Retro Desserts: Totally Hip, Updated Classic Desserrts
from the '40S, '50S, 60s and '70s
When I first saw this cookbook, I just
had to buy it. In my mind I thought finally I wouldn't have to keep
calling my mom to have her dig out the family cookbook for my favorite
recipes from bygone eras. Ok, I wasn't expecting it to be perfect
but I at least thought something like Mayonnaise chocolate cake,
Texas sheet cake, or coca cola cake would make it. I didn't expect
Mamie Eisenhower fudge that was printed in the newspaper during
Eisenhower days or butternut pound cake. Boy was I disappointed,
I didn't recognize a single recipe.
I was hoping that Wayne Brachman would
come to my rescue. Wayne Brachman is the executive pastry chef at
New York's Mesa Grilll and Bolo. I had enjoyed his desserts at Mesa
and assumed that if they were half as good in this cookbook it would
be a winner.
The graphics and the imagery displayed
in this book amazing. The book is designed to keep you flipping
through the pages. The graphics in the sidebars stir up images of
'57 Chevy's and poodle skirts at the sock hop. They showcase retro
style photography, artwork, headlines, and excerpts taken from vintage
magazines and cookbooks. I just don't think Beaver would have been
happy eating the desserts.
Heavenly Hash Brownies are amazing.
This version has the proper soft center with a shiny crackly crust,
made even more delectable by marshmallows tossed in during the last
five minutes to melt on top. This recipe calls for brown sugar,
white sugar, corn syrup, bittersweet chocolate, and the marshmallows,
melted through and on top. I loved how sweet the brownies turned
out, but you may want to leave out a half a cup of sugar.
There are several recipes that I did
run into a lot of problems with; Grasshopper pie that didn't set,
black and white cookies that just merged on the tray, the Oreo cookies
are to chewy cupcakes that are totally flat, and the fondant frosting
was just a mess.
This book had such potential. Featuring
recipes from an era when kitchens were turquoise, stainless, and
your mom wore a frilly apron. When people were not afraid to cook
really sweet chocolatey desserts. Brachman did try very hard to
present these recipes without irony and to update classics. Somehow
though they just came across as retro flakes that needed to be tested
more before printing. The book is a lot of fun and should be treated
for just that.