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"Mad Men" menu -- what would Betty serve?

Im renting the whole first season of "Mad Men" for a marathon viewing next week and am thinking about inviting some friends. I want to serve era-appropriate "party food" so Im considering pigs in blankets, and Heiniken (for obvious reasons). But Im looking for more suggestions, stylings, etc. What would Betty serve?

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  1. Oooh, can I come? I lurve that show!!! Lemme drag out my Better Homes Guide to entertaining and have a gander.....You definitely need Rumaki (sp?), Betty had it at one of her soirees. Pink punch sounds yummy:sugar, mint, frozen raspberries, frozen pink lemonade, and (optional) raspberry sherbert. Hearts of palm salad or white asparagus (canned, of course). Maybe fondue for the main and dessert. Viva la sixties, baby!!

    1. Oops; almost forgot the most important stuff. You'll need several cartons of cigarettes (Lucky Strikes MFT) and a boat-load of booze and some loose broads!! Maybe a crazy Polynesian Themed menu with pu-pu's and crazy blended drinks. When's dinner? Adam

      1. I used Mad Men as the loose inspiration for a party a few months back and I made cocktail meatballs....two bottles of Heinz chilli sauce and a jar of grape jelly. I got forzen meatballs at BJs and tossed it all in a crock pot. They were really, really good!
        I also made a cheese ball, pigs in a blanket, chex mix, and onion dip....except that I did not make it from the lipton's soup mix...I got a recipe from Ina Garten.
        Good luck! Oh and like Adam said...plenty of booze! I served Manhattans at my party...but that's mostly because it's my favorite cocktail.

        1. fondue, jello molds

          1. Betty actually had a dinner party in one of the second season episodes. She did an around the world dinner as international flavors were just coming into vogue at the time. Unfortunately I can't remember what the items were that she served even though she explained it all to the diners at the table....I do remember Heineken beer being featured as both part of the plot line and in the dining room. It was about midway through this season. You might be able to find it online....

            1 Reply
            1. re: ziggylu

              Betty's Menu:

              -Gazpacho from Spain
              -Rumaki From Japan
              -Irish Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly
              -German Noodles like her grandmother made
              -Bordeaux from France and Beer from Holland

              You will definitely need to add a chip-and-dip for Pete, maybe some raw oysters in honor of Roger & Don's feud.

              Fleischmann's margarine/Heinz ketchup, and maybe soup, because who orders soup on a date?
              (This will all make sense watching the current season.

            2. In the early 1960s, tres chic hostesses were inspired by Julia Child & Jackie Kennedy, Polynesian was popularized by Trader Vic's, Soul food by Sylvia's & Americanized version of all kinds of international foods (Italian, Oriental, Smorgasbord, Mexican, Curry buffets) were popular. Here are some era-appropriate ideas:

              Swedish Meatballs
              Iceberg Wedge Salad
              Camembert Amandine
              Beef Wellington or Steak Diane
              Mushroom Strudel
              Ambrosia Mold
              Pillsbury Bundt Cake
              Buffalo Wings (1964)
              Brown & Serve Rolls (1963)

              13 Replies
              1. re: oldbaycupcake

                Great suggestions all .... keep them coming!

                I can watch several episodes of the second season via Comcast's "on demand" feature, and I think that "international" dinner party is in one of them. I might go back and watch it again to remember what she served (gazpacho was on the list, I think....possibly rumaki too)

                They all seem to drink a LOT of scotch (not my particular favorite) so I think I will have martinis instead (popular with my parents, who entertained a LOT in the 60s). Mom still has most of her cookbooks from back then -- I should ask her. Stuffed mushrooms were popular too .... and jello! That onion dip was the first thing I thought of -- Im sure Ina's version is good, but I think I do have a box of Lipton's soup mix in the pantry....

                1. re: Cheflambo

                  Other than fondue, my mom thought it was tres chic to serve celery slices with Easy cheese, or pimento cheese down the center. Also the grape jelly meatballs as Rubia mentioned. And as far the the french onion dip, I really think that Kraft has the best. No, it's not from scratch but once it gets out of it's container and into a nice bowl, who is the wiser . . . oh wait! I forget I am talking to chowhounds. I have an old appetizer book from that era, I'll have to look at.

                  1. re: danhole

                    On the stuffed celery, yes. My mother stuffed pimiento cheese (bought in small jars) in celery sticks, chilled them, and them pushed the sticks together lengthwise, and cut slices. You got a celery pinwheel that way. Very nice for the relish tray, if you are providing that. Also, you can stuff individual cooked prunes with cream cheese and one pecan half. (Those are as good as candy.)

                    For an entree, Beef Stroganoff was popular. Also a grilled steak was considered quite luxurious. Twice baked potatoes were popular as well.

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      I remember eating stuffed celery as a kid lol and rumaki

                  2. re: Cheflambo

                    I tried the find the menu online for you but haven't been able to...it's the same episode where she throws Don out of the house so the blogs discussions only mention in passing that she did an around the world menu but focus more on the events of the evening It's either episode 8 or 9 of the season called "A Night to Remember"

                    Hope this helps. Sounds like a fun party!

