Well, it’s that time again. Time to make the weird old appetizers.
I grew up surrounded by recipe books that were published many years before I was born. They fascinated me as a kid, and they still do now. Not every dish is appetizing, but there was such a colorfully crude artistry to it all.
These days, one of my big Christmas traditions is to prepare a bunch of dishes from those books. If you’ve been reading Dino Drac from the start, you’ve seen me broil grapefruit, thread carrots through olives and even smear black fish eggs on burnt toast. To me, that is Christmas.
Tonight, the saga continues! Below are five more holiday appetizers, as pitched by very old cookbooks. (This time, most of the recipes are from the late ‘70s.)
I followed the directions as closely as possible, substituting nothing even when I knew that I should’ve. What’s the point of doing this if you’re not gonna go all-in?
Mix a small tub of sour cream with a teaspoon of lemon juice and a container of cheap red caviar. (Even if you’ve never noticed them, trust me, your supermarket does have containers of cheap red caviar. They’re usually stocked near the sardines.)
Stuff small blobs of that mixture into two-inch pieces of celery, and you are DONE. I’m sure some of you are revolted by what you’re seeing, but I love the way it looks. I would seriously frame and hang a 36” version of that first photo.
If you’ve never had this sort of cheap caviar, it’s so heavily salted that stores don’t even keep it refrigerated. It doesn’t taste so much like “salty fish” as it does “fishy salt,” and I consider no Christmas season complete until I use a jar of it in something.
Hot tip: Your mixture isn’t guaranteed to come out quite this pink, so if you’re into that, you may wanna add a drop of red food dye.
SCORE: 7 out of 10. If I had to do it again, I’d add minced onions and maybe some chives. Sour cream is pretty goopy even when chilled, and I think these would work better with a thickened filling. Read More…
A reader donated over seven hours’ worth of Christmas specials, all taped off television back in 1987… with every commercial left intact. Yes!
(Thank you, Robin!)
Everything in this edition of Classic Christmas Commercials is from that tape, so imagine them breaking Rudolph and Frosty’s adventures into manageable chunks.
KFC’s Holiday Meal Deal! (1987)
Whenever a TV commercial blended fast food with Christmas, I lost it. I’ve loved that pairing for as long as I can remember. To this day, I still consider ordering pizza and eating McDonald’s as inherently Christmassy things… so long as you do them in December.
Given that, I’m all about this Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial, wherein the notoriously-thrifty Ebenezer Scrooge sees merit in KFC’s Holiday Meal Deal. In fact, Scrooge is so smitten with the Holiday Meal Deal that he seems barely coherent. He’s like Alfred by way of Bulworth.
Scrooge collects enough empty fried chicken buckets to build a Christmas tree out of them (!!!), which sounds amazing until you remember than an “empty” bucket of fried chicken is never truly empty. So yeah, this whole situation is kinda gross, even if I will admit that it does make me want chicken. Read More…
I want you to think of this month’s Funpack as “Christmas morning in a box.”
From collectibles to candy to reading material to classic stocking stuffers, Dino Drac’s December Funpack is guaranteed (well, the fake sort of guarantee, anyway) to make your month merrier. (And also guaranteed to get there before Christmas!)
For those who don’t know the score, I sell monthly Funpack subscriptions. The boxes are $25 a month (including shipping), and for as long as you stay subscribed, you’ll keep receiving them! You can cancel at any time without penalty, too!
Remember, your Funpack subscriptions are literally the only thing keeping Dino Drac alive! Without you, there’d be no me!
Scroll down to the bottom for more info, or keep reading to see everything you’ll receive in this month’s box! Read More…
Below: Five of this year’s hottest holiday junk foods, from punny M&M’s to THE BEST POSSIBLE SLURPEE.
Nutmeg & Cinnamon Triscuit!
I love Triscuits but I hate writing about them, because deep down I know that you shouldn’t pluralize them that way. If I want to refer to several Triscuit crackers, I have to do it just like that: Triscuit crackers. That’s so annoying. We’re calling them Triscuits.
These are good, but mostly in a “they taste enough like regular Triscuits for the love to keep piercing” sort of way. Call me a Scrooge, but I believe Triscuits should always be predominantly savory. These taste like normal Triscuits made babies with Cinnamon Chex, and like, I don’t want to think about Triscuits fucking.
But maybe I’m missing the point. Thanks to their cinnamonness (even less of a word than “Triscuits”), the crackers pair well with many things that normal Triscuits struggle with, like apple slices and steaming gobs of yams.
GRADE: B, which stands for Because They’re Christmas Triscuits And That’s Enough. Read More…
Here’s a collection of ancient newspaper ads, all with a Christmas flavor. May they fill you with nostalgia and joy and maybe Swiss Miss.
Candy Canes and Ninja Turtles! (1991)
Family Dollar was hardly the first place gift-givers would’ve hit while hunting for TMNT figures, but even the least-likely chains knew better than to sail through the biggest shopping season without the top dogs. (Or top turtles, in this case.)
Note how they photographed Mikey and Triceraton over a sheet of cotton “snow.” Whenever my mother bought a similar snow sheet for her ceramic nativity set, I earmarked it for faux-wintry action figure adventures. (Like my Hordak figure didn’t already have enough trouble standing.) Read More…
Y’all remember the time McDonald’s pitched Chicken McNuggets as actual literal Christmas presents, right?
In 1987, McDonald’s unveiled Holiday Chicken McNuggets, which came in awesomely complicated packages that looked (and even opened like) gift boxes.
It wasn’t McD’s only push for people to serve Chicken McNuggets at holiday parties, but it was certainly their biggest. As if the intricate boxes weren’t enough, McDonald’s also included two limited edition sauces that tied perfectly into the season.
I’d kill to see McDonald’s try something like this again. They still do Christmassy promotions, but what I really want is the chance to turn fast food into fine dining. I want to use the good plates on Chicken McNuggets.
Until such time, I’ll have to make do with bizarre recreations.
I was lucky enough to find one of the original Holiday McNugget boxes from thirty years ago, so all I needed were fresh nugs.
While waiting on line, I thought about telling the cashier why I needed them, which would’ve signaled the start of my even-grittier reboot of Falling Down. It didn’t happen, but the daydream sure made those five minutes pass faster. Read More…