Mad Men dinner party ideas?

ruthanna_gwMarch 13, 2013

3/19/14 NOTE: The final season's Mad Men premier will be Sunday, April 13, 2014, so there's still time to plan a viewing party. We are repeating ours but another couple will be hosting so I won't have to cook this time.

[Sunday, April 7th is the season premier of the TV show Mad Men. We are planning a pre-show dinner and dessert during the show for four of our friends.]

I haven't planned the menu yet but think it would be fun for it to be representative of the mid to late 60s period when the show has been taking place.

The first entree that came to mind was the Beef Wellington that malna posted on the last Virtual Dinner thread. One of our friends suggested creme de Menthe parfaits for dessert.

Any ideas including appetizers and cocktails would be appreciated. I would like it to be dinner party fare rather than casual.

***recap & pix at bottom

This post was edited by ruthanna on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 10:36

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Teresa_MN

Gin Gimlets as one of the starter cocktails. Rumaki or anything wrapped in bacon. Ham salad shaped into a fish and served with Townhouse crackers.

I think either Beef Wellington or Steak Diane for the entree.

You could do pineapple upside down cake for dessert and offer grasshoppers for an after dinner drink along with brandy alexanders.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:59AM
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Teresa_MN

No 60's party would be complete without a Jello dish containing some kind of canned fruit.

Here is a link to "Under the Sea Salad" originally published in the Joys of Jello, 1963. There is nothing in it related to the sea however.
This website is kind of cool. There are links to recipes that go back to the 1800's.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click Americana website

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:13AM
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compumom

Jello mold-- Beautiful molds, perhaps individual ones. My mother made gorgeous molds. I have her recipe box and some treasured cookbooks. I can look later for recipes if you're interested. I love the idea of a Mad Men dinner. I did something similar for another show a few years back. Cosmo's were served. "Nuff said... :-P

Ham salad? Not part of my youth for sure!

Creme de Menthe is perfect, although any parfait would be great, especially after a heavy meal like beef wellington-- which I think is a great idea!!!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:30AM
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ann_t

I'd be more tempted to go with a 1960's Steak House Menu. You know the kind of place the "expense account" Mad Men executives patronized.

I'd start with Oysters on the half shell, Oysters Florentine or a Shrimp Cocktail. Caesar salad made table side. Good piece of beef - Rib Eye, Prime Rib, Chateaubriand with all the sides.

And some decadent dessert - Cheese cake , Flan, Creme Brulee, etc..
Edited to correct typing error.

This post was edited by ann_t on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 11:44

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:30AM
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triciae

If you wanted a "theme" menu, weren't the "Hawaiian" buffets popular in the late 60s? Maybe too casual?

Also Jackie O. and Julia Child had influenced American food by then. Vichychoisse would seem a good soup course.

/tricia

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:12PM
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ann_t

French Onion soup and escargot would also work with a 60's theme.

I like your idea of Beef Wellington. It always makes for a special dinner.

~Ann

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Fondue was a big deal as I recall in the 60s as was catalina dressing on iceberg lettuce and jello mold. Bundt cakes too were popular. Stuffed celery and chex mix and crescent rolls wrapped around the cocktail weenies. And I recall eating a lot of lasagne with garlic bread.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:13PM
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emeraldisle624

I don't have any ideas but just wanted to say your party sounds so great, I wish I was going! Awesome ideas here!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:34PM
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chase_gw

To start, Tomato aspic, wedge salad, tiny, tiny shrimps in a cocktail glass with sauce. We're we the only family who served a glass of tomato juice to start the meal?

Ann's steak house menu sounds perfect.

Drinks..... martini's gimlets, Rob Roy, Sidecar, Manhattans. Whiskey Sour

Desserts...pineapple upside down cake, banana pudding with those valilla wafers, cherries jubilee

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:03PM
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centralcacyclist

The Food Timeline has lots of information and links:

Signature dishes & popular trends
Kennedy style entertaining
Menus for entertaining
Thanksgiving menus
Christmas menus
Buffet ideas
Cocktail parties
Space Needle recipes [1962 World's Fair/Seattle]
Alice's Restaurant [1967 Arlo Guthrie song & real restaurant]
Picnic notes
Baby boomer kid favorites
Halloween candies
School lunch: Cafeteria service & brought from home
New product introductions
Popular American brands
Favorite kitchen appliances
Classroom suggestions (simple & portable!)

