'nostalgia' on Serious Eats

How America Ate: Leone's Italian Cookbook

Italian cooking in America in the mid-twentieth century was an arid desert of dried basil flakes, enlivened by the occasional tumbleweed of meatball and oasis of canned red sauce. Americans were eating bastardized versions of Italian classics devoid of all flavor and passion years before The Olive Garden brought them to a mall near you. Except those who were lucky enough to be working with Leone's Italian Cookbook, however. Those folks were years ahead of their time. More

How America Ate: Horn and Hardart's Automats

With all of this focus on the small things, it's little wonder that the Automats didn't make it. Changing lifestyles drove families from cities to suburbs, and fast food chains began their incursion onto the American lunch plate. But the food of the Automat lives on, in memories, books, films, and recipes. Baked beans might not be the fanciest, but they're typical of the low-cost, stick to your ribs type of food that kept thousands of urbanites going throughout two world wars and a Depression. More

'Music to Eat Pizza By'

The long-forgotten history (perhaps for a reason?) of a vinyl record put out in 1967 by Jeno's Pizza featuring the Duluth Accordionaires. Can you believe records like this ever got made? Absolutely cheesy stuff. More

Easy-Bake Oven Inventor Ronald Howes Dies at 83

Ronald Howes, a lifelong inventor responsible for creating the Easy-Bake Oven died last Tuesday. Thanks to him, many small hands have baked brownies and cakes by way of a lightbulb. And many stuffed animal tea parties have benefited greatly because of it. Do you have fond Easy-Bake Oven memories? More

The 10 Worst Lunch Boxes Ever

Photograph: Justin Goeres from LAVA Cafe Society lists their picks for the 10 worst lunch boxes ever, but to my eyes they're 10 of the best lunch boxes ever! Then again, I say that never having to tote one with me to school. I don't recall growing up with lunch boxes proclaiming "DISCO" or "CAMPUS QUEENS" during my '90s childhood. And as much as I love "The Exciting World of Metrics," I can see why wielding it might make the owner a target of a swift beating. (On that note, check out Justin Goeres' photos of the lunch box, which show how supremely awesome it is. If you're not prepubescent.) Did you own any of these lunch boxes (or... More

Top Ten Uniquely '80s Foods

Certain foods are as '80s as shoulder pads, side ponies, and Teddy Ruxpin. Inspired by a thread in our Talk community, here's a list of ten iconic '80s foods and some corresponding commercials. 10. Jawbreakers Like spicy food, these dangerously choke-inducing balls inspired serious candy egos. Can you handle it? No, seriously, can you? They came in a slew of sizes, depending on your tolerance. "Oh snap, he has the three-incher!"... More

Foods We Loved as Kids, Maybe Not as Adults

As children, some foods truly disgusted us. But the same ones—Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach all come to mind—we now dream of roasting, braising in butter, and creaming with ricotta. As adults, there are still plenty of foods we can look back on and agree—they are better left for the kids. Joe Posnanski lists what he calls "Pixifoods," or "any food substance that is highly pleasant to the taste as a child and tastes shockingly unpleasant once you become an adult." Some examples he includes: cotton candy ("cotton root canals"), Fig Newtons ("fruit chunks wrapped in death"), and Spaghetti-O's ("plastic and ketchup"). While many of the descriptions send shivers down my spine—Beanie Weenies are a no-brainer—I still snack on... More

Birthplace of the Corn Dog

My friend Andrew found this beautiful bus stop ad in Chicago recently. Designed just like a World War II-era poster, of a caped nurse cradling a corn dog in the crook of her arm like a baby and feeding it from a mustard bottle, it urges you to visit Springfield's own Cozy Dog Drive In, the birthplace of the corn dog. It's part of a series of vintage-styled advertisements from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism for their Offbeat Illinois campaign, meant to highlight quirky attractions around the state. I love the corn dog poster best and am planning to get one for my wall, but you can buy any of the other advertisements (the Butter Cow and World's Largest... More

Dallas Trader Vic's Reopens After Twenty Years

Tina Danze visits the newly-reopened Trader Vic's in Dallas for the Morning News: "Sealed like a tomb for nearly 20 years after its closing in 1987, the lounge has been restored to its old Polynesian-pop glory. Mismatched lanterns and fishing floats hover over the dimly lit room; tiki heads and accessories salvaged from other closed locations abound; and the festive cocktails are back, along with vintage barware and over-the-top garnishes." Trader Vic's is so deliciously retro and camp in Dallas that even Tom Selleck, himself a legend of much the same stature, has visited in the last month! If like me you've never been to one, or you're yearning to relive an experience of old, their website lists all... More

A Grandchild of Italy Cracks the Spaghetti Code

Kim Severson of the New York Times visited her grandmother's hometown in Italy to discover the secret of her family's spaghetti sauce, only to find the secret wasn't in Italy at all: "In fact, only two things in the village reminded me of anything I grew up with. The fat pork sausages were cooked and served the same way, and my Italian cousins looked just like my brothers. To understand why I made my sauce the way I did, I needed to start closer to home, with my mother. She has been making spaghetti sauce for almost 60 years, from a recipe she learned from her mother, who had been making it with American ingredients since the early 1900s." Severson... More

Dead Sodas

Dead Sodas: A Tribute to Soft Drinks No Longer With Us. X Entertainment's salute to the short-lived, forgotten and misbegotten beverages foisted on us in the past, featuring classics like Crystal Pepsi, Surge and Orbitz. [via roboppy del.icio.us]... More

The Candy of Your Youth

History magazine American Heritage digs up a source for crazy candy you never thought you'd see again: "Share a box of hard-to-find candies from Hometown Favorites with your family for $39.95. They’ll mail you a box of candies popular in the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s, complete with childhood favorites like Nik-L-Nip Wax Bottles, Mallo cups, and bubblegum cigarettes. They also can bring back other gourmet memories like Junket Rennet Custard and Moxie."... More

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