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!

To Rome with Love (and Celery)

In Mad Men Season 1, Episode 9, (“Shoot”) Don Draper is wooed by Jim Hobart, an executive with a Sterling Cooper rival firm, McCann Erickson. Hobart sends Don a membership to the New York Athletic Club and a set of golf clubs, and promises that Don will enjoy working in a bigger shop with more glamorous, big name clients such as Esso (now Exxon) and the world’s high-flying airline, Pan Am (now defunct). By contrast, Sterling Cooper’s major aviation client is tiny Mohawk Airlines, a regional carrier. To Rome with Love (and Celery)

Pan Am is also the name of a new television drama set in the 1960s that debuted a week ago on ABC, along with The Playboy Club, which premiered a week earlier on NBC, also set in the 1960s. Both shows have drawn inevitable comparison to Mad Men since they seek to tap into nostalgia for the same time period.

When Betty Draper sought to bring an international flair for dinner guests, she hosted her Around the World Dinner in Season 2, Episode 8 (“A Night to Remember”). The meal she prepared reflected a surge of interest in international cuisine inspired by Julia Child and other factors, including the growing number of people traveling by air to international destinations. Pan American World Airlines had its own cookbook, published in 1954, The Complete Round-the-World Cookbook: Recipes Gathered by Pan American World Airways from the 84 Countries They Serve, by Myra Waldo (Doubleday & Company, Inc.) Waldo called this new-found culinary curiosity, “the gradual maturity of our country, gastronomically speaking.”

 To Rome with Love (and Celery)In the only episode of Mad Men to date set outside of the United States, Don and Betty Draper fly to Rome (Season 3, Episode 8, “Souvenir”). So, we turned to Myra Waldo’s book to see what Italian delicacies the pilots and stewardesses of Pan Am sampled when they flew there. From stuffed peppers and anchovy and rice soup to shrimp in wine sauce, fillet of beef with Marsala, and almond spongecake, Italy then, as now, was a gourmand’s slice of heaven.

But one recipe in Waldo’s book especially caught our eye because we remembered Betty trying to dress up a humble celery stalk while preparing hors d’oeuvres for the adult guests at daughter Sally’s sixth birthday party. (Season 1, Episode 3, “The Marriage of Figaro.”) She settled for filling the celery with cream cheese and capers (we include this recipe in The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook). But a more ambitious celery recipe can be found in The Complete Round-the-World Cookbook. If Betty had had Waldo’s book on her kitchen counter she might have made Celery Parmigiana Style (sedani alla parmigiana). How?

Celery Parmigiana Style (sedani alla parmigiana)

Cook Time: 1 hour

2-4 servings

Untitled To Rome with Love (and Celery)

Celery is delicious in this easy to make side dish (or main course) and you can easily prepare a vegetarian version by omitting the ham. Adapted from The Complete Round-the-World Cookbook: Recipes Gathered by Pan American World Airways from the 84 Countries They Serve by Myra Waldo.

Ingredients

  • Note: This recipe calls for Gruyère or American cheese, but we prefer good quality Cheddar cheese.
  • 3 bunches celery
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup stock or ½ bouillon cube dissolved in ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup chopped ham
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Gruyère or American cheese (see note)

Instructions

  1. Wash the celery thoroughly and remove the leaves.
  2. Cut into ½ inch thick slices .
  3. Melt butter in a skillet.
  4. Add the celery and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring gently so as not to break up the slices.
  5. Add the stock, ham, salt and pepper.
  6. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Drain carefully. Preheat oven to 425˚ F.
  7. Place the celery in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
  8. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is delicately browned.
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 To Rome with Love (and Celery)

One of Mohawk Airlines' glamour destinations

 

Perhaps Don should have made the leap to McCann Erickson after all, because unlike Pan Am which flew to such glamour destinations as Paris, Honolulu and Tokyo. Mohawk Airlines flew to Utica, Albany and Poughkeepsie where the most exotic native fare may have been corn on the cob and kielbasa.