of the Fix-A-Drink booklet, in which meat and vegetables meet their comeuppance with Bennett’s. For example, they suggest you slice “a tin of luncheon meat” and pour some Grape Fix-A-Drink over it and bake it. “Watch the family drool over this feast!” it says. Yeah, I’m sure. Or how about making some sauce for meatloaf with Lemon-Lime Fix-A-Drink? No, thanks. I’d really rather not. You don’t see old ads for Fizzies – I loved Fizzies! – suggesting you make a glass of Root Beer Fizzies (or is that Fizzie, in the singular? no idea) and put it in your next casserole, do you? I thought not.

photo credit: alsis35 (now at ipernity) via photopin cc

The Eleganza Universe

Sure, things happen when you wear Eleganza. But maybe you’d prefer they didn’t.

The sound of muffled snickering, for example, might happen when you stride by in your Dramatic DOUBLE Knit! yellow cardigan. Yeah, the guy in the ad hears something. He just can’t pinpoint what they’re laughing at. Couldn’t be the Burnished Gold tufted acetate sweater with a Durene front panel with attached mock turtleneck, of course.

Yes, this is the Cheater Top’s grandfather, stylin’ it up in – this looks like the late 60s/early 70s to me..

Then there’s the Double Breasted Walking Suit. It’s “California designed,” with its “long collar points” and its “specially processed 100% rayon.” That bright lime color is called “Bavarian Green” – I guess it sounds more eleganza than bright lime. Whether he’s wearing it “with pride and pleasure” I don’t know.

I really wish I could write for the Eleganza catalogue that this page is from, right now. Wouldn’t that be so great, to be able to send away for catalogues and magazine subscriptions from the past? And to order stuff, too. All the vintage items you want, at vintage prices! Really, modern science (or whoever) should get on this.

photo credit: mod as hell via photopin cc

The Toast of Hollywood

Back in the day before we had all kinds of  everything in the way of delicious healthy options like low carb pita bread and breads made of all sorts of things like rice or quinoa, there was Hollywood Diet Bread. Yet another product I remember my mother buying, when I was a kid. I had no idea that it had “eight fresh vegetable flours” in it or what that really means (seriously, flour made of lettuce? of celery? huh?). I remember that it was very thin and had sesame seeds on the outside.

The large ad on your left is from 1964 and the lady in the white Rolls Royce convertible who is eating (rather precariously) on the go is Eleanor Day, the inventor of Hollywood Diet Bread. An inspired name, because it evokes glamor and movie star svelteness and – yes, the idea that maybe you too could ride around in a white Rolls Royce convertible, looking like an attractive model in a fur coat, all the while eating a half grapefruit (I think that’s what she has there, along with coffee and tomato soup).

The little ad on the right is from 1954, and contains the catchy tag line “It’s the Toast of Hollywood!” It was originally called Hollywood Special Formula Bread (or sometimes Hollywood Special Formula LIGHT Bread). A newspaper ad from 1954 describes the special ingredients as being “eight different waterfree vegetable flours” – I guess they mean dehydrated vegetables.

In 1962 the FTC investigated the National Bakers Services company that made the bread, saying that the only reason it was fewer calories than normal bread was because it was sliced very thinly. There were diet booklets and a Diet Control Plan written, ostensibly, by Eleanor Day (though the trademark information suggests that she was, like Betty Crocker, a creation of the manufacturers`imagination). Eleanor naturally thought that your diet plan needed to include her bread at every meal. My mother just made sandwiches with it, though.

Amazing Jellied Cherry Sauce

Domain coupons are just as tasty

I don’t know about you, but we’ve had quite a bit of jellied cranberry sauce around here lately – it’s something that’s always been a part of the holiday meal. We had it at my aunt’s house in the 1970s, every year, along with the turkey, the stuffing, the relish tray before the meal and the box of After Eights following the plum pudding and hard sauce. Anyway, the jellied sauce is a key part of our traditional Christmas meal. Not everyone likes it but those of us who do, like it a lot. I wondered when it first appeared on the market, so of course I went looking through one of my favorite sources for pop culture history: advertisements!

