Three staffers, three unabashed recommendations.
I love vintage cookbooks like Better Homes & Gardens casseroles or church lady compilations. I also have a few garage sale finds based around particular brand name products, like Campbell’s Soup or Philadelphia Cream Cheese (which came in handy when I brought cheeseballs to holiday parties a few years ago). So when some of these same kind of mid-century recipes popped up on my Twitter feed, I was quick to follow. Last week my favorite, @MidCenturyMenu, featured a series on pie recipes, like those for an upside-down potato pie from 1955 and a fluffy coffee pie from the Sacramento Bee. The recipes range from things I might actually like to make (Vincent Price’s classic pumpkin pie, say) to things that sound absolutely disgusting (a creamy cheese peach pie from 1962).
Speaking of disgusting, 70s Dinner Party (@70s_party) features much more of the latter than the former, but I still enjoy checking out these unpicturesque meals. Based on Anna Pallai’s book, ’70s Dinner Party: The Good, The Bad And The Downright Ugly Of Retro Food, the captions are nearly as hilarious as the food. There seemed to be a strong urge to merge meat and fruit in this particular decade, so that something called Banana Doolittle somehow has pork in it. There are also random, unidentifiable pictures of festive food, which are fun just to try to figure out what’s in them. What’s worse/even better is that 70s Dinner Party also retweets similar accounts, like a craft account (WonderfulWorldCraft: @wonderfulcrafts) and a literary account (Awful Library Books: @awfullibbooks), so you can fall down quite a horrific vintage wormhole. Hey, Twitter is a mess, but at least with these accounts you’ll be finding terrible things on purpose. [Gwen Ihnat]
A recommendation and a commemoration: After this, the 39th DVD set collecting episodes from Mystery Science Theater 3000’s original run, there will be no more home-video releases of episodes from the movie-riffing series’ original run. Volume XXXIX marks this solemn occasion in many ways, from the inclusion of what used to be MST3K’s series finale—which takes aim at the swinging Italian comics adaptation Diabolik—to retrospective bonus features about the show’s last days in its old home base of Minneapolis and the creation of its theme song. In a sense, the MST3K preservation effort achieved its goal before Shout! Factory ran out of episodes to legally (and affordably) burn to discs: In 2017, the show lives again, with a new season on Netflix, a live tour under its belt, and the latest Turkey Day marathon having been served up two days after Volume XXXIX’s November 21 release. But it’s still the end of an era, nonetheless, the last call for MST3K as a physical object. Today MSTies have all sorts of great jokes about bad movies available at their fingertips, but it wasn’t that long ago that these fans could only access their favorite show by firing up a DVD or exchanging tapes with an internet pen pal. Unwrapping Volume XXXIX the other day, I put a bookend on a collection that first began with a trip to Borders and a VHS bearing the image of a grimacing Peter Graves and a giant grasshopper. Mystery Science Theater 3000 outlived Borders, Graves, and VHS, and now it’s out there in the electronic ether, where it’ll outlive us all on its way to amusing the artificial intelligences who take our places. If they’re anything like Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Gypsy, they’re bound to have a good sense of humor. [Erik Adams]
After I wrote about The Ned’s Pinot Gris in early September, commenter Witchy King recommended the Vivino app “to really take your wine habit to the nerd dimension.” That’s exactly what I needed. Vivino tracks and categorizes what you drink, shows you buying options, and makes recommendations based on your ratings and history. It also tells you about the region the wine comes from, offers food-pairing suggestions, and shows how other Vivino users have rated it. Because wine can be so complicated, it’s super helpful to me to be able to track what I’ve liked to learn more about it, because otherwise I’m lost. Right now, I just let the manager of my local store grab stuff for me while I nod and say, “Cool.” But with the app, I know this Bianco Di Morgante white wine she grabbed for me comes from the red nero d’avola grape, and it hails from central Italy. That region was known for crappy wines for years, but it’s on the rebound. See? I’m going from unschooled drinker to pretentious twit in no time flat. [Kyle Ryan]