Recipes

Pot of Burgers

It took me right up until it was time to cook them to understand that Barbie’s pot of burgers was a kind of sloppy joe and not a magical dish where hamburger patties are braised to tangy, juicy excellence in a kind of olive-tomato stew. If I had realized that these “burgers” were not cooked in what I think of as burger form, I would have been much less enthusiastic in my recommendation that we include them in our last cooking adventure. And that would have been sad. Because, y’all. The pot of burgers is really good. 

I think it was the olives. I’ve never had a sloppy joe with olive in it before. (I don’t know if I’ve had a sloppy joe at all since I’ve turned, I don’t know, twelve, but that’s beside the point.) It also could be due to the fact that Donna and I blatantly ignored Barbie’s instructions and used tomato paste instead of ketchup. It’s nice to have access to ingredients beyond what would have been available to a child in the 60s.

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Recipes

Hashed Corned Beef Salad

Corned beef has been on my mind since reading Toothpick Tales’ blog post about the perfect reuben sandwich . (An unexpected side effect of writing about food and cooking is wanting to read what everyone else is writing about food and cooking too.) Reading that post took me from never having had a reuben sandwich to absolutely needing a reuben sandwich. Right now. In my mouth and in my stomach.  I’m not sure my first experience with one should be homemade, though? Such an iconic dish deserves an expert touch, at least for the first one. 

It’s not a sandwich, but when I was flipping through Easy-as-Pie in preparation for my weekly grocery outing, I noticed that Barbie had a hashed corned beef salad. I didn’t even know if I liked corned beef, but I thought that would be a start anyway.

You have to like beets to appreciate today’s recipe. You will definitely taste the beets.

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Recipes

Waikiki Meatballs

I didn’t make a Barbie recipe this week, but I did make a vintage one. When I use my old recipes, I feel connected back to another generation of women. One for whom work was staying at home and keeping house. In another of Cynthia Lawrence’s Barbie novels, Barbie’s New York Summer, Margaret Roberts (Barbie’s mom! She has a name!) says to Barbie, “You’re the one who has an exciting career ahead of you. This is my career.” while gesturing to her attractively furnished living room. On reading that, my heart sank and I shared Garfunkel and Oats’ horrified realization about the moms.

I miss work. I miss coffee and cleaning the whiteboard each morning and meetings. And all the things you do and say to people every day without thinking about it.

 It’s week two of social distancing. Week two of being home and getting dinner on the table every night, unromantic and unexciting. Just a job, like I imagine it was for my grandmother’s generation. For the job of cooking today, I decided to make one of my favorite workaday Betty Crocker recipes. You need ground meat, pineapple nibs, a green pepper, and about 45 minutes.

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Recipes

Barbie’s Birthday Punch

Since the covid-19 crisis seemed to turn crazy-real on Friday the 13th, a lot of people pointed out that it basically ruined Jason Voorhees’ special day. As someone with a mid-March birthday, it wreaked a little havoc on mine too.

 I’m all about following the rules of social distancing, so parties and dining out aren’t options right now. And the world has shifted enough that that doesn’t seem like a very big deal? Anyway, Barbie had the perfect recipe to lift my spirits even if it didn’t come with its own little frame story. (The frame stories are my favorite part of the book.) If her party was half as good as her birthday punch, I bet it was really fun.

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Recipes

Cheddar-and-Horseradish Beauties with Tomato Bacon Chutney

I decided to go with rye bread for my take on the bacon-and-cheese beauty. I like aggressive flavors, and rye is one of the only carb-y things I ever find myself really craving. In keeping with the theme of strong flavors, I also decided to include horseradish. Bacon, tomato, cheddar, horseradish… How could you go wrong?  

Well, I managed. On our big cooking night, I put together a horseradish cheddar spread, put it on a slice of rye, and topped the whole thing with a fat slice of tomato and 3 strips of bacon. It was… soggy. Really soggy. The flavor was there, but it wasn’t appetizing. Oh well. Inventing recipes isn’t going to be a get it right the first time kind of thing. So the next day I tried again, using plain horseradish and a slice of cheese, and… meh. Still soggy. Still not worth the effort. 

The tomato was the big issue. Fresh tomato was just too wet. Could I put it on after the beauty cooked? Could I cut it up into little bits of tomato and avoid the juicy seed part? Scowling, I wrote in my journal that what I really wanted was a grilled cheese with a bloody mary on the side. Hmmm… 

Though I didn’t get a bloody mary out of it, On The Side turned out to be the answer I was looking for. I present: Cheddar and Horseradish Beauties with a side of tomato bacon chutney…

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Recipes

Bacon-and-Cheese Beauties

The recipes in Easy-as-Pie are so promising, at least if you like vintage cooking. Bacon-and-Cheese Beauties are the perfect example. What could possibly go wrong with bacon and cheese? The answer to this question lies in the ingredients list, which calls for processed American cheese and white bread. When Friendship Club decided to meet for a cooking party, we agreed to make the beauties as instructed and then each try our own variation on the theme. This is the original recipe and… I don’t recommend it. But we said we were cooking through the whole book, and so in the spirit of completion, here goes.

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Girl Talk

Something good is about to happen!

So it’s Julie and Julia, but us. And Barbie. 

Barbie as in her 1964 children’s cookbook. And us as in… us. Alana and Donna. We were in high school when we met. (Donna dated Alana’s best friend. We have no idea what happened to him.) We went to the opening night of The Rage: Carrie 2 together. We had a college radio show together. (It came on at 4:00 AM.) Donna is a writer, and Alana is a teacher, and as our friendship nears its third decade, we’ve officially termed it a club and plan to cook through the entire Easy-as-Pie cookbook together. Because what else would you do if you inherited a 1964 Barbie cookbook? 

We are both experienced home cooks, though Donna’s recipes tend toward gourmet Italian while Alana’s often involve meatloafs and jello salads. We both had Barbies as children but were more inclined toward epic My Little Pony adventures. We like horror movies, making things, and destroying the patriarchy. 


As Barbie says, “The kitchen is the merriest room in the house. All the little sounds come together in a chorus that says, something good is about to happen!” Come experience something good with us. (Or not so good. Barbie loves a fruit-and-milk punch, and that’s more than a little scary. Maybe we’ll add alcohol. Probably we’ll add alcohol…)