Andrea asked for the recipe for Chicken Kiev that came from a set of cooking cards McCall’s magazine published in the 1970s. She had made the dish for her dad when she was a girl, and he had asked for it recently for his birthday dinner.
It turns out the recipe cards were a hit with many readers. Jolene K. of Kendall says she remembers waiting eagerly for each new stack of cards to come in the mail, to be filed in a clear plastic box provided when you bought the subscription. “I was a new bride and actually looked forward to cooking complicated new things in those days,” she said. “Those cards were so amazing with the step-by-step photos that told you everything you needed to know.”
“I still have the plastic tray with all the recipe cards,” Carolyn wrote.
“I am visiting my parents in North Carolina,” wrote Jennifer Curley. “Knowing that my mom made many recipes from a similar type of plastic recipe box when I was a child, I ran to check if it was from McCalls. Sure enough, it was.”
Jonnie Herr of Commerce, Ga., had a magazine article that predated the cards, clipped in a bound notebook. She wasn’t sure of the date, but knew her mom had sent it to her after she married in 1965.
George Czerw advised that searching online for “McCall’s recipe cards” will turn up both full sets and individual cards for sale.
McCall’s was published from 1873 until 2002, and at its peak in the 1960s, the heyday of women’s magazines, had 8.4 million subscribers.
Rita Williams says she was a subscriber for nearly 50 years, and her mother took the magazine before her. “I still have some of the paper dolls you could cut out of every issue,” she says. “Most of my friends of the same age (we are in our 60s) remember playing with the Betsy McCall’s dolls from the magazine. You got new clothes to cut out of every magazine once your mom was finished reading it.”
Q: Applebee’s had a summer promotion that included a wedge salad with Green Goddess dressing. It was very good, but I’ve not been able to come up with a recipe for this nor can I find it at the grocery store. Would you have a recipe?
Toni Barnhart , Avon, Ohio
A: Green Goddess dressing was invented in the 1920s at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco to honor a hit stage play by William Archer of the same name, according to The Dictionary of American Food & Drink by John Mariani (1994). The original recipe called for anchovies, mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar, onion, parsley and chives.
Applebee’s does not share its recipes, but I found clues in the allergen information listed for its Green Goddess: It contains dairy, egg and fish. Then a restaurant server told me the green color came from avocado. The recipe here is my “could be” version based on those clues. If you are not fond of anchovy, leave it out and add Worcestershire sauce to taste.
If you want to recreate the wedge salad, which is not currently on the menu, top a quarter head of iceberg lettuce with the dressing and garnish with crumbled bacon, bits of blue cheese and chopped pecans.
Little cake-like things cooked in a coffee cup were popular with readers a year ago, and now Camilla V. Saulsbury takes the idea to the next level in her 250 Best Meals in a Mug (Robert Rose, $24.95) with recipes for dishes like spinach, chickpea and feta pasta; spiced lentils with yogurt and mint; Italian meatball stew; pesto chicken couscous and French toast — all made to serve in no time at all, with no pot to clean and no leftovers to store.
While her spinach florentine scrambled eggs were pretty delicious, I’m not likely to make cooking in a mug a habit, but I may well make the muffin recipe here again. Each recipe is full of time-savers, prep-ahead options, flavor variations and more.
Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.