Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Gourmet Retro Dinner Party

Taste With The Eyes’ Gourmet Retro Dinner Party
Twelve 50-Somethings recreate a dinner party our parents may have had in the late 50’s – early 60’s. Born all over the country from Long Island to Texas, Ohio to Chicago, Pennsylvania to New Orleans to the West Coast, these friends are cooking together at my home in Los Angeles, California. All the recipes have special meaning for each cook, who will reminisce about the dish. We’ll also be borrowing some old china, glass, and silver from our parents (if we haven’t already inherited it) to make an authentic table setting. We’ll swing and cook to the music of Perry Como…Papa Loves Mambo, don’t you know? By the way – this is not just Retro, it’s Gourmet Retro, as THESE FOLKS CAN COOK! We’ll move the sofa and have dancing after dinner in the living room just the way our parents did it, and play our Dean Martin albums. Ain’t that a Kick the Head? We are excited that Foodbuzz will be featuring this dinner party as part of the hugely successful 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs Event.

THE GOURMET RETRO TASTING MENU



hors d’oeuvre
Pigs in a Blanket – by GINA FROM LAKE RONKONKOMA, LONG ISLAND, NY

appetizer
Rumaki with Mai Tai Cocktail Gelée – by LAUREN FROM REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA

soup
Vichyssoise – by NORAMAE FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

salad
June’s Seven Layer Green Goddess Salad – by GINA FROM LAKE RONKONKOMA, LONG ISLAND, NY

fish
Crab Louie – by SALLY FROM HOUSTON, TEXAS

main
Pork Chop, Rice and Tomato Casserole – by GAIL FROM TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA
Old Fashioned Roast Beef with Vegetables – by PAT FROM FOSTORIA, OHIO

side
Ortega Chile Cheese Rice Casserole – by BOB FROM REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA

dessert
Aunt Edna’s Lemon Jello Cake – by LORI LYNN FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Mom’s Apple Pie – by PAT FROM FOSTORIA, OHIO

vintage china by VAL FROM MONTEBELLO, CALIFORNIA

50/60’s music by BARRY FROM LEAVITTOWN, NEW YORK

photographs by GARY FROM PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA

bartender extraordinaire is TOM FROM RIVERVIEW PARK, PENNSYLVANIA
Rumaki
Mai Tai Cocktail Gelée

LAUREN FROM REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA
“My parents were part of California’s beach and surf culture during the 50’s and 60’s. They and their friends were really into the Polynesian fad so popular then, as represented by restaurants such as Trader Vic’s, and the famous Latitude 20 on Pacific Coast Highway, about a mile from our house. Latitude 20 featured tall, exotic tropical plants and banana trees, huge tikis lit by colored lights, music by Martin Denny and Don Ho, and a menu with food and cocktails with a South Seas theme. My Dad cooked this rumaki all the time when I was a kid, using the oven broiler. He would also make mai tais and tropical punches, often serving them in the tiki mugs he collected from Latitude 20; they used to give you the glass when you bought special drinks. My dish is a modern take on the Polynesian pupu platter, or little bites of appetizers. My rumaki revisited is grilled rather than broiled, and then served plated along side the mai tai gelée cocktails, a contemporary twist on the retro classic. Light and dark rums, juices, mai tai mix, almond syrup, pineapple, and a slice of maraschino cherry are all made semi-solid by gelatine, cut into cubes, and eaten with the fingers instead of poured in a glass. But hold onto your hula: They have just as much alcohol as the originals! So Aloha and Mahalo from Redondo Beach!”

Vichyssoise

Lemon Curd Crème Fraiche

NORAMAE FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
“Coming from New Orleans, we are accustomed to putting everything (including whatever is sitting in the kitchen sink) into the pot. So imagine my feeling of insecurity with the assignment of Vichyssoise with a total of 5 ingredients only! At least it is French…and so am I. Well, it came out so smooth and such a lovely soft green that I elected not to add dairy to the soup, preferring to garnish with crème fraiche. Here is where my roots kicked in. A couple weeks ago I’d made Minted Lemon Curd (from my garden) and I could not stop myself from to folding that into the Crème Fraiche (hey, it was sitting there). That was a good move. To finish, I picked the flowers off of my gigantic basil shrub, and their pale purple was perfection sprinkled on the ivory bed of crème. Pretty enough for a picture!”