Here is a link that might be useful: 1960s Food.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:49PM
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ghoghunter

Wow! What a fab sounding party!! I want to be invited!! All the suggestions are great.
Joann
PS I do vote for a jello mold! I had a whole collection of molds and The Joy of Jello cookbook!!! What a walk down memory lane.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:27PM
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ruthanna_gw

Thank you so much for all the great ideas. I printed them out and will take along to discuss when DH and I go out for dinner tonight.

I never thought I would regret giving away my copy of the Sterns' American Gourmet but I just dug out from the attic a 1968 Junior League cookbook called Entirely Entertaining - A Book of Party Menus and Recipes.

I'll keep you up to date.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:56PM
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DineLikeDraper

Hi,

You'll find many ideas in our book, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, and our on website (and blog): http://www.unofficialmadmencookbook.com

Enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:22PM
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dedtired

For some reason, tropical themed food was popular in the 1960s -- things like Waikiki Pork Chops, Polynesian Pork and Maitai Chicken, and a chicken salad called Fonduloha. Also, Turkey a la King, and tomato aspic (or was that the 50's?),

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:27PM
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lpinkmountain

You know, the main guys on "Mad Men" are not your typical middle class suburbanites. They are upper class urban sophisticates. I'm not feelin' the jello for them unless it was a picnic where everyone brought the kids. Then yes, jello. Otherwise, stuff like shrimp, caviar, fancy appetizers, beef, butter sauces, stuff molded (like aspic or salmon mousse) or wrapped in pastry, rich cakes, crepes, flaming desserts, etc. Those blissful years before everyone had their first heart attack!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:52AM
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ruthanna_gw

Dedtired, I remember the Tiki era, including many trips to the Kona Kai in your neck of the woods.
Barnmom, I bookmarked your link to get lost in on a rainy day.

DH is envisioning a Supper Club menu, somewhere in between the home dinner party and the gourmet restaurants where they'd take clients and their wives.

So far, all I'm set on is first course of clams Casino or oysters Rockefeller, entree of beef (Theresa, Steak Diane is calling to me) or Veal Oscar (with fresh asparagus instead of canned), tableside-made Caesar salad, broiled tomatoes with crumbs, Duchesse potatoes, no green vegetables, and Peach Melba for dessert. Cocktails and appetizers to be figured out later.

I'm going to pass on the jello salad, since I just can't picture Don Draper eating one in a restaurant. We did do the jello molds with a mandarin orange, maraschino cherry, and pineapple mix for our church's 50's TV Party dinner and they were well-received.

Thanks again. Anyone else looking forward to this season's show?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:18PM
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centralcacyclist

Ruthanna, your menu sounds like perfection. I'll look forward to your photos.

I have never seen the show but I understand it's quite good.

Eileen

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:27PM
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louiseab

I love oysters done this way. I use the small ones, can't remember what they're called.

Baked Oyster Rockefeller
• 10 ounce bag of spinach, washed
• 1 teaspoon butter
• 1 tablespoon butter, divided
• 6 slices bcaon, diced
• 1 shallot, finely diced
• 1/4 cup white wine
• 1 cup heavy cream
• pinch of nutmeg
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon Pernod (optional)
• 1 egg yolk
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 10 cups Kosher salt for baking and serving (about 3 lbs)
• 16 oysters, scrubbed
• 5 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1.
2. To shuck oysters, using towel, hold oyster flat on work surface, flat shell up. Insert tip of oyster knife into hinge and twist to open shell. Slide knife along inside of upper shell to free oyster from shell; discard upper shell. Slide knife under oyster to free from lower shell; leave in shell. Repeat with remaining oysters
3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp butter over medium heat. Add spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until spinach has wilted. Drain spinach, squeezing out extra liquid, and coarsely chop. Set aside.
4. In a separate medium skillet, sauté bacon over medium heat, 5-6 minutes, or until fat has rendered. Remove all bacon and extra fat except for 1 tbsp bacon fat from the pan. Reserve bacon.
5. Add 1 tbsp butter to remaining bacon fat and melt. Add shallot and sweat 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add white wine to deglaze the pan and stir until pan is almost dry, 2-3 minutes.
6. Add cream, nutmeg and black pepper. Allow liquid to reduce by half, approximately 3 minutes. Add Pernod, if using. Remove from heat.
7. Add wilted spinach to cream mixture and season to taste with pepper. Add egg yolk and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
8. Preheat oven to 400 F.
9. To assemble oysters, spread 5 cups kosher salt in a large shallow baking pan. Nestle oysters in their shell in the salt. Spoon spinach mixture evenly over oysters, and top each oyster with 1 tsp breadcrumbs, and 1 tsp Parmesan cheese. Bake oysters in preheated oven for 5-6 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden.

