Monday, February 18, 2008

Space Age Desserts

I didn't realize that the Family Circle cookbook people were so interested in space exploration in 1954. Or I guess they thought their readers were. Or their reader's children. It's all part of the great mid-20th century cooking conceit of making your food look like something other than - well, food. Like banana salads that were supposed to be candles (the classic Candlelight Salad, of course) or those ice cream cones upended on a plate that look like a lot of disembodied clown heads (because nothing says 'party time' like disembodied clown heads, right?)

May I present the means (an ice cream rocket) and the motive (an ice cream planet), straight out of that cosmonauts' classic, The Family Circle Dessert and Fruit Cookbook (1954).

Banana Skyrockets

Makes 8 servings
Cut 3 or 4 slices of banana into the bottom of each of 8 chilled parfait glasses or stemmed goblets. Build each skyrocket with (1) a scoop of prepackaged pistachio ice cream; (2) 2 tablespoons thick chocolate-flavored syrup; (3) a scoop of prepackaged strawberry ice cream; (4) 2 tablespoons strawberry jam; (5) a scoop of prepackaged lemon sherbet. Top each with a bright red-ripe strawberry.

Space Planet

Makes 6 servings

Form 2 pints firm prepackaged pistachio ice cream into 6 balls, using an ice cream scoop or 2 tablespoons; cut each ball in half with sharp knife. Place, cut side down, in shallow pan; keep in freezer or freezer compartment until serving time. Decorate, one at a time, as follows, returning each to freezer until all are ready.

TO DECORATE: Assemble each planet by putting halved balls back together, sandwich fashion, with a large cooky between. For an axis, push a two-inch-long peppermint stick in center of each ball. Place planets on chilled serving dishes.

I can foresee a problem right away: eight rockets, but only six planets. Some explorers are going to either have to double up and share a planet, or else return to earth (or the freezer compartment) disappointed and bitter about the whole experience (perhaps they can write a book about it).

Also, all the planets seem to be Saturn. Was Saturn a sextuplet? Did it clone itself there in the fridge? There's another tell-all book, right there.

And I love how the cookbook specifies "prepackaged" ice cream and sherbet - like they think I'm going to be out churning loads of different flavors out on the back porch. Not on this planet, I'm not.


T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I have a soft spot for food shaped like other items - as a kid we would make a fruit salad that looked like a bunny - it used a bartlett pear and almond slices for ears.

Liz & Louka said...

My mum has a cookbook like this - I don't know the name as it's lost its cover. I used to LOVE it as a child.