Hilariously Ambitious Cookbooks from the Dawn of the Microwave

Categories: Studies in Crap
Each Friday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State basements, thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

A Shelf Full of Godawful Microwave Cookbooks

Author: Seriously, these things are credited to Norelco, Montgomery Ward, Quasar, and other traditional Top Chef contenders.
Date: Those hazy days before everyone realized that microwaves were the sweatpants of cooking.
Discovered at: Thrift Town, El Sobrante

Recipes No Human Would Ever Actually Microwave: Roast Goose with Apple Stuffing, Fruited Chicken Breasts, Vichyssoise

Recipes More Likely to be Microwave Achievable: Beans 'N Kraut, Cheeseburger Pie, Chicken Muffinwiches

Hey, you know that splatter-covered, ray-emitting pizza-warming machine that the previous tenants left in your apartment? The one that turns anything you heat in it into some false and rubbery facsimile of itself? Once upon a time, back when they could afford "ingredients," Americans dreamed of how these new devices could dramatically reduce the time it takes for the average person to ruin a meal.

They also dreamed of Crown Roast with Apricot Stuffing, which isn't just a dish -- it's a production number.

If you follow the recipe exactly, Esther Williams bursts from its center.

Here's every cook's nightmare. You think you have everything you need to prepare a lavish seafood dinner, but at the last minute you realize you forgot to pick up an oven and a stove. Thank God for microwaves!


Microwaves weren't the only important cultural shift in the air! All flustered after dangerously high levels of exposure to John Travolta's pelvis, Americans had by the early 1980s started to demand a return to traditional values.

This included giving poultry crotch the whole figleaf treatment.


These Curried Chicken Stuffed Tomatoes answer the age-old question: Can Mars vomit?

Another question this answered: Could vomiting Marses ever be arranged in a repeating pattern suitable for ties or wallpaper?

Some dishes offer a cautionary tale. This one shows why I never let my cat eat grass.


Here's another lurid experiment: pink and soft and probably more hungry for you than you are for it.


No name you could invent for it could be nastier than the real thing:


A couple of months back I swore off ever making another Human Centipede joke. But then I discovered Cornish Hens Marsala:


The ancient Greeks and Macedonians felt some reverence for the Sun of Vergina, a symbol that honored the virginity of the goddess of Athena. Intrepid microwavers can make the same thing out of sausage.


(This "Sausage of Vergina" might make a fitting symbol to honor Bristol Palin's speaking engagements.)

And here's a recipe that I should have warned you is totally NSFW!


Shocking Detail:
I adore this explanation of how microwaves work. As you can see, the roast below is going through one of those scientific mishaps that results in new Spider-Man villains.


Tucked in one of the books was a recipe someone might actually manage in a microwave:


And here's the front of that note. Thanks, girls!


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I remember going to a holiday party with my family and the hostess was making a whole turkey in the microwave. It was taking so long that we didn't stay long enough to eat it, thank god.


These atrocities they called "cookbooks" are one of the reasons that we think a microwave is incapable of doing any serious cooking - it's "the sweatpants of cooking," as you called it.

But, if you treat the microwave as a specialized tool that's good for some, but not all, jobs, you can get great results. As a general rule, if it can be steamed, it can be microwaved faster, and with identical results.


What, no Cheesy Tuna Puff?

The Esther Williams reference was brilliant, BTW.

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