Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party!

Last night, more than twenty food bloggers from across the United States and Canada joined us for the first-ever Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party! Each blogger made at least oneUMMC VirtualDinnerPartyGraphic Sidebar 002 Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party! dish or drink from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, blogged about it and posted their comments and photos on our Facebook page in the hours leading up the party. Then, at the appointed hour the guests arrived, cocktails were served and the Twitter party chatter was off and running.

Theresa of the Food Hunters Guide blog (Arizona) brought a few cocktails – the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan and the Rusty Nail. Kara at Tipple Sheet (New York) went with a classic martini. Victoria of Mission Food (New York) made both Bloody Mary recipes from the book (from the legendary ‘21’ Club) and added a twist of her own: “I decided to rim the glasses with celery salt…The celery salt will stick and you’ll not only have a more exciting presentation, but you’ll also get a fun salty kick with every sip.” Great idea!

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Bloody Mary’s by Mission Food for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party

Donna of the Cookistry blog (Colorado) brought Sardi’s Steak Tartar and noted that her butcher thought it was odd that she was buying a tiny beef filet (3 oz.) and a small piece of sirloin (8 oz.). Donna decided to whip up Peggy’s Brandy Alexander moments before the party began. And Priscilla of She’s Cookin’ (California) brought blini and caviar which she declared was “excellent” with a money-saving tip to boot: use salmon caviar in lieu of sturgeon caviar!

Stef from We Heart This (California), who loves “anything retro” went with “the fabulously retro Rumaki.” Girlichef Heather (Indiana) brought Shrimp Curry Butter Canapes explaining that

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Crabmeat Mimosa prepared for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party by Five Star Foodie

the dish came from a favorite Mad Men scene: “A Rockefeller fundraiser was held in the home of Betty and Don and depicted as a typical 1960’s-style cocktail party. Cocktails were sipped. Finger foods were passed. I could close my eyes and imagine myself a fly on the wall.”

Jen from Juanita’s Cocina (Texas) brought the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, a real 60s classic and a favorite of ours. Jen found it “fascinating that the recipes and cookbooks of the time touted products [aluminum foil in this case] as new and revolutionary that we take as commonplace nowadays.” Jen chose this dish because she “adored Sal and still miss him,” referring to Mad Man Sal Romano from Seasons 1-3. Kitty serves Pineapple Upside Down Cake to hubby Sal while watching Jackie Kennedy’s televised White House Tour on Valentine’s Day 1962.

Speaking of Sal, Susan of 30A Eats (Florida) knew actor Bryan Batt who played Sal,

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Trudy’s Roast Chicken prepared for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party by the Hyphenated Chef

during her high school days in New Orleans. Susan brought Martinis, Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Celery and Deviled Eggs to the party. As the party got rolling, Susan chimed in, “wish this wasn’t a virtual party!” as she broke open a bottle of Veuve to celebrate.

Merlene from Madtini (Ontario, Canada) chose drinks and connected them to some of her favorite Mad Men scenes, including Season 3, episode 3, ‘My Old Kentucky Home in which, “Don Draper makes an Old Fashioned (using rye) for himself and ‘Connie’ (Conrad Hilton) as the two exchange small talk about growing up poor.” Merlene also made the Irish Coffee from a memorable scene between Don Draper and Rachel Menken (Season 1, episode 6, “Babylon”) at the Tea Room of the Pierre Hotel: “Don attempts to charm Rachel who reminds him that they are meeting strictly for business and she only orders coffee. ‘Irish Coffee?’ suggests Don in his typical roguish fashion. ‘Coffee,’ Rachel replies firmly. (I think Don might need an Irish Coffee – there’s a definite chill in the air!),” said Merlene.

It was a great party; we even played virtual Twister (we think Foodhunters Guide might still be playing!) Thanks to everyone who partied like a Mad Man last night and for the dishes they brought!

30A Eats

5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures

Cookistry

Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine

Girlichef

This Girl Walks into a Bar

The Hyphenated Chef

The Groovy Foody

Juanita’s Cocina

•  Madtini

The Mid-Century Menu

Mission Food

The Primlani Kitchen

Tipple Sheet

Thursday Night Dinner

We Heart This

She’s Cookin’

• Culinary Cellar

Sarcastic Cooking


* * *

We’ll be watching and Tweeting during the new season of Mad Men looking for every food and drink related reference, discerning what the characters are ordering, cooking, and eating, and where they’re dining and drinking. We’re sure there will be more food and drink to talk about next Monday, but for now, buckle your seat belts: Season 5 is just days away!