June’s Seven Layer Green Goddess Salad

Pigs in a Blanket
GINA FROM LAKE RONKONKOMA, LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
“What can I say about pigs in a blanket. Nothing but fond feelings for the hostess that whipped up that culinary masterpiece. I wonder if it was the invention of hot dog company or the dough people?? The seven layer salad was a staple, I now find out, but June’s was something special. I knew I was in the presence of greatness when that first bite hit my palate. June was a great cook and she worked for Estee Lauder. Her husband Willie was very handy. I’ll always remember that he made a spice drawer out of the useless space in front of the sink where there is usually a false drawer. It just flipped forward. He made it fit those little tin spice cans, exactly. June had them in alphabetical order. She had a zucchini tree (probably just a well established vine) in the backyard and grew zucchinis the size of baseball bats. When they were in season it was nothing but zucchini this and that. I was friends with her daughter Diane and in later years she dated my brother Brian. He gained a lot of weight. I think I hung around with her because her brother Paul was a hunk. He married my friend Donna Marinelli . Oh well. That’s Lake Ronkonkoma for you. Looking forward to looking back…”

Roast Beef with Vegetables

PAT’S MOM’S ROAST RECIPE

  • Chuck roast dredge in flour and brown in little oil.
  • Add tomato paste thinned down. ½ inch deep above meat.
  • Season with granulated garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Cook ½ done 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  • Add quartered onions, potatoes, and carrots.
  • Cook until all is browned – 1 hour.

Pork Chop Casserole
GAIL FROM TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA
“My mother cooked for 4 kids and a husband but she only had 5 recipes. This pork chop casserole is the only one of the five recipes that we remember to this day.” Pork chops, rice, tomato, onion, green bell pepper, beef bouillon to flavor the rice. That’s it.

Ortega Chile Cheese Rice Casserole

BOB FROM REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA

“Ortega Chile Cheese Rice Casserole is one of my favorite side dishes. After my mother passed away in the mid 70’s, I would go to dinner every Sunday night to my sister’s house. She would have a real Sunday sit-down dinner with her family. This recipe is a real ‘Keeper’.”

Crab Louis Salad

Tangy Pink Homemade Crab Louis Dressing and Accompaniments
SALLY FROM HOUSTON, TEXAS
Sally gave us a history lesson on the Crab Louis Salad, also called the “King of Salads,” dating back to 1904 where it was prepared at the Seattle Olympic Club for Enrico Caruso. Shortly after that it was on menus in San Francisco and Spokane. But during the 1950’s it is The Palace Hotel in San Francisco that is credited with making this salad famous.

Lemon Jello Cake
LORI LYNN FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
“My late Great Auntie Edna made the moistest Lemon Cake you have ever tasted. In the 1950’s she worked in a bakery. Loved to bake. My mom says she made a mean Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and my Great Aunt Ethel fondly remembers her Prune Cake. During the 1960’s, with convenience all the rage, a lemon jello cake recipe made its way around the country. It was quick and easy, made from a box of cake mix and a box of Jello. Auntie would bring this lemon cake to all the family functions…Please go here to read more about the Lemon Jello Cake recipe.”

Mom’s Apple Pie

PAT FROM FOSTORIA, OHIO
MOM’S APPLE PIE RECIPE

Crust

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ Crisco
  • ½ cup cold water w/ 1 T vinegar (apple cider)
  • Beat egg till fluffy and water

Sift dry ingredients 3 times add Crisco in small pieces.
Then add liquid egg mixture. Good for 3 pies.

Filling

  • 6 to 8 peeled and sliced tart apples red – Jonathan
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • Toss and add to pie crust

Crumb Topping

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ stick margarine or butter
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Mix till crumbly top pie

Bake 400 degrees 15 minutes down to 350 for 45 minutes.

The Grasshopper
I asked Joyce (my mother) what did she like to drink back then? Her answer was, “Ooh, a grasshopper. I haven’t had one in decades.” So here it is Ma, and when you come over for Thanksgiving, I’ll make one for you too. Creme de Cacao, Creme de Menthe, and Cream go into cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Sip slowly to taste the fifties.