                    (if you have kids be sure to have one serving drinks and the other doing their dance routine for the guests to really fit in the period! LOL)

                    1. re: ziggylu

                      Here's what I found & I think it's right:

                      Betty: "We’ll start in Spain with gazpacho, followed by rumaki from Japan. Then we’ll swing by Ireland for leg of lamb and have egg noodles from Germany. And you can have burgundy from France or a frosted glass of beer from Holland."

                      Don't forget the Utz potato chips! They aren't 60s hostess chic but they are a client and the red & white bag can be seen on top of Betty's fridge often. A great companion to the Lipton onion dip! If not on the East coast, they can be ordered from the Utz website.

                      1. re: oldbaycupcake

                        Wow - thanks for the reminder! I forgot about Utz potato chips. I wonder if they're available around here... it would be a VERY appropriate touch!

                    2. re: Cheflambo

                      Don drinks Old Fashioneds. Betty does a lot of wine IIRC.

                      1. re: mrsbuffer

                        Yes and that's always struck me as anachronistic. Wine was still for "winos" in the early 60's. My mother's friends who drank (this was in SW Ontario), drank gin or rye. I would have made her a vodka drinker.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          But remember Betty spent time in Italy before she was married, so for her it was "European".

                          1. re: coney with everything

                            Indeed. Wine was always a part of Italian culture, whether Italian-American (or Canadian, or Argentine etc) or people who picked up authentic Italian culture abroad in work, military service or studies. Or both of the above... ;)

                            "Wino" wine was heavy sweet stuff. Up here it was usually cheap port or sherrry (sometimes Australian, or worse, Canadian). In the US, wasn't it stuff like "Ripple"?

                            I have an "international cookbook" from a chef's competition at Expo 67. International food was much more Scandinavian or northern European than it would be nowadays, and many of the most common "international" foods to be found in Montréal are absent, such as Lebanese/Levantine or Maghrebi, not to mention Vietnamese.

                            I don't know if Betty would really have had any contact with 1964 Buffalo Wings, although they were invented in the same state. Think Western New York had far more culinary contact with southern Ontario than with the suburbs north of NYC back then.

                            1. re: lagatta

                              Buffalo wings were pretty much unknown outside of their area until the middle 70s when Calvin Trillin started writing about them. I certainly don't remember them in T.O. when we were at university there (early 70s). Don't think they would have entered our Bets' consciousness.

                    3. Meatloaf, grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes and frozen cake.
                      You can have a special course where the women all eat green salad and glare at the men eating steaks.
                      Served with a big glass of red wine.
                      Betty would not serve oysters, cheesecake and martinis.

                      1. Pop-sicles were prominently featured on this week's on the latest episode. (Go Peggy!!) Perhaps some quiescently frozen dessert pops as party favors. "Break it, share it, love it....Pop-sicle" Tonight is the season 2 finale. (Waahhh!!) Another year-long wait....

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: adamshoe

                          Thanks, adamshoe -- dessert is now covered!

                        2. according to Betty's son "mommy doesn't like to eat"

                          I think cocktails and lots of cigarettes!

                          1. You definitely need a Chip 'n Dip.

                            I dug out an old favourite, Jane and Michael Stern's American Gourmet: Classic Recipes, Deluxe Delights, Flamboyant Favorites, and Swank "Company" Food from the 50s and 60s. The subtitle says it all really, maybe you can get it at the library. The chapter "Gourmania" lists among others: supreme cocktail cheese ball, clam dip classique, cocktail hour brandied blue cheese dip, quiche lorraine the way it was meant to be, king for a day hot crabmeat appetizer, wedding reception rumaki, hibachi tidbit marinade, noodle doodle & cheese, giant nutty cheesy bacony mushroom caps d'elegance.

                            Let us know what you decide, I might have to copy...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: waver

                              I have that book, too, Waver .... it is quite inspirational, and somewhat nostalgic for me -- my mom didn't fancy herself a gourmet cook, but she was always interested in impressing guests. Aren't the illustrations great?

                              I also watched most of the first season of Mad Men over the weekend, and saw the "chip and dip" episode where Pete Campbell comes to the office with a wedding gift he wants to return, and explains to his associates what "chip and dip" is, telling them that the "dip" he was served was "sour cream with little pieces of brown onion in it" -- definitely a Lipton's concoction. The wedding gift "chip-and-dip" tray was truly hideous -- a classic gift destined to be returned (while he flirts with the store clerk).

                              1. re: Cheflambo

                                I think he even got two of them as wedding presents.

                                I love the Stern's books, but must admit I'm not sure I've actually cooked from any of them. Have you tried anything?

                                1. re: waver

                                  Breaking in here two years later: I have made mucho Americana from the Sterns' "Square Meals", most especially the School Cafeteria Macaroni & Cheese. It is our favorite alternative to the bechamel/cheese sauce model.

                                  We have also fed several theme parties from that one book. FINE stuff...

