Monday 24 December 2012

Caker Christmas 2012

I can't think of a better way to celebrate surviving the Apocalypse than by eating caker food. So it's only fitting that my annual Caker Christmas party took place the day after the end of the world. (To be safe, I held off getting supplies until late Friday. No point spending a good $20 on food if no one's around to enjoy it.)

This year, I switched things up and went with a vintage theme. All recipes had to come from cookbooks from the '50s and '60s. The goal was to make the food more “edible.” (Not my words.) After serving my Italian guests a vintage cocktail (Tom Collins was the most popular) and giving them a tour of my Christmas crafts (they seemed to like the macaroni tree best, but no surprises there), we settled in to eat. So was the food more edible? Read on to find out.

Someone picked out everything but the Cheerios. I hate that. These weren't bad.

1/4 pound margarine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups Cheerios
2 cups Shreddies
1/2 package bite size cheese flavoured pretzels or pretzel sticks

Melt margarine; add Worcestershire sauce and seasonings and mix well. Place remaining ingredients in one large pan. Pour margarine mixture over them. Mix gently but thoroughly. Bake in 250° oven for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Cool thoroughly. Store in airtight container.

Source: Trenton Memorial Cookbook, The Women's Auxiliary of the Canadian Armed Forces, 1969

Cheese Ball
I had to cheat with some of the appetizers because I couldn’t find many recipes in my vintage cookbooks. Maybe past generations didn’t eat before they ate like we do nowadays. I put my ball on the pine cone tray I bought during Bazaar-o-Rama.

1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1 package Imperial cheddar (red container), room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons finely chopped green onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped celery
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Cream together cream cheese and cheddar. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Shape into ball. Wrap loosely in foil and chill until firm. Then roll in either caraway seeds or chopped walnuts.

Source: Let's Break Bread Together, The United Churches in Canada, 1988

Chips n’ Dip
A tub of sour cream and a package of onion soup mix never done no potato chip no wrong. Just let this sit in the fridge overnight. Thanks to The Vintage Cabin for my glam chip n’ dip set.

1 tub sour cream
1 package onion soup mix

Source: Every caker basement party in the '70s.

Macaroni and Cheese
I thought this one would be a safe bet. How can you can go wrong with Macaroni and Cheese? Turns out you can. Pretty darn bland. Velveeta, you have forsaken me.

1 7-ounce package long macaroni
Salted water
¼ pound Velveeta cheese, diced
¼ pound mild cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water. Drain. Place in baking dish. Stir in cheeses and butter. Mix egg, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over macaroni. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour until slightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Source: The Beta Sigma Phi International Cookbook: Casseroles, 1969

Ravioli Buffet Casserole
At this year's party, I learned that some Italians weren’t allowed to eat Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee as kids. Tragic. Needless to say, people were making up for lost time with this casserole.

2 15-ounce cans Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Beef Ravioli
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup sliced fresh or canned mushrooms
½ pound beef sirloin
1 10-ounce package frozen green beans
½ cup beef bouillon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon flour
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Arrange ravioli in 2 tiered rows around edge of 8x11 baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Sauté mushrooms until golden. Remove from pan. Melt remaining butter. Add beef. Brown well. Return mushrooms to pan. Add green beans, breaking block in pieces. Add bouillon and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, cook gently for 10 minutes. Mix flour with enough water to make a thin paste. Add to liquid. Cook until thickened. Spoon vegetable mixture into centre of baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Source: The Beta Sigma Phi International Cookbook: Casseroles, 1969

Frankfurter Crown Casserole
Old Man Finger Casserole
Can we all just agree that no good has ever come from splitting a wiener down the middle? Especially when the tips turn out looking like old man fingers.

2 slices bacon
½ cup chopped onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
3 cups sliced cooked potatoes
1 cup cut cooked green beans
½ lb. frankfurters, split lengthwise and cut in half.

Cook bacon in skillet. Remove. Crumble bacon. Cook onion in drippings. Stir in soup, water, salt and pepper. Add potatoes and beans. Pour into a 1 ½ quart casserole. Stand frankfurters up around edge. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Top with bacon.

Source: The Beta Sigma Phi International Cookbook: Casseroles, 1969

Potato Balls
Being a caker event, there had to be ball-shaped food. These potato balls got mixed reviews. Some thought there were pretty good. Others found them dry. I found them round, which was good enough for me.

