Monday, December 20, 2010

The Lost Condiment

I wanted to show you a picture of cocktail onions today because I have a 1950s Christmas centerpiece idea from the fabulous Sadie LeSueur* (past Sadie posts are here and here) to tell you about. Let's get that out of the way first and then I want to talk about this peanut butter madness that you see down there on the right.

Gumdrop Tree Boys Life Dec 1957
Gumdrops: with or without splinters? (Boys' Life Dec 1957)
Sadie wants you to go get a plastic Christmas tree from the dollar store and hang cocktail onions, radish roses and stuffed olives from it. Like teeny Christmas ornaments, get it? She says that "these little trees are usually used to hold gumdrops and can be found at candy counters in ten cent stores." The picture over here is the best I could do. Boys' Life suggests using a twig from outside for this Gumdrop Tree, but I think a plastic dime store thing would be more - hygienic. Also less splintery. Maybe you should just use the apple.

Skippy Life Oct 10 1960
Life, October 10, 1960
Anyway, I went looking for a beautiful picture of cocktail onions (or radishes, or olives) to go with this recipe, if you can call it that - because, alas, Sadie LeSueur's book has no illustrations - you have to use your imagination! And I was stopped in my virtual tracks by this Skippy ad, in which cocktail onions are scattered about on top of peanut butter and who knows what else. This is one of those classic 1950s put-the-ingredient-on-everything ads, and not only have they lathered Skippy on every snack food you can think of, they've named all the snacks after Skippy, too.

Skucumbers = Skippy on cucumber slices
Skarrots = Skippy on carrot slices
Skeezers = Skippy in between two pieces of cheddar cheese

My favorite two snack names are Skipikkles - Skippy on pickle chips! - and Skooties. No, they don't have anything to do with cooties (I think). They are crackers spread with a mixture of chili sauce and Skippy peanut butter. Imagine the possibilities for conversation: Welcome to the party, folks - we have Skooties!

*Author of Recipes, Party Plans and Garnishes (originally published in 1958; I have the 1970 edition).


Eric said...

The 'Porcupine Apple' is uncomfortably close to the urban legend about the tampered with Halloween apple.

Hey, did you know that Percy Crosby in 1934 had a comic strip which was originally called 'Zippy'. He later changed the comic to 'Skippy', then sued the peanut butter manufacturer using his 'Skippy' name for infringement.

And it was all because their marketing was *that* good, The End.

Barbara said...

Ha! I did a version of this ad too! How stupid is it? Very!

Onions and peanut butter. Oh yes, at my very next party!


Shieldmaiden96 said...

Skooties sounds like whatever makes the dog drag his butt around on the carpet. Which, I suspect, is dangerously similar to what people would have if they ate chili sauce and peanut butter together.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Oh, and we have not evolved past seemingly drug-induced appetizer suggestions, either-- my most recent issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray suggested you blend cracked peppercorns and a crushed candy cane with cream cheese for a cracker spread.


zeldafitz79 said...

The Skippy ad suggestions are cracking me up. Still, some of them might be keepers! Thanks for sharing.

Melanie said...

Thank goodness I didn't look at that ad the other morning when I was hung over!!!! Ugh! What were they thinking?

Kath Lockett said...

I remember my mother doing 'sputniks' for dinner parties in the 1970s - oranges (why?) studded with toothpicks holding both cubes of cheese and tiny cocktail onions. I thought that it was the epitome of sophistication...

Skippy peanut butter? Who knew that pulverised kangaroo could be so versatile!

Bill said...

Awesome! That Skippy jar is sitting up there just as proud as day in the middle of the centerpiece.

You know what? My mother used to eat peanut butter & onion sandwiches, which made me gag until I tried one in high school. It actually was darned good. The secret is slicing the onion really thin.

Cari Hislop said...

That's hilarious! A party tray filled with peanut butter nibbles...there may even be some conversation if two guests manage to pull their tongue off their teeth at the same time.