Bloggers give us so many reasons to adore them. They aren’t afraid to take risks, get messy in the kitchen, and think out of the box. That was certainly true of almost 50 bloggers who joined together at a virtual dinner party on April 5 to toast Mad Men’s final season with The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and create a memorable Mad Men menu.
A few bloggers brought us right back to favorite Mad Men food moments: Girlichef went back to the opening scene of the very first episode, replicating Don’s scribbled napkin notes as he sips an Old Fashioned. Cheap Ethnic Eatz pays a tribute to Roger’s “Milky Vodka” breakfast.
A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen captured Don’s first date with Bethany —at Jimmy LaGrange’s—by whipping up Chicken Kiev. Mama Challenge recalled Joan and Roger’s early hotel trysts with a Beef Wellington worthy of room service.
Brooklyn Farm Girl was back in the Draper family kitchen, when Betty offered Don Swedish meatballs or chicken salad for dinner: our blogger declared that Don missed out by choosing the latter: “Betty’s Swedish Meatballs are where the magic is at,” she wrote.
And they partied! We Heart This served up canapés and whiskey sours for their retro happy hour office party. Dinner is Served 1972 served up a dozen dishes at her Mad Men bash with some pals: her cake fountain was a hit with our
Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine had a retro crowd pleasing menu for her cocktail hour. Ugly Food Tastes Better invited ”misfit” friends to sip one of Peggy’s favorites, Brandy Alexanders, and Culinary Adventures with Cam topped off a Mad Men birthday party with Henry and Betty’s Apple Pie. Silver Screen Suppers invited a gang to toast Trader Vic’s with Rumaki and Trader Vic’s steak.
Salad. Vintage Sugar Cube swapped red wine for sangria in Barbetta’s Baked Pears and Sidewalk Shoes mixed both His & Hers Martinis. Copykat Recipes fired up Parmesan canapés with Sriracha, and Kitchen Witch embellished her Deviled Egg with truffle (oil, salt and pearls!)
Everyone swooned a bit. Famished Fish, Finicky Shark waxed about the divine tang and crunch of her Wedge salad, while Cookistry warned of the hazards of making Pete’s California Dip: “DON’T MAKE THIS RECIPE. Just don’t. If you do make it, you will become obsessed.” From Gate to Plate called Cocktail nibblers “perfection”: “Something a little salty to with the something boozy is a perfect pair.” *That* Susan Wiliams just loves when a recipe has a story, like the Kennedy White House and the Avocado Crabmeat Mimosa.
Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en went poolside with Pete Cambpell, for a Beverly Hills Hotel Royal Hawaiian, got stoned with Peggy and Paul while they devised a Bacardi ad, and mixed a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lost in Paradise assembled Betty’s appetizers from Season 6. Thank you video bloggers!
A few partygoers arrived with a complete meal, including a Mad Men lunch from Making Miracles and Sally’s French Toast breakfast from Cheap Ethnic Eatz, while I Can Cook That
prepared a ribeye and potatoes dinner fit for Pete Campbell.
And others attending focused on creating one dish or drink. Feed Me Seymour went modern with Passion Fruit Mojitos, and Seitan Beats Your Meat captured “drowning” and illusion” in Don Drapers Journey through her image of Don’s Old Fashioned —and his journey. Merlot Mommy mixed the Roosevelt Hotel’s MadMenhattan.
Cocktail and appetizers were popular. Sass and Gin paired Jackie Kennedy’s Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa Salad, and with a Bridge Night Tom Collins. Heritage Recipe Box offered Don’s Old Fahsioned with stuffed celery while Food in Literature complemented canapés with Bloody Marys.
There were toasts to favorite Mad Men characters: Dying for Chocolate baked Cola-Cola cake for Betty Draper, who almost had a modeling job with Coke. Mother Would Know made Date Nut Bread for Peggy and Joan and Eliot’s Eats went tropical with Joan’s Blue Hawaiian.
Veggie options — Chile Rellenos and Waldorf Salad — were a hit with Dancing Veggies. Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt discovered the joy of adding pecans to Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Cheese Curd in Paradise learned this cake was an easy one.
Of course, there was a lot of nostalgia. For Cooking Through the Clippings, there were childhood memories eating Swedish Meatballs. A Book of Cookrye remembered visiting Lindy’s in New York while making cheesecake. Jamie Godfrey used his midcentury modern gold glassware to serve his Tom Collins, while Cheap Ethnic Eatz served her vodka gimlets in goblets—a 1950s wedding anniversary gift for her grandparents.
We’re grateful to this wonderful group of bloggers who contributed to the feast by helping us share these Mad Men era recipes for others to enjoy. Cheers!
A tremendous thank you to all participating bloggers, judges, and sponsors, below.
Don Draper Best in Show Award for best overall blog: writing, creativity and visual excellence
Peggy Olson Copywriting Award for Best Writing
Sal Romano Style Award for Excellence in Photography
Sal Romano Style Award for Excellence in Styling
Roger Sterling Award for Humor and Party Atmosphere
Joan Harris/Ted Chaough “Bold and Creative” Award
Pete Campbell Award for Best Pitched Recipe:
Thanks to our judges!
Evan Kleiman, WCRW’s “Good Food” Host
Faith Durand, Executive Editor, The Kitchn
Warren Bobrow, author Whiskey Cocktails & Apothecary Cocktails
Arthur Bovino, Senior Editor, The Daily Meal
Kathy Gunst, Chef, NPR’s “Here and Now”
Leah Wilson, Editor-in-Chief of Smart Pop, BenBella Books
Joelle Delbourgo, Literary Agent
Nina Gallant, Food Photographer
Catrine Kelty, Food Stylist
And many thanks to our sponsors for Mad Men prizes:
And we appreciate generosity of BenBella Books for their support of this event.