My Guess is that The OC, NYC and BH ladies Don't know how to make a 'frozen Cheese Ring'
Full disclosure: On a night off, when I'm too tired to think and the thought of reaching for a can of dry shampoo and an eye liner sends a wave of mildly agoraphobic panic down my spine, I shut the curtains, open a bottle of wine and (after glancing over my shoulder to make sure the curtains really are tightly sealed) I turn on an episode of Bravo's The Real Housewives.
Don't judge me, I've got that covered. "I was just so exhausted last night. I spent the evening on the couch watching 60 Minutes and most of Lars von Trier's canon of work." Total. Lies. I sat in a pool of entertained disgust and watched privileged, grown women be 'real' in situations so unreal, I can't believe they haven't changed the name, based on semantics.
The only way I can possibly justify this, is by reminding myself I'm so tired that it would actually be detrimental to the health of my brain, to exercise it in moments like this. I'm just listening to my body, dammit. (Right??)
So, yesterday, with an evening off and a brain so fried, I couldn't possibly subject anyone else to it, I found myself at home with a bowl of pho and a few blissful hours of 'alone time'.
Before sinking into the couch, I glanced at the contents of my bookcase. Amid a vast collection of cook books, I spotted one I had forgotten I owned, and before I knew it, I was tuned into an entirely different breed of housewife.
A Book of Practical Recipes for the Housewife was given to me years ago by a good friend, who picked it up at a used book store, and thought I'd love it. He was right, I absolutely adore it. Though I cannot figure out what year it was published by The Detroit Times, it was long enough ago that the pages are yellowed, musty and filled with gems like 'chicken a la king', 'jellied cucumber salad' and what is referred to as a 'frozen cheese ring'.
Though I'm up for trying anything once, I can't say that the thought of combining canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, pimentos and walnuts with mayonnaise, cream cheese and gelatin, has me breaking out the mixing bowls. Yes, I'm sure it was all the rage at the time, but some things are best left frozen and jellied in the past. Like almost anything in aspic and half the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' faces.
Another one that caught my eye, was the 'eggless chocolate cake' - then's answer to now's flourless chocolate cake. A simpler time, when restaurant-goers would look at a dessert menu and ask, "umm, do you guys have anything eggless but full of gluten and dairy?"
Along with a fun collection of throwback recipes, the book also includes helpful tips on how to be the embodiment of what would now be referred to as a domestic goddess. Things like removing blood, bluing and medicine stains - skills essential to the day-to-day goings-on of a functional household.
As I leafed through the pages of this small, rectangular time capsule, filled with freeze frames of a time that had no interest in molecular gastronomy, fusion cooking or anything topped with foam, I felt an immense sense of comfort. It made me think of my grandmother, of how my parents always seem to have a practical and confident answer (no matter how off-base), and of how I, myself, adult through my day as the housewife of my own solo-household.
Does this mean I'm going cold-turkey on those RHW turkeys? No, probably not - they're entertaining AF. But it's a nice reminder that all that silly frivolity, doesn't hold a candle to a big pot of Chicken a la King and a bottle of red with friends, no matter how tired I am.