                            2. Well, here we are again -- on the cusp of another Mad Men premier - and yet another opportunity for a party. Very excited about the new season. And also very keen (if I may borrow the word) on finding good recipes. I've been reading The New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne, published in 1961, so that would be about right. I've noticed that this volume actually seems quite astute, noting the differences between Swiss cheese and Gruyere, and calling for fresh herbs, and using cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola, and having a few ceviche reicpes. Still, there are the classics: deviled eggs IN aspic (yikes!), many variations of dips made with a) canned crabmeat b) canned whatever else you can think of and c) cream cheese. Oh, the cream cheese. Here are some of the interesting suggestions that I may use this weekend for a Season 4 premier party: cream cheese and Roquefort stuffed shrimp (you devein the shrimp and slice through the back and stuff the cream cheese in there -- very 60s); Brazil nut clam spread (canned clams and curry powder and the ubiquitous cream cheese); chicken stuffed with macaroni (really? I'd try it if I ate meat/poultry); crabmeat quiche; or clams aux blinis.

                              1. What a good party that will be!! Let's see: Betty considers herself to be fairly cosmopolitan, and menus were taking off with "continental" stylings of food. Cocktail foods were huge; onion dip had just been "invented", so:
                                raw cauliflowerets and broccoli stalks w/ French Onion Dip
                                Pigs in blankets
                                Shrimp-stuffed deviled eggs
                                rumaki (if you need a 4th appetizer)
                                Caesar salad
                                chicken divan (over broccoli, w/ cheese sauce and parmesan)
                                peas and pearl onions
                                Baked Alaska

                                Martinis and Manhattans

                                1. In addition to all the things mentioned, I do remember Betty ordering a gimlet (while pregnant with Gene). While her timing was not great, the drink is downright decent — especially in the summertime.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ARTraveler

                                    Now you're being anachronistic. While excessive drinking by women was frowned on at any time, there were not the current strictures about drinking-while-expecting. I doubt there was the medical knowledge about the impact of drinking on the foetus, though there was probably some kind of observation - given the social context, I imagine it was classist and focussed on "dissolute" families.

                                    1. re: lagatta

                                      Given the dynamics of the show's script, I'd serve a banana...split!

                                  2. Oh gosh folks, I was sure that someone would recommend spam inspired appies. Literally they are anything on toothpick that accompanies the spam. They were a staple in my parents 1950's house.

                                    1. I don't know what Betty would serve, but for the 2-hour "Mad Men" premiere I made grilled marinated sirloin steak with traditional steakhouse baked Idaho potatoes, creamed spinach, & "Wedge Salad". Great!

                                      1. Anything on toothpicks--think olives, or radishes--with little international flags at the ends of the toothpicks.
                                        Someone further up the thread mentioned aspic--but it takes me back to 1990s Poland.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Wawsanham

                                          Aspic was already hopelessly old-fashioned before 1960; my Grandma Kuntz would make it for fancy picnics and potlucks in the '50s, but it was always old people that would bring it. And that was smalltown Illinois; heaven knows when it went out of fashion in the cultural nerve centers.

                                          A bunch of us threw a Your Parents' Cocktail Party once, using a James Beard book of hors d'oeuvres and canapés from around 1956 as inspiration. Lime rickeys were the official drink, and the table held such delicacies as salami cornucopias with cream cheese. The book is not at all hard to find in the better sorts of antique malls or used-book stores; the illustrations alone (EVERYBODY'S SMOKING!!!) are worth the trouble.

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            My mother ADORED tomato aspic, and ALWAYS made it for summer parties - especially clambakes. But she usually bumped it up a notch by using "Clamato" juice, good spicy seasonings (Worcestershire, Tabasco, etc.), & made it in individual star-shaped molds. Very fancy & very delicious.

                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                              I actually like aspic--even if it is old fashioned. Fish in aspic, or chicken, or little rolls of meat with a few vegetables like pickles, carot, or a hard boiled egg. Though, I'll admit it isn't what I want every day.

                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                Wawsanham, there's a major difference between clear aspic and tomato; the tomato kind is sort of like a sort of Virgin Mary Jell-O, with the kind of flavors found in V-8 or commercial Bloody Mary mixes. A clear aspic presentation is actually more old-fashioned, dating back probably before Carème, but lots of fun to do for a party table if you're into it. I actually once did produce a cold poached salmon with a clear aspic glaze over a gelatine/mayonnaise layer, with a bed of chopped aspic underneath everything. Our friends just circled it, gaping, until one of us - I think it was Mrs. O - said, "Oh, come on!" and dug into it. But patés in aspic are easy and nice.

                                          2. Judging from the latest episode it would appear that she'd be fine with a bag of chips and two servings of ice cream. Oh my.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              Those were Bugles! Loved those things, but never ate a whole bag.

                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                Ooops. Bugles, of course! How could I! I used to love those, too. And I probably ate a whole bag, but the smaller ones, plus I was a CHILD. Nowadays, all that corn chip saltiness would make me nauseous.