Mental Hygiene Friday

A Word to the Wives

1955.  What had more chrome and steel than the behemoths coming of the assembly lines in Detroit?  Kitchens.  These 1950s sales films about dream kitchens turn me green with envy.  Recently I became entranced by a film that featured a stove with a built in boiling pot (you lose a burner but gain a pasta pot!!) and a built-in periscope that allowed you to peer into the oven.  Never mind the logistics of bending over a piping hot electric range — or the fact that all you really needed was a transparent glass oven door — here’s a nuclear sub periscope in your own kitchen!

A Word to the Wives features Marsha Hunt as an alarmingly devious woman who helps her best friend trick her unsuspecting husband (Darren McGavin!) into not only buying the kitchen of her dreams, but an entire house along with it.

I once watched a film on a concept kitchen that featured irradiated food drawers to keep your groceries fresh.  Ponder this:

“The Army Quartermaster Corps concluded early on that wholesome, economical, shelf-stable field rations could be provided through irradiation. However, early sensory evaluation of sterilized (1) irradiated meats described it as having a “wet dog aroma.””

We still irradiate certain foods, albeit not with nuclear cancer rays, and alas, not in our own veggie crispers.

Last week I did my part to help UN-modernize a friend’s kitchen.  She collects Depression Glass so I bought her a lovely lime green glass juicer for her birthday.  Depression Glass can also be known as Vaseline Glass or… Uranium Glass.  Wonder if you’ve got some stored away in the attic?  Just bring out your trusty UV light.  It will glow in the dark.

When General Motors meets Busby Berkeley.

Not really.  But I don’t see how Busby could have done any better if he had been asked to shill for GM and Frigidaire.

Come for the kitchen of the future…  stay for the 45 costume changes of Tad Tadlock.

The Cult of the Toas-Tite

I saw the kool-aid was spiked, and I drank it anyway.

On my recent camping trip to Yosemite, I was indoctrinated into the proper use of a bygone religious tool. Namely, the Toas-Tite.

Now, T’s family (who’s been camping in Yosemite for 30 years) have been Toas-Tite-ing away all that time, and somehow this curious vintage barbecue tool has been completely off my radar.

An aluminum, flying saucer-shaped pie maker that is stuffed with Wonder bread and oozy filling before being thrust into campfire coals so that it may forge a delicious treat?

Why, yes, the atomic age did produce such a thing and you better believe I hied over to ebay and Etsy to get some action as soon as I drove out of the Sierra Nevadas. Not having a campfire handy, I did the next best thing and my Toas-Tite’s inaugural run was last weekend on the backyard grill:

Look, it’s like shameless food porn with those ribs in the background. Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of the finished product… I was over-excited I didn’t burn it to a crisp and it was eaten too quickly. I’m not much for sweet things, so I tried a savory Caprese Toas-Tite with garlic olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!

Toas-Tite… I mean, is it any wonder we romanticize the past so?