Cleaning Out the Basement–TV Dinners and Other Media Munchies

TV Dinners and Other Media Munchies, 1986

TV Dinners and Other Media Munchies, 1986

At first glance, this looks like one of those jokey assemblages of well-intentioned, but dismal Mid-Century Modern meals.

At second glance, it looks like a local celebrity collection of people who may be familiar from and with TV, but not with a kitchen.

And a lot of the recipes are what you might expect–at best, simple family favorites like a five-ingredient cranberry relish (that includes sour cream!) from Susan Stamberg. At worst–well that cranberry relish doesn’t sound great.

The guys chime in with plenty of chili versions and others share bachelor and student shortcut meals like segment producer Tod Mesirow’s London Poverty Mush–a stir-up of rice, peas, mushrooms, wine, and cheddar cheese. We’ve all had our ramen years. Q107 DJ Uncle Johnny takes a different approach. He suggests driving to the Roma Restaurant on Connecticut Avenue (no longer there) and ordering the linguini with red clam sauce.

There are a few ethnic recipes like Ethiopian Doro Wat and Brazilian Feijoada, because lots of nationalities wash up in DC. And there are a few “ethnic”‘ recipes like Gordon Peterson’s Chinese Chicken relying on soy sauce and duck sauce.

But aside from being a period piece that you can flip through to see who’s still on the air and wondering if they still serve Grapes Grand Marnier, the book also has an interesting political component. It was published as a fundraiser for the Broadcasters’ Child Development Center, a daycare center sponsored by the Washington chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The women who were on the air, using that daycare center,  pulled the book together between reporting and families, so no more cracks about dated recipes for casseroles and short-cut cheesecakes.

And a resigned sigh for how little has changed–at least as far as daycare. The meals are better.

 

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About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
This entry was posted in cleaning out the basement, Culinary Historians of Washington DC, cultural, history, what's for dinner and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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