Take 1 large spoon cold mashed potatoes. Put small dab of butter in middle of and roll into a ball. (Flour hands if necessary.) Beat 1 egg. Add 2 tablespoons milk. Roll potato balls in this mixture then in crumbled Corn Flakes, soda cracker crumbs or dried bread crumbs. Put balls in greased oven dish. Cook for 30 minutes in 350° oven.

Source: What’s Cooking, Trinity United Church, 1954

It was gone before I could take a picture.
Savory Succotash
I didn’t have high hopes for this, especially considering it was made by my Greek friend. (She was the one who melted hard Werthers candies last year to make Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares. She also made Impossible Pie look like an iron.) Anyway, score one for Greece because Savory Succotash was voted "Best Tasting Dish" of the night! The prize is a Chevette. 8-tracks not included.

1 1-pound can (2 cups) French-style green beans, drained
1 1-pound can (2 cups) whole kernel corn, drained
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup shredded sharp process American cheese
½ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Combine first 7 ingredients. Place in a 10 x 6 x 1.5” baking dish. Combine crumbs and butter. Sprinkle over top. Bake in a moderate oven (350°) for 30 minutes or until crumbs are toasted.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1953

Grasshopper Pie
Most of the Italians seemed to like the refreshing minty taste of this pie and were relieved to hear it contained no grasshoppers. Be sure to use Kraft Marshmallow Crème like the recipe says or else bad things will happen to you in life!!!

24 cream-filled chocolate cookies, finely crushed
¼ cup margarine, melted
¼ cup milk
few drops peppermint extract
few drops green food colouring
1 jar Kraft Marshmallow Crème
2 cups heavy cream, whipped

Combine cookie crumbs and margarine. Press into 9” spring pan, reserving ½ cup of mixture for topping. Gradually add milk, extract and colouring to Kraft Marshmallow Crème, mixing until well blended. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into pan. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Freeze. Makes 8-10 servings. If desired, substitute ¼ cup green Crème de Menthe for milk. Omit peppermint extract and colouring. Be sure to use Kraft Marshmallow Crème – it’s the new jet-whipped kind made with real egg whites.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1953

Broken Glass Torte
This should’ve been named Torte of Broken Dreams, because it died before it even had a chance to live. As soon as the spring form pan sides were released, it spread out like a bad rash.

1 pkg. lemon gelatin
1 pkg. orange gelatin
1 pkg. lime gelatin
1 pkg. raspberry gelatin
1 ½ cups hot water only for each pkg.
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
¼ cup cold water
1 cup hot pineapple juice
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
lady fingers or fingers of sponge angel cake

Dissolve each Jell-O separately in 1 ½ cups water. Chill ¾” thick in pans. Cut into cubes ½” thick. Soften plain gelatin in cold water. Dissolve in hot pineapple juice. Cool. Fold in whipped cream into which the sugar and vanilla have been added. Blend coloured gelatin cubes into the whipped cream mixture. Line large spring form with lady fingers or sponge cake. Add cream mixture. Chill. To serve, remove sides from spring form and top torte with plain whipped cream, or cover all with whipped cream. Then cover with coconut plain or tinted. Makes 12-16 servings. May use graham cracker crumbs on top and bottom.

Source: Coffee Club Cook Book, 1960

Lemon Soda Cracker Squares
These tasted as exciting as they look.

Prepare a lemon pie filling as per instructions on the package, but using ½ cup less water than is called for in the recipe. Set aside. Combine the following ingredients into crumbs:
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1 cup coconut, desiccated
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon soda
10 soda crackers, crushed
Press half of the crumbs into a greased 8x8 square pan. Cover with lemon pie filling and then the remaining crumbs. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Source: Trenton Memorial Cook Book, The Women's Auxiliary of the Canadian Armed Forces, 1969

There was another dish called Green Rice Bake which everyone thought was pretty good. But I was too drunk distracted and forgot to take a picture. It was tasty, though. Here’s the recipe:

2 slightly beaten eggs
2 cups milk
¾ cup packaged pre-cooked rice (Minute Rice)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 cup shredded sharp process American cheese
½ teaspoon garlic salt
Combine eggs and milk. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into 10x6x1.5” baking dish. Bake in slow oven (325) 35-40 minutes or til firm.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1953

The Verdict
All in all, most of the Italians agreed that this year's menu was the tastiest Caker Christmas ever. (A couple of people looked disturbed, but they were first-time guests.) As for the sodium-induced edema, well, let’s just say there were a lot of unzipped boots walking out the door at the end of the night.

