Thursday, January 22, 2015


Here is another Betty Crocker vintage recipe card from a 1971 collection I found at a yard sale (and please check out my other entries under Vintage Recipe Cards if you're interested in America's culinary skeletons in the closet). Today's recipe is titled "Adventure in Space" and belongs to the category of "Children's Parties". From its appearance I can only imagine this is aimed at elementary-school children whose parents understood they love science fiction and can't wait to humiliate them in front of their schoolmates.

Betty Crocker 1971 recipe cards: Kids party ideas, alien-shaped pastry
Interplanetary communication: YOU'RE A DORK!
Let's talk about the image here. We see a handful of pâte-à-choux "aliens" (Betty calls them "Space Visitors" in the back of the card) with currants for eyes. Toothpicks are used for their little antennae, which I suspect are indispensable, otherwise who would recognize these round baked beings as extraterrestrials, as opposed to, I don't know, anthropomorphic profiteroles? The leader of the group is clearly recognizable by the two jelly beans on the antennae, which I bet endow him/her to communicate in all the languages of the galaxy. The star base (or starship, or throne) is made of Jell-o and requires the use of a star-shaped pudding mold.

It's hard to look at this photo and not realize how much kids food has evolved to suit modern mothers with a crushing sense of guilt and crafting time on their hands. We live in the century of cake pops, FFS. And have you seen these Star Trek Valentine cookies, these Star Wars macaroons, this Battlestar Galactica cake, or this cake with teeth?? This space-inspired fun kid food from the 1970s looks completely amateurish. But I can't be too sarcastic, since I suspect even these misshapen pastry turds may be beyond my very pathetic manual skills. So I'll laugh just a little bit, and stick to my usual simple cakes for my kids' parties. And I'm really, really strapped for ideas, I'll get inspiration from my usual guy: Dead Chef calling Orson. Come in, Orson.


  1. What a fun vintage project! Yes, they are silly, but I remember well all that goofy-home-made-kitchen-fun stuff from the 50s, 60s and 70s! The cake with teeth would scare me into not eating any and as far as the other stuff, the creative energy would be wasted on kids. I have a Betty Crocker Junior Cookbook that I cherish. A favorite from when i was learning to cook, circa 1963, was meatloaf made in muffin tins. Cute individual meatloaves. I'll have to go look for dinner inspiration.

    1. Yes, some of this recipe cards are amazing. The only thing that really shocks me was the overwhelming presence of boxed preparation among the ingredients. So very different from today, thankfully!