Now, back to how to make friends and influence people you cook for, all through the magic of Worcestershire sauce. Growing up near Worcester, MA, first of all, this is a sauce that I will never spell or pronounce incorrectly and it’s a pet peeve when others can’t seem to figure it out. It’s not that hard, people! It’s like getting used to Wednesday having a vestigial “D” or Connecticut’s silent “C”, which brings shame upon all residents from Greenwich to Hartford. Anyway.
The Worcestershire propaganda begins at the beginning, with the table of contents, which is partially categorized, to my delight, by age and sex. Yes, it’s true. In the 50’s what you ate was completely up to chromosomes and birth dating.
Two things: man-appeal? Legerdemain? Really? The man-appeal I get. This was Betty Draper time. It was before that, even. This was The Wonder Years and Kevin Arnold’s mom cooking for her surly husband, played by beloved actor of stage and screen Dan Lauria time. That man loved to say “bust my hump,” huh?
Legerdemain though, I mean, I guess I didn’t have enough vocab quizzes in school because what is that? Funny story, my senior year in high school I actually DID have vocab quizzes every week in English class, and we learned definitions of words and their origins, only our teacher (who will not be named in order to protect the innocent/stupid) would make us learn words like “Snapple” and “Pretzel” and “BMW”. So thanks to him, I know that Snapple is a combination of snap + apple (although, I mean, is it really?), and BMW stands for British Motor Works, which I guess we learned because Wikipedia didn’t exist back then, but legerdemain was deemed not worthy of our time.
a display of skill or adroitness
Now, every recipe in the book has its own description – sometimes one that touts its succulence, ease, or just a fun fact. I enjoyed this one because I’ve never really had this Sophie’s Choice dilemma.
If you’re at a barbecue, isn’t it standard to just eat a hamburger and a hot dog? Or am I just sloth incarnate? No, sloth incarnate is what happens when you wrap a burger around a hot dog. Shudder. This is like what people on Atkins used to do instead of eating a dog on a bun. Also, I read this as Frankenburgers, which is kind of what ground meat is anyway, right?
Some of the other fun recipe descriptors include:
I never want to eat chicken that has been curled. EVER. And look, I know that Clamato exists, but it still makes no sense to me and it especially doesn’t make sense as to why shellfish juice is a great idea after a “hard” Saturday night. Props though to the author for recognizing that no matter the decade, people love to party.
Coming up next: a look at how exotic and vaguely racist our forebears were when describing gourmet delights from Mexico and the Orient!