From my caker house to yours, all the best for the holiday season. And may your Carousel o’ Cards always be full.



  1. Wow. Looks like you really outdid yourself! I was hoping to see pictures of Italians actually eating your offerings, but I guess they really don't want that spread all over the interwebz.
    That ravioli casserole is the damndest thing I ever saw! Bet it started out life called "Drunk Sorority Girl Surprise."
    Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine!

    1. Thanks, veg-o-matic! Between you, me and the fencepost, I've always wanted to be a sorority girl. Thanks to Ravioli Buffet Casserole, I got one step closer.
      Have a great holiday!

  2. I am reading this in bed in the early morning before the children and the dog wake up. But I'm laughing so hard I'm afraid I may wake them up anyway. OMG. Torte of Broken Dreams. I'm going to be laughing at random and totally inappropriate times for days now, and it's all your fault.

    (Also, is it wrong that I want to try that green rice dish? 'Cause, ew, but dang!)

    Thank you for sharing the party with those of us not fortunate enough to be there. Your blog makes me happy.

    1. Torte of Broken Dreams is a place none of us should travel to this holiday season. Stay clear of gelatin and spring form pans.
      You definitely should try the Green Rice Dish. It was better than most of the dishes.
      (I know, I know. That's not saying much, but still.)
      Happy caker holidays.

  3. Happy Caker Christmas from Vancouver! What wonderful dishes you had! I only wish that my non - caker sister has such delicacies on to this evening, Such is life...

    1. Thank you!
      Sorry to hear you were deprived of these caker delicacies. As far as I'm concerned, Ravioli Buffet Casserole should be a mandatory holiday dish. Oh, and hot crab dip. It's just not the holiday season if the smell of hot mayonnaise isn't wafting through the air.

  4. Happy Caker Christmas from London England. I have no idea what Succatash is but I love everything that is in it so am not surprised it all went.

    I'd totally forgotten that one of my childhood treats was tinned ravioli on toast. Why on earth my mother thought ravioli should be served on toast I will never know but I may have myself some at the weekend.

    The Broken Glass Torte looks divine even though it is broken.

    Has Yinzerella seen those frankfurter fingers yet?!

    Sigh, I wish I was your friend and could come to your parties.

    Wishing you wonderful cakerness in 2013.

    Jenny x

    1. Jenny, I've heard of many strange food combinations by way of this blog (usually by me) but never have I heard of ravioli on toast. Thank you for putting an idea in my head that won't go away until I try it.

  5. 'Tis a glorious spread! This year for Christmas dinner, I had my own caker experience when my MIL made green beans in mushroom sauce like so: package of frozen green beans steamed in a casserole dish and, when hot, a can of cream of mushroom soup was mixed in. So good. So caker. Though the beans were French cut, so I'm not sure if that spoils it?
    Happy New Year!

    1. You can use French cut beans. It makes the dish Parisian caker. Tres chic.
      Happy New Year to you, as well!

  6. OMG, Snax! If Shreddies and Cheerios were available here I'd have made that for my guests on Christmas day. I remember my mom making it for our Christmases when we were little. I got into trouble all the time because I picked out the shreddies and peanuts. Fond memories of Christmases past. Happy New Year!

    1. So YOU were the one who left all the Cheerios in my party dish.
      Happy New Year to you, too!

  7. Please rename the frank crown thing to Old Man's Fingers. Spot on! and scary :O

    1. Consider it done. Old Man Finger Casserole sounds more appetizing, anyway.

  8. Cheese balls should always be rolled in walnuts!! Caraway seeds? BAH!
    Merry Christmas Brian!

    1. I don't even know what caraway seeds are. I'm a chopped walnut man through and through.
      Merry Christmas to you, too!

  9. I am SO doing this next year. Awesome! Hope you had a very happy holiday and all the best for 2013!

    1. Thanks, Kathy! Same to you. And if you host a Caker Christmas party next year, just make sure you have lots of water on hand. You'll need it. Trust me.