Saturday, March 26, 2011

Variety: The Spice of Life


Any good Weight Watchers member -- be they retro or modern day -- will tell you that salad is a necessary staple on the WW program.

But a lifetime of salad eating can become a boring endeavor. There are only so many grilled chicken salads one person can realistically consume before wanting to spontaneously burst into flames and hurl oneself off a tall building.

The 1972 Retro WW Cookbook has offered up some very interesting salads for me to try over the past year including the Pink Lady Salad, the Chilled Celery Log and the dreaded freak salad that shall forever remain nameless.

But now I am ready to branch out.

So today--I took a little trip to my favorite little retro shop in Pittsburgh and picked up a brand new salad cookbook.

Better Homes and Gardens Salad Book, 1958

As always, BH&G have outdone themselves. There are over 350 different salads in this book - all with an elaborate theme and an extraordinary presentation. Not all of the salads are Retro WW "legal", but most can certainly be adapted.

For example--Do you have 4 hours to spare? Well then, why not whip up a Lemony Salmon Tower? Or a Shrimp-Lime Double Decker?

Garnish with: anchovy, pickles, herring, beets and Rolaids

Tall, Green and Handsome!

Have some extra Ham lying around? Well then, by all means -- you need to get started on a Party Ham Ring right this minute!

Beware the gooey yellow substance in the middle!

My personal favorite happens to be the Sunshine Salad. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a sunny day and a carrot mold.

Artsy Fartsy

I can't wait to start incorporating these new salads into my Retro WW repertoire. All I need now is a few more copper molds, a couple more boxes of Knox gelatin and a crap load more time on my hands.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Don't Try This At Home

The other day, I came across a recipe in my 1966 Weight Watchers Cookbook that really gave me the creeps---and not in the usual "Thanks, but No Thanks" kinda way. This recipe had an inexplicable sinister quality that lured me in, and as soon as I conjured up this ancient Retro WW Recipe, I knew I had made a big mistake:


1/4 cup liquid squeezed from green or yellow cooked vegetable
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons onion juice
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon parsley

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Chill before serving.

I read the recipe many times over trying to determine just what to do with it.

Healthade. A beverage? A dressing? A sauce? A laxative? A magic potion?

For my first effort, I mixed it up in my cocktail shaker and poured it into in a martini glass. After one sip--I knew I had made the wrong decision.

I pondered my next move... Being very careful not to anger the Healthade.

Hmmmm. Maybe I could use it as a marinade for that chicken sitting in my fridge? But even as the idea popped into my head - I immediately vetoed it. I just couldn't bring myself to possibly ruin a perfectly good piece of poultry. Plus - that poor little chicken would have died in vain if my Healthade horror turned out to be a flop. And I just couldn't live with that guilt.

What to do? The Healthade was becoming impatient with me, and I think it was starting to sense my fear.

So I began to nervously to peruse the pantry for some ideas, and there it was right before my eyes! A can of bean sprouts. The perfect pairing for my Healthade! I poured the insidious liquid on top of the sprouts as gingerly as possible - careful not to taunt or disturb it.

The outcome seemed to please the Healthade. So I tasted it. A sudden wave of nausea fell upon me. Something just wasn't right. To avoid any further problems, I promptly dumped it right down the garbage disposal. Gone forever.

Or is it? *cue creepy music*

Thinking about making your own Healthade???

Warning: Clear your mind. It knows what scares you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is in the Air!

It's only a few days until the official start of Spring, and the temps are in the 70's here in Pittsburgh. So I cut outta work a little early on this sunny Friday, grabbed myself a tall iced tea and decided to sit on my patio with my favorite magazine!

Weight Watchers Magazine, June 1976

On the surface, Weight Watchers magazine in the 1970's wasn't much different than it is today. It's chock full of figure-friendly recipes, inspiring success stories, and interesting articles. But when you really pay close attention--you will notice some very interesting tidbits that make the Retro WW version of the magazine so much more fun.

Take, for example, the tagline of this June 1976 issue: Weight Watchers. The Magazine for Attractive People. Right off the bat, this makes me feel optimistic. I must be an attractive person since I am reading this magazine. Wow! What an affirmation! And, it's only 75 cents!