In the meantime, on Tuesday evening we’ll be at The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans to attend their big Mad Men party. We’re looking forward to meeting Bryan Batt (“Sal Romano”) who’s scheduled to be there! So, look for a special edition of our blog on Wednesday!

What About the Jello Mold?

Tell someone you’re writing a cookbook designed to take readers back to the 1960s and you’ll get questions such as these:

“Will you include a recipe for jello mold?”

“Do you have Grasshopper pie?”

“How about a tuna noodle casserole made with canned soup?”

“How many recipes involve Spam?”

But when you read The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook you’ll find that the answers to these questions are, “no, no, no and none.” True, there are no recipes in the book that call for goat cheese, wasabi or balsamic reductions, either. And, certainly there was some pretty tacky food that was popular in the 1960s. But there was a lot of fine food, too, even if some of it isn’t as ubiquitous today as it once was.

We didn’t set out to simply compile recipes from the 1960s in The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook; the foods had to be featured in Mad Men, served in the restaurants and bars featured in the show, or have some other close connection to the storylines. We also wanted to ensure 1960s authenticity which is why we never settled only for updated recipes for, say, Waldorf Salad or Oysters Rockefeller, though we sometimes included both the old and the new. We worked with chefs, bartenders and restaurant owners to dish up the recipes used in their establishments in the early 1960s, when Don Draper and Roger Sterling might have walked through the door.

il fullxfull.88513562 300x221 What About the Jello Mold?Our quest for authenticity took us deep into the shelves of special cookbook collections and to the pages of magazines and newspapers of the time. Sometimes it was obvious which cookbooks to turn to: on her kitchen counter Betty Draper kept copies of The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, the so-called “Red Plaid,” and Betty Crocker’s Hostess Cookbook. But we Scan 11 300x171 What About the Jello Mold?dug deeper, in some cases into Julia Child’s personal cookbook collection now held at Radcliffe College’s Schlesinger Library. Holding a cookbook in which Julia Child had inscribed her name is simply a thrilling experience. Sometimes you never know what might fall out of an old cookbook: a handwritten family recipe for scalloped potatoes, or an old Frito’s “Party Games of the Stars” pamphlet featuring Art Linkletter.

We consulted cookbooks by the pre-eminent food writers and chefs of the time: Child along with James Beard, Clementine Paddleford, and Craig Claiborne. Old copies of

 What About the Jello Mold?

James Beard

Life magazine, Gourmet and Woman’s Day, to name a few, also delivered insight into food trends and recipes for canapés, eggnog, and a Bacardi Rum Frappè. Then there were the truly quirky cookbooks we gleefully stumbled upon which were reflective of the times, books such as Poppy Cannon’s New Can Opener Cookbook, a cookbook built around a new utensil of convenience (others were specific to the electric skillet or the blender), and Nina Mortellito’s Small Kitchen Cookbook which showed urban dwellers, such as Joan Holloway, how to make big meals in their tiny apartment kitchens. (In Season 3, Episode 3, “My Old Kentucky Home,” Joan prepares a crown roast in her tiny kitchen.) Betty Draper was insecure about her culinary skills so Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Bookwas a logical place to hunt for recipes and it was there that we found a Turkey Tetrazzini recipe we adapted for our book. Why Turkey Tetrazzini? In Season 1, Episode 9 (“Shoot”), Betty reveals her doubts about her cooking

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Sardi’s Hearts of Palm Salad from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

skills as she serves Don Turkey Tetrazzini for dinner one night. At times we felt like culinary anthropologists, or at least sleuths, as we tried to track down recipes that were both authentic to the time period and connected to Mad Men.

So, no to jello mold — yes to Hearts of Palm Salad, Devlled Eggs and Beef WellingtonAnd is this retro-food tasty? It all disappeared quickly at cocktail and dinner parties where our friends tasted many of the recipes in our book. But there was one part of the1960s social scene we avoided like the plague: there was no smoking.