Deconstructing the Deco Diet
published in The Sophisticate magazine, 2006
Time Travel with your Tongue
Underneath our modern multicultural influences, the basics of the American Diet have not changed much since the 1930s. You can always rely on a vintage cookbook for a good biscuit or brisket recipe (not to mention a Thanksgiving spread), but for a true Deco dinner, try serving something that’s fallen out of our culinary lexicon – like Hash, Rarebit, or Beef Heart. As a side dish, creatively disguise leftovers as Timbales (any starch or vegetable pre-baked in the shape of a cup to hold creamed or mashed anything), Croquettes (deep-fried creamed or mashed anything), or Bouchés (pastry shells filled with creamed or mashed anything). And as for the salad, don’t feel you must start with lettuce. Any fruit or vegetable will do, and feel free to mold it in flavored or unflavored gelatin. Don’t be afraid to add a touch of sugar, mayonnaise and pimiento (unless, of course, you’re making Stuffed Prune Salad). You can even freeze it if you like. What about Dessert? Get fancy with a Fig Loaf with Plum Sauce or a 1-2-3-4 Cake. Get romantic with Snow Pudding or Spanish Cream. Or keep it simple with oranges cooked in sugar on a mound of boiled rice with whipped or plain cream on the top.
You’ve got a lot of mail!
I know, I’m getting a lot of work. It’s kind of great, but I’m kind of stressed keeping up. I haven’t had dinner with Peter for like, three weeks.
I also have [Name of Beer sponsor #4],[Name of beer sponsor #5], oh, that sound good to me! And [Name of beer sponsor #6].
You know me. I like my beer like I like my men!
Light? Crisp? Refreshing?
And locally sourced.
What’s so funny?
I think my native dance is polka.
Hm, I never really thought about that! But yeah, like we were just talking about the Schwabs. They’re a tribe. I wonder if they’re indigenous to southern Germany. When people think about Germany they do think polkas and ice rinks and yodeling and Strauss waltzes.
Those things are all symbols of Bavaria, actually.
A.k.a. the headwaters of all German kitsch?
Not just kitsch though; Bavaria is really the part of Germany that really exports things to the world. It’s where all the cars are made – Porsches, BMWs, Volkswagons. As much as we “hochdeutsch” look down our noses at the South, it really is a world technology center.
Those darn Swchabs!
(taps her temple)
And sehr goofy, too. Vanna, did I ever tell you my dad says the humor and precision of Schwabs are both perfectly embodied in the cuckoo clock?