Vintage China
VAL FROM MONTEBELLO, CALIFORNIA
“Bob’s sister’s friend traditionally did all the Wedding and Baby Showers and of course used these dishes. I don’t know how she started with them but I know her collection grew over the years. At every party I reminded her that I had first dibs if she ever wanted to get rid of them. Well, I got a call from her a couple of years ago that her husband was retiring and they were moving to Wyoming. I bought the 30 cup and luncheon dish set plus a few water goblets that I use as flower vases. I LOVE them! We had lots of fun. Can’t wait to read the blog. Thanks for including us.”
Val’s Vintage China. What a hoot! It even has a little ashtray with an indentation to hold your cigarette. Dessert: Aunt Edna’s Lemon Jello Cake, Coffee and a Cigarette. It doesn’t get more RETRO than that! Go Retro!

The ‘Go Retro’ Gang

Noramae and Vichyssoise

Sally and Noramae

Tom and Gary and Bob

Pat and Pork Chop Casserole

Pat and Sally and Mom’s Apple Pie

Gary and Camera

Val and Bob

Noramae and Sally and Pat

Gina and Pie

Barry and Gail

Barry and Gail – dancin’ to Frank Sinatra
We sure are a bunch that likes themed dinner parties. I’ve written about a few of them on this blog, including the Wild Salmon Party and the Wolfgang Puck Party. Some other themes we’ve enjoyed include a Moroccan Night, Julia Child Party, and a Frida Kahlo Party (we all sported unibrows at that one) to name a few.  A huge thank you to all my friends who particpated in the Gourmet Retro Dinner Party. What’s next?
And by the way, if you have a suggestion, we’d love to hear it!

40 thoughts on “Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Gourmet Retro Dinner Party”

  1. Oh! Oh! This is so Beautiful!
    Hats Off and da’Big Bow to’yaz!
    Y’all have GOT TO come to New Orleans!

    Congratulations on the Buzz too!
    Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

  2. Amazing gathering! Wow I don’t think I ever spent so long reading a post with such enjoyment! Thank you for sharing all of this with us!

  3. Lori Lynn this is fabulous girl! You are soo creative.
    How cool that you have such fantastic foodie friends to help you out in the kitchen. 🙂 I love the retro china! I bet the pasadena flea market has awesome retro ware! Congrats on the Foodbuzz 24 event!! I had a feeling you were one of the submitters when I hadn’t seen anything posted by you of late! 🙂 Hugs to you!

  4. what a great idea for 24,24,24! I love the whole retro feel to it. I also got selected for the 24,24,24 but always nice to read what other had came up with. 🙂

  5. What a creative dinner concept…complete with B &W pics.

    Had you not called it retro, these dishes would fit right in with the times. My best sources for recipes are the old ones with classics like these.

    Congrats on a fabulous gathering and dinner.

  6. What a fun idea! I love the black and white pics! I participated this month with 24, 24, 24, too hosting an International Progressive Dinner. Check it out when you get a chance!

  7. this is awesome! congrats on the 24w. foodbuzz! the photos of the retro dishes just left me smiling esp. the mai tai gelee (oh what they did with gelatin back then!)

    what a fun evening!

  8. Of course you would host such a creative party! How fun! and the black and white photos just add to it all! Love all the dancing, the music, and the bounty of retro food!

  9. Now that is a perfect theme for a party. I just love the concept, the vintage china with the cigarette, LOL, and the food, of course. Congratulations on a great job!

  10. so fun.. My boyfriend begs for pigs in a blanket, but I say it is so passé (but perfect for this event.) All those leftovers can go in really old 1970 tupperware.

  11. Love the mai tai gelée! I had a ton of fun with my 24/24/24 post too, but yours was certainly very creative and retro-chic.

  12. Hey Thanks, Ms Lynn!
    We love your blog too!

    Sorry about that Chief!
    I hope it works now. If not then I can pull the pic easily enough and leave the article there all alone, with no Mai Tai Cocktail Gelée, sigh
    .
    How ironic as we do try to honor folks work and Usually you can click on the photos we hang and they go linked to source and I do try to honor copyrights with bylines and all that when it seems necessary.