The earliest reference I found to jellied cranberry sauce is in a 1942 ad, which is on your left. I really like those little turkeys; and I also like the turkey cookie cutter you could get from Ocean Spray, too.

But did you know that once upon a time there was jellied cherry sauce as well? I never did, not until recently, when I found an ad for Reddi-Maid Jellied Cherry Sauce.

As far as I can tell it was only manufactured and sold in 1960. This two-page ad tells the “Amazing Story” of how the cherry industry was hunting for a new product idea and “after patient years of testing” and of using only the “plump Michigan Montmorency cherry”* the Jellied Sauce was created. Montmorency cherries are a kind of sour cherry that are excellent for pies and jams. They are grown in France (and are named for the Montmorency valley, there) and in Canada too; in the US they are found mainly in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Modhouse Punch

Yeah, why not mix up a Merry Olde Bowl just the way they used to do it in the Good Old(e) Days – with plenty of Sprite and bright green lime gelatin. It’s the traditional way to celebrate the holidays!

Well, sort of.

Anyway, it is called The Modhouse, doubtless in reference to the truly traditional Fish House Punch (recipe given at the link).

Fish House Punch is made by mixing rum, cognac and peach brandy and pouring these over a block of ice in a punch bowl. The liquors are then diluted with black tea and adorned with lemon slices. It was invented by an 18th century men’s fishing club in Philadelphia, the Schuykill Fishing Company – which was nicknamed, you will not be surprised to hear, the Fish House.

This is the Modhouse recipe, just in case you have the urge to mix up something green and groovy from 1966.   They could have called it Limehouse because of all the limes, but it wouldn’t really work because Limehouse is a neighborhood in the East End of London, and – well, it just wouldn’t work. Modhouse it is, then:

1 6 ounce package lime gelatin
2 cups hot water
1/2 – 1 cup bottled lime juice
2 12 ounce cans frozen limeade concentrate
90 ounces!!! of Sprite (that’s nine 10-ounce bottles, for you mathematicians out there)
1 measly teaspoon almond extract (which will totally get lost in all the neon lime soda chaos)

Dissolve gelatin in hot water.
Stir in the limeade concentrate.
Add the lime juice.
Then to serve it you pour it over a huge tub of cracked ice – oh yeah, you are going to need a whole job lot of cracked ice – and then add the 9 bottles of Sprite. It will make 48 4-ounce servings.

Also if you want it to be even more mod and sparkly you can add a fifth of vodka. I probably would, just as a way of celebrating having put this whole huge thing together.

O Cheesedip Tree

From the estimable LiveJournal Vintage Ads group comes this amazing little party idea that first appeared in 1967. A fairly solid cheese dip is shaped into a cone and then inundated – besieged  - by Bugles corn chips. Also Whistles and Daisies, because these corn chips were so prevalent back then that they came in more than one shape.

Some of them have actually climbed up the sides of the cheese dip tree – these are “candles” made from Whistles with pimento bits hanging out of the tops, to simulate flames. And there are a few Daisies up on the top, surveying their surroundings. They seem to be in a pine forest, near a strange bubbling yellow lake that has orange slices floating on top.

If you wanted a coupon for these things you had to go hunting in the Hostess Holiday Book which was stuck in “special sacks” of Gold Medal Flour. Not just the regular sacks of Gold Medal. They wanted to make sure you really, really intended to Happy Up Your Holidays with a cheese dip tree. Although ideally, if you were going through with it,  you wouldn’t want to overthink it too much.

A Nice Hot Cup of Soda

Well it certainly is “something truly different,” just like this 1969 ad says. But I don’t know how great an idea it is. Because soda is really best when it is cold. Lukewarm soda is all right if you’re really thirsty and don’t have any ice cubes handy.

