If you were around in the 1980s-1990s, you may remember the obsession with low-fat everything, and finding ways to make “sinful indulgences” into something “guilt-free“. Note the deliberate choice of words, and that we still use that type of psychological framing around food today (and have been for a long time, even prior to the era in question).
The “low-calorie swap” in 16-42: Easy Lime Pie is cottage cheese, which was all the rage in the 1970s as a “healthy” option, but could still be found in a lot of recipes throughout the 80s and 90s.
I feel like even Simply Delicious didn’t really know how to make this pie sound appealing–do you think halved grapes as a garnish can be considered something notable? You can definitely tell this particular recipe was aimed at the dieting/low-calorie crowd.
Reporting LIVE (to print), from an undisclosed location in Northern California, USA, currently sheltering-in-place and teleworking due to COVID-19/coronavirus/the apocalypse. It’s getting crazy out there, y’all–stay safe and healthy. And wash your hands.
Since we’re all stuck inside for a while, and I’ve got a big backlog of these to get through (over 50), here’s one more thing to pass the time. 2-18: Luncheon Salad is pure 1980s–turn up the vaporwave (for A E S T H E T I C), find your best matching sweatsuit, and crack open a Tab.
I don’t remember feeling like this salad was a treat–more like a punishment. If you can find some cottage cheese in the store right now, go for it–just don’t invite your friends. #socialdistancing
Meal-prepping is trendy now, but it’s always been a good idea if you want to save money and calories. 12-24: Cannelloni with Chicken works well if you want to make it on a Sunday, split it up into a few containers, and reheat it throughout the week. At least, that’s how we ate it.
Even Simply Delicious advises you can make this meal ahead of time, although their suggestion is for entertaining guests. This recipe/concept is pretty versatile–it’s good fresh or as leftovers.
I had extra strawberries left over from 14-22: Strawberry-Peach Cobbler, so I tried to reuse them into 15-45: Strawberries with Cottage Cheese. Simply Delicious is big on using cottage cheese in an effort to be “low-fat” (all the rage in the 1980s when this book was published) and healthy, but they’re not usually very successful.
Don’t be deceived by their pretty picture here. It’s not ice cream. It’s cottage cheese. Just keep that in mind going in.
Looking for a quick, healthy breakfast option from Simply Delicious? 5-10: Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes is from the 1980s, but actually holds up really well 30+ years later. Consider this the predecessor to avocado toast.
This version uses cottage cheese in the scrambled eggs (instead of milk, I assume). If you’re looking to cut calories (and fat) even further, skip the milk and butter altogether–according to the late Anthony Bourdain, you don’t need either for good scrambled eggs.
I bet you thought I abandoned this project. You’d be wrong–I just started a few others and let this one get a bit dusty. After almost 5 years, I’m still plugging along, and will be until I finish this damn thing. I don’t even know when I cooked this, but here’s 16-17: Meringue-Topped Cherry Pie.
I know I cooked it sometime in 2018, and I know that I wanted to attempt a vegan version (which didn’t go well). I think I was making it to bring to work, but I have a feeling it never made it there. Looking over the pictures of it, I think I know why.
One of the last few from the “in-the-queue-way-too-long” batch, here’s 17-22: Bread Loaves with Creamy Filling. I’ve been putting this recipe off for a while–I never seemed to have or remembered to buy cottage cheese to make it. Yes, in another 1980s-lowfat-health-craze-inspired moment, Simply Delicious chooses to sacrifice flavor for “health benefits”, this time by stuffing whole wheat bread with herb-flavored cottage cheese.
See? “Healthy” is right there in the description. Now, 30+ years later, we’ve determined that fats are probably better for you than we thought back then, and carbs/sugar are probably a lot worse for you. Remember, when they make things “low-fat”, they usually have to jack up the sugar to make it somewhat edible. Not really a great strategy for weight loss, as my parents’ yo-yo dieting throughout the 80s, 90s, and beyond can attest to.
Whenever I think of lemons, I can’t help but think of Lemongrab from Adventure Time, my favorite, lemon-insipred, animated character. From my research, there are two other major characters who are lemon-themed, Lemon Meringue from “doll commercial hidden in a cartoon” Strawberry Short Cake and Honey Lemon, one of the main characters from Big Hero 6, a 3D animated feature film released by Disney in 2014 . I haven’t had a chance to check this movie out yet, but if it ever pops up on Netflix, I’d watch it. Now that my rant about cartoon characters is complete, enjoy this entry about 16-54: Lemony Cottage Cheese Pie, a really weird lemony pie. 🍋
Serving this pie on top of a tapestry featuring a creepy little girl must somehow enhance the flavor of this otherwise weird lemony pie. The background tapestry is probably the most interesting and tasteful part of the entire photograph.
The second of two appetizer dishes I made for Thanksgiving this year (TGV 2016), 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket aren’t a surprise to many who grew up with these being served at various parties & gatherings. I’ve been looking for an event like this to make this recipe for, and I finally found it–it doesn’t get more traditional American than Thanksgiving.
This was the sixth of seven dishes I cooked for this year’s feast, and I made these the day of Thanksgiving (Thursday 11/24) while I waited for the whole wheat kernels I needed for 17-5: Hot Seedy Rolls to finish soaking. I waited until the day of to make these because they really taste best as fresh as you can make them.
Since this is technically being posted after Thanksgiving, these work well for Christmas, parties, or really even just a Saturday night Netflix marathon. The stains and wrinkling of the card (I scanned these over two years ago at this point) tell me someone else may have whipped up some of these sometime in the past, although no other clues exist pointing to whom or when. The tagline at the bottom is right though–most everyone can get on board with these “pigs”.
We’ve finally reached the big day: 17-5: Hot Seedy Rolls were the fifth dish I cooked for my big Thanksgiving feast (TGV 2016), and in true baker fashion, I started them before the sun rose on Thanksgiving Thursday. These served as my rolls for my dinner–I served them with a tomato butter and a roasted garlic & herb butter.