Then--I look inside, and I am just overwhelmed by the wealth of valuable information at my fingertips. How to decorate your Lazy Susan with colorful tape; How to tie a fashionable head scarf; How to stay slim on a bountiful cruise; and How to start a vegetable garden. Good stuff! There is also a fantastic article with weight loss tips from the rich & famous! Did you ever wonder how Leslie Uggams, Brenda Vaccaro, Sandy Duncan and Angie Dickonson stay so slim? Well thanks to my 1976 WW magazine--I now know the answer!

Quick & Colorful Tape!

This magazine has everything!

Now come the recipes! My mouth is watering over the vast array of grilled meats in the "Cooking in the Great Outdoors" recipe spread. Pork, steak, veal, and fish are our choices, and they all get washed down with the shockingly pink "Buttermilk Pick Me Up" on page 23.

Fire Up the Grill!

Buttermilk and OJ - Hits the Spot!

And just when you thought your WW magazine had covered it all, you'll be inspired by countless success stories and a special section called "Ask Jean Nidetch". And as you would imagine--Jean doesn't pull any punches.

This magazine is the complete package. It inspires me, it educates me, and it makes me think. It even tries to make me laugh with a comic strip about a sweet & struggling overeater wearing a housecoat and curlers -- named Girtha. Yes, Girtha.

Everybody Loves Girtha

So, I'm guessing they weren't down with the whole political correctness thing back then? Seriously??

I cherish my vintage issues of Weight Watchers magazine. They are torn and tattered and musty, but they are part of an amazing history that still continues today. However... if I need some true inspiration or a really great recipe--I think I'll consult my current issue!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Something Green

I really wanted to prepare a festive Retro WW feast since this week is St. Patty's Day. But sadly I have no time, no motivation and no green food coloring.

So instead, I dug through my 1974 Retro WW Recipe Cards and found my top 3 favorite green dishes to display in all their glory. Ladies and gents, please feast your eyes upon:

The Mint Frappe
The Spinach and Egg Mold
The Ambrosial Lime Sherbet

With green goodies like these, who needs Corned Beef & Cabbage and Green Beer???

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And as they say in Ireland:

Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Carnivore Cocktail Hour

Jean Nidetch did not mess around when it came to the rules of the 1972 WW Program. Alcohol was strictly forbidden, and she never got tired of reminding us.

So how did the Retro WW gal handle the dreaded "Cocktail Hour"?

Jean advises that you can enjoy an hour or two of relaxation with your friends by serving glasses of chilled tomato juice, non-caloric carbonated drinks or malted skim milk. She also offers up a variety of alcohol-free cocktail recipes like this one:

Sober Ox on the Rocks

Beef broth over ice, with a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle with celery salt and serve with a lemon slice or wedge.

Make no mistake: this drink is not for everyone. You may even gag a little while trying to drink it. But just think of how cute you will look in your fancy cocktail dress while choking down this beefy beverage!

Oh -- and one more fun fact: the Sober Ox on The Rocks is the non-alcoholic version of the Bullshot--a popular retro cocktail containing beef broth and vodka. You may recall Rodney Dangerfield ordering this drink during the movie Caddyshack:

Rodney: "Hey kid, can you make a Bull Shot?"
Bartender: "Can you make a shoe smell?"

Don't be surprised if you receive a similar reaction from the bartender if you try to order this cocktail at your local drinking establishment this weekend. Cheers!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Saddest Soup Ever

What do you eat when you are lonely, busy, hungry and trying to follow the 1972 Retro WW Program?

The answer is: Quick Soup for One.

If you think the recipe title is depressing, just wait until you hear the ingredients:

6 ounces tomato juice
1 envelope instant broth mix
French Style string beans

Bring tomato juice to a boil. Add other ingredients, heat and serve immediately.

Before you start crying in your Pyrex bowl, just remember - you are not alone. There are lots of other Retro WW ladies out there who are just like you. It's going to be okay.

So even as you eat your Quick Soup for One - just imagine you are sharing that hot bowl of tomato juice & beans with a coast-to-coast network of weight loss buddies.

Kinda gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn't it?