But hot soda? As in, deliberately heated soda? Was this ever a thing? I don’t think so. But top marks to the Dr. Pepper people for creative ideas. You can just imagine them thinking:

How can we get people to buy this stuff in the middle of winter? How can we make it really – festive, like hot toddy or hot tea. The operative word being….hot! So how about some nice hot – soda? We can even make and sell official Dr. Pepper Hot Soda cups.

As for the snowman – holding that cup  in his hand-made-of-snow just isn’t going to end well. A Hot Idea? Yes. But not a Good Idea.

Over at Retro Recipe Attempts, Erica bravely went ahead and tried making this. It was not delicious, as you will see if you go over there.

A New Aspic

The title of the recipe given in this 1960 ad is “Fabulous Aspic.” But it was not fabulous. Oh no.

It was new, though.

Really, ketchup mixed with lemon (or lime) juice, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar, jelled in a mold? No, no, ketchup (or catsup), however you spell it, has no business being in close proximity to gelatin.

The shrimp, the hard boiled egg, the olives and the avocado are welcome to stay. But please, Del Monte, please take your Fabulous Aspic far away and leave it there.

And please do not involve the delicious cold boiled shrimp, or any of its friends there on the – block of something that is supposed to be out in the – is it a rain forest? A terrarium? Wherever. They do not deserve to  be mixed into the aspic (which is what you suggest at the bottom of the ad).

We’ll just pretend this never happened, OK?

One Swallow Doesn’t Make Soup Summer

“For every cold summer meal needs one good hot dish…”

Um, actually no. It does not. Not necessarily. Is that peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the middle there crying out for a bowl of scorchingly hot tomato soup to stand under? I think not!

It’s been a long hot summer and I’m about ready for autumn. I don’t know about you but going out to walk/run when the air feels like it’s been boiled in a pot is not fun. My brain works better when it’s cold. Also I love cardigans. And if you like baking, it’s really much better as an experience when it’s cold out. Even with the air conditioning on.

So when I came across this 1963 ad I was bitterly amused by the way summer is linked in such a  - well, such a red (as in red hot!) way, with….soup. Big gigantic bowls of steamingly hot soup. Bowls that make those little cold sandwiches look very nondescript (and that they are, actually) and unimportant.

Campbell’s says in the teeny text at the top that this big bowl of soup will make us feel good. It will not. It will make us feel hot. Bothered. Sloshingly full of hot, hot liquid. Now a cold vichysoisse or a cold blueberry soup I can understand. Chilled cucumber soup, even. They are lovely in the summer. But not these. Never these. Sorry, Campbell’s. Come back in October and we’ll talk, OK?

All’s Prell That Ends Prell

LJ Vintage Ads

Well, I like Prell shampoo, too. But not this much.

Prell and Herbal Essence were the two main emerald green shampoos you had to choose from back in the 1970s (this ad is from 1960, though). I liked Herbal Essence, myself. I’m not sure that they used any herbs in the making of it (I suspect not) but it was evocative in the same way that Coty Rare Earth herbal solid perfumes were. I loved those, too. They should have made those for a few more years so I could have stocked up. I use solid perfume now, too, only it comes in a fancy little carved compact thing and you can’t get it in the drugstore.

But about the Prell…it was first made by Procter and Gamble in 1947 and came in a tube or a bottle – still does, in fact. It’s supposed to be a good clarifying shampoo, too. Gets all the hairspray et al off your hair. This is great for me since when it is humid out, I need to use all kinds of potions and hairsprays to tame my – how shall I say it? – my ebullient hair.

But even so, I would never think of quelling its vivacious nature in a lather wig. I might drench my hair in Liquid Prell luxury, but always give it a good old rinse. Someone needs to tell this dame to do that, too. Wouldn’t the lather start dripping, anyway? And it would get all over those fancy emeralds. That’s no good.

Unrelated Note: Am working on the Case of the Missing Flickr Images…I know, I know. There are a lot. Actually now I’ve asked the Flickr Powers That Flickr very sweetly if I could just revert to a free account, which ought to fix matters (I hope so, anyway).