    One way or another we try to link back.

    Please forgive my drooling forgetfulness, but you reminded me of how we used to make Hurricane Popcicles.

    I should have contacted you and hope this entire public conversation + the Photo credit satisfies your concerns.

    Thank you,
    Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

  13. What a great idea and post! I love the BLACK AND WHITE pics. My favorite dish has to be that Mai Tai gelee and pigs in the blanket.

  14. As a fifty-something myself, this is an incredible dinner party! What fun! You could’ve gathered around dvd’s of the Dean Martin roasts as well as the dancing! Great post!

  15. How cool! I love your theme!
    That’s a beautiful Bundt cake.

    I’ve never had a grasshopper, but now I’m on a mission to try one. They sound delicious.

  16. What fun! 🙂
    A few years ago, I was at a dinner party given by a benefactress of the museum where a show curated by a friend of mine had just opened. All was very high class, the apartment being right off Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, with tuxedo-clad waiters offering cocktails in Waterford crystal. We were getting hungrier and hungrier, when finally word got out that food was on its way. Heavy silver trays held high started circulating, laden with pigs in a blanket. Now that was a surprise! We skipped the first tray, the second, the third. Invariably, pigs in a blanket it was! At the end, we gave in, and reached for them. 😉
    The dinner, served shortly before midnight, was excellent. We had not dared hope anymore by then, so it was a nice surprise.

  17. I love this post!
    Very creative photos and menu!
    I especially love the mai tai jello thing.
    Looks like you guys had a great time too!
    Stacey Snacks

  18. Hi Maybelle’s Mom – my friends and I have been wanting to do a party like this for a long time!

    Hi NOLadder! Thanks and Welcome.

    Simona – glad you enjoyed it!

    Hugging the Coast – I thought of that at the last minute.

    Hi WORC – it was a great gathering, great friends.
    Thanks!

    Hi Laurie – I had a lot on my plate, with my pooch sick and all 🙁
    Happy to see you were chosen too! YAY!

    Hi Billy – I will be visiting you shortly. Congrats to you too!

    Hi Peter – I consulted with Joyce (my 75 year old ma), she authenticated it.

  19. Hi SMST – I’ll be over soon. Congrats to you too!

    Hi Taste Memory – I have a hankering to play with Jello some more now.

    Hi Lo! Now that is a perfect meal! haha

    Hi Ben – and of course we had to photograph that vintage china with a cigarette. My friend says, “but you won’t let me smoke in the house !?!” No, only for the blog!

    Hi Nicole – We. Are. Fun.

    Hi Darius – no shortage of food!

    Hi MLV – make him some pigs! They are better than you remember 🙂 Everyone loved ’em!

    Hi Diana – I’ll be visiting you soon. Congrats to you too!

    Yes Psychgrad – what would you do??

    Hi Foodalogue! Thanks, I wanted us to look like our parents…

  20. Hi NOLadder – OK, thanks for taking care of that so promptly and for the photo credit. No problem. I have to try Hurricane Popcicles!

    Hi Courtney – you and everyone else, the biggest hit was pigs in a blanket. Go figure!

    Hi Deborah – that is a good idea! Maybe someone reading this having a retro party will do just that!

    Oh Emiline – you have to try a grasshopper! And thanks for the compliment on the bundt, especially from you, baker extraordinaire.

    That’s a cute story Merisi. The hostess had a sense of humor. But the pigs were good, no?

    Hi Stacey – thanks! The Mai Tai was a shot without a shot glass!

  21. Ach, Lori Lynn, I’ve been missing out! I didn’t realize you were in the “24” event; how wonderful! I so enjoyed reading about everyone’s dishes, their histories, etc. Congrats on being chosen and doing such a fine and fun job!

  22. This looks like so much fun! This would be a fun party to plan for a friend who is celebrating a milestone birthday. I love how everyone really enjoyed themselves & the theme.

    xoxox Amy

  23. Lori Lynn,

    You outdid yourself this time. That dinner looked awesome and the theme was a great idea! I am salivating over the Pork Chop casserole right now. The Mai Tai cocktail Gelee and the grasshopper are such of beautiful items, I want definitely want a snip of those.

    Great job at organizing this for your 24/24/24 Retro party!

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