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Recipes Inspired By ‘Mad Men’

March 26, 2012 by staff 

Recipes Inspired By ‘Mad Men’, ‘Mad Men’ has inspired clothing collections, bar trends, and makeup lines. But there’s a world of difference between retro-themed and bona fide authenticity, and a show as painstakingly researched as ‘Mad Men’ (which premieres its new season this Sunday night 9 ET on AMC) deserves a party with some accuracy.

Yahoo! Shine spoke to food historian Francine Seegan, Lesley M. M. Blume author of Let’s Bring Back, and Rebecca Federman, culinary collections librarian at the New York Public Library for insight on what a ’60s party would have really looked like–all so your ‘Mad Men’ party can include a few more authentic details than frozen daiquiris and a conga line.
President John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy attend a White House Ceremony February 19, 1963 in Washington, DC. …What Would Jackie (or Julia) Do?

“Across the country, Jacqueline Kennedy was huge,” says Francine Seegan. “The Kennedy White House epitomized glamour and elegance,” adds Lesley M. M. Blume. “Everybody was looking to Jackie Kennedy to see how she entertained and emulated her.”

Popular cookbooks and women’s magazines of the ’60s all agreed on the way to host a ccktail party: “pull your chairs out of the room,” says Seegan. “It makes for a livelier time.” Keep guests on their feet for a short party to encourage mingling. Queue up a playlist that starts cool with mambo and bossa nova and (if you want to kick it up a notch) builds to Elvis, the Beatles, and Motown classics. Lay out time-period appropriate ccktail nibbles, like fondue, Swedish meatballs, stuffed eggs, or a platter of olives. Then “the host and hostess can use the excuse to walk around with some other special platter, maybe something hot out of the oven,” suggests Seegan. Feel free to make introductions and draw out shy types while you circulate with your tray of ccktail croquettes.
Recipe: Caviar-Stuffed Deviled Eggs
from Better Homes and Gardens, Serves 6

6 eggs, 1/4 cup light mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, 1 teaspoon vinegar, salt, ground red pepper, 6 teaspoons red and/or black caviar

1. Place eggs in a single layer in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to come 1 inch above eggs. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat so water is just below simmering. Cover and cook for 15 minutes; drain. Run cold water over eggs, or place them in ice water until cool enough to handle; drain. 2. Peel eggs. Remove top quarter of egg; carefully remove yolks. Cover hollowed egg whites; set aside. Place yolks and egg tops in a bowl; mash well with a fork. 3. Add mayonnaise or light salad dressing, mustard, and vinegar; mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mashed egg mixture into hollowed egg whites. Top each egg with caviar. Garnish with chervil, if desired.

Polish Your Silver
“The host and hostess would have taken the presentation of the table very seriously,” says Blume. “Anything that was the best version of what you had in the house would go out.” While modern entertaining celebrates a certain off-the-cuff chic–think of the Barefoot Contessa snipping garden flowers for her rehabbed barn–the 1960s was all about glamour and elegance. For a dinner party, haul out your wedding china, fine glassware, and your grandmother’s silver. Add a few thoughtful details, like handwritten place cards, menus, and small bouquets of flowers at each place setting. “You’re showing the best, most glamorous version of yourself to your guests,” says Blume.

Recipe: Gin Gimlet
adapted from Drinks Mixer, Serves 1
1.25 oz gin, 1 oz Rose’s lime juice, 1 twist lime

Pour the gin and lime juice into a mixing glass half-filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a ccktail glass and garnish with the lime wedge.

It’s All About the C**ktails
“C**ktail hour was a really, really big deal before dinner parties,” says Blume. “People would absolutely stagger to the dinner table sometimes.” “You can’t not have your ccktail,” echoes Seegan. “That was the most important part.” James Beard’s 1965 cookbook, Menus for Entertaining, notes a small ccktail party requires “scotch, bourbon, martinis, gin and tonic and sherry.” For true ’60s imbibing, expect your guests to toss them back, with Beard’s book budgeting four ccktails per guest during an hour and half to two-hour ccktail party. Seems like a lot, but weren’t drinks smaller then? “A shot is a shot,” says Seegan.

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