Return of the Ancient Holiday Appetizers!

Time to break out the super old cookbooks again!

As longtime readers know, I never let a holiday season slip by without trying out some old and iffy recipes. These are typically plucked from the pages of ‘60s and ‘70s cookbooks, back when chicken drumsticks looked like Flintstones food, and every other meal involved some kind of gelatin.

Below are five more dishes that I’m classifying as “holiday appetizers,” even if Better Homes & Gardens didn’t. If you’re not interested in recipes for tomato-pineapple juice, come back tomorrow for something else. This is how I celebrate Christmas, so this one’s just for me!

These little heart attacks are deliciously decadent. You take one of those refrigerated biscuit can/tube things, cut each biscuit into fourths, and then slather ‘em with a mixture of melted butter and blue cheese. Toss those messes into a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, and out comes an army of oily-salty-cheesy puffs.

The official directions more or less instruct you to drown the biscuits in butter and cheese, but I’d suggest a more modest brushing. Go way heavier on the butter than the blue cheese, because melted blue cheese is basically liquid salt, and using too much of that will render even these heavenly baby biscuits inedible.

SCORE: 8 out of 10. Would make again, would eat again.

I’m cheating on this one, since I already covered the Two-Tone Cocktail in an ancient X-E article. Apologies to those who’ve been with me since the Dark Ages; I just REALLY like this drink.

Course, you probably won’t. I can’t mention tomato juice without twenty people coming after me with bats, so the idea of mixing tomato juice with pineapple juice is something I’m sure many Dino Drac readers take personal offense to.

Guys, live a little! This tastes wonderful and it looks like a magic trick.

In a way, it IS a magic trick. First, you pour half a glass of pineapple juice. Then you tilt the glass as you would while pouring a beer, and very slowly let the tomato juice top everything off. If you did it right, the two juices should remain totally separated, and they’ll stay that way for a solid 5-7 minutes.

Believe it or not, these juices really do complement one another, and I consider that first sip where you finally get a combined blast of tomato and pineapple to be one of life’s secret delicacies.

SCORE: 9 out of 10. I’m serious!

These are just ripe olives with thin strips of carrot threaded through ‘em. I wasn’t expecting much from that, but wow, black olives and carrots go great together!

My cookbook presents these as literal appetizers (the serving suggestion is three “bundles” per person), but to me they’re of more obvious use as edible garnish for an antipasto platter. Your guests will know you went the extra mile when they see little Zelda spiders made out of vegetables sitting on your kitchen table.

Bonus Matt Tip: If you need to make these way earlier than they’ll be served, put them in a glass of ice water until showtime. This may neutralize some of the olives’ bite, but it will also keep the tiny carrot strips from browning.

SCORE: 7 out of 10. They’re possibly too much work for something so simple, but Carrot Stick Bundles taste so good that I could see myself making ’em on any regular afternoon, or at least one of those more unusual afternoons when I’m crying over bullshit and need to distract myself with olives.

I only made these because they sounded so weird that I had to know if there was some hidden merit to the idea. To be honest, there kind of is. No matter how gross they look, they still taste like frankfurter-wrapped cheese knishes. They’re not ALL bad.

Quickie directions: Split hot dogs lengthwise, but not quite into two. Fill the insides with a mix of instant mashed potatoes and parmesan cheese, and then top with additional parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees for around 10 minutes, and you’re done.

Hot dogs are frequently abused in these old cookbooks, and what chefs did with them back in the ‘60s and ‘70s would only sometimes fly today. Even allowing for the possibility that I may not have prepared these very well, I can’t imagine getting them to the point where they’d seem “attractive.”

GRADE: 5 out of 10. They’re worth trying if you’re down to three ingredients and those three ingredients just happen to be parmesan, potatoes and frankfurters, but if you’re making food for other people and not just so you have something to eat while binging on Westworld, naaaaah.

Mix cans of condensed tomato soup, beef broth and plain old water, toss in a bit of dried oregano and garlic powder, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for a few. When serving, float a few avocado slices on the top of each bowl.

Old cookbooks are fond of mixing tomato soup with beef broth, and it’s nowhere near as weird as it sounds. The resulting mix tends to be more tomatoey than beefy, but it’s dark, rich and “punchy,” and tastes like the kind of thing you should eat when you have a cold.

I’ll never say no to slices of avocado, even if they don’t seem terribly congruous in this particular soup. I think they’re only here because old cookbook writers thought avocados were “exotic,” and used them whenever a dish was sounding too boring.

(You may wanna salt those avocado slices before tossing ‘em in, though. The soup is hella salty on its own, but the avocado won’t be in there long enough to soak it up.)

SCORE: 7 out of 10. Despite my great fondness for tomato juice, I almost never eat tomato soup, and eat beef soup even less often. IMO, this weird combo soup tastes better than either of them, and the avocado gives me a reason to play Operation with my spoon.

Thanks for reading about weird old food!

More Ancient Holiday Appetizers:
PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3