  1. As oysters come out of the oven, sprinkle each with reserved bacon. Serve warm oysters in shells, nestled in remaining kosher salt (about 5 cups), on a platter.
    Baked Oyster Rockefeller
    1. To shuck oysters, using towel, hold oyster flat on work surface, flat shell up. Insert tip of oyster knife into hinge and twist to open shell. Slide knife along inside of upper shell to free oyster from shell; discard upper shell. Slide knife under oyster to free from lower shell; leave in shell. Repeat with remaining oysters
    2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp butter over medium heat. Add spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until spinach has wilted. Drain spinach, squeezing out extra liquid, and coarsely chop. Set aside.
    3. In a separate medium skillet, sauté bacon over medium heat, 5-6 minutes, or until fat has rendered. Remove all bacon and extra fat except for 1 tbsp bacon fat from the pan. Reserve bacon.
    4. Add 1 tbsp butter to remaining bacon fat and melt. Add shallot and sweat 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add white wine to deglaze the pan and stir until pan is almost dry, 2-3 minutes.
    5. Add cream, nutmeg and black pepper. Allow liquid to reduce by half, approximately 3 minutes. Add Pernod, if using. Remove from heat.
    6. Add wilted spinach to cream mixture and season to taste with pepper. Add egg yolk and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
    7. Preheat oven to 400 F.
    8. To assemble oysters, spread 5 cups kosher salt in a large shallow baking pan. Nestle oysters in their shell in the salt. Spoon spinach mixture evenly over oysters, and top each oyster with 1 tsp breadcrumbs, and 1 tsp Parmesan cheese. Bake oysters in preheated oven for 5-6 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden.
    9. As oysters come out of the oven, sprinkle each with reserved bacon. Serve warm oysters in shells, nestled in remaining kosher salt (about 5 cups), on a platter.
    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:07PM
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chas045

I know nothing of the upper middle class activities but I checked with the wife who's father would have been hanging at the same restaurants (different table) with Don and the gang. She was taken to Trader Vic's (I kept typing Joe's) and had Turtle Soup. Yes, real turtle, yikes. She strongly suggests, and no one has mentioned, Baked Alaska and agrees with Cherries Jubilee.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:19PM
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dedtired

Ruthanna, I adore Mad Men and can hardly wait for it to start.

I also remember going to Kona Kai at the Marriott on City Line Avenue. So sophisticated, at least it seemed that way at the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: kona kai

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 3:56PM
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ann_t

Ruthanna, I think you have chosen the perfect menu.

~Ann

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:21AM
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lpinkmountain

I remember my folks had a fancy New Year's party when I was a kid, back in the mid 60's. Only two things I remember because I had a babysitter and had to go to bed early. But there were frogs legs on the menu, which kinda disappointed me because they didn't really look much like little froggies, and a big bowl of shrimp with cocktail sauce which I got in trouble for eating a bunch off the buffet table. Oh, and when I was five I went to a fancy party at my godfather's Detroit penthouse, and he got the biggest kick out of me scarfing down the caviar.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:42PM
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ruthanna_gw

Thank you for the recipe, Louise. Yours sounds more appealing than the one I have.

Chas, you can tell your wife that there are still a few old restaurants in our area that serve turtle soup with the glass cruet of sherry alongside for the diner to mix in. I considered cherries jubilees, bananas Foster or any of the other flaming desserts from that era but since we'll be serving it after the show starts, I wanted to go for something that could be made somewhat ahead and assembled during a commercial. I've seen many photos of Baked Alaska in books but never made or tasted one.

Dedtired, that's the one. I also remember going to The Library in that vicinity around the same time.

Lpink, shrimp were relatively more expensive then compared to now so they only appeared in abundance at my parents' annual Christmas Eve open house. My mom didn't add them to the buffet table until about a hour after the party started and the guests who came overly hungry were mostly satisfied.

Plans are on track.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 4:52PM
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johnliu_gw

I haven't much to add on the food and drink, but I do think you should insist that all attend in total Mad Men attire. I love the clothing of that period, and should your friends be the sort who only own cargo shorts and Keens, smashing 1960's suits and dresses can be had at vintage and thrift clothing stores for rather little, $20-60.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 6:04PM
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ruthanna_gw

The Mad Men dinner went off without any hitches and we had so much fun, both in the research and planning and in the dining. John, we didn't dress in period clothing since we do that enough for Murder Mystery dinners.

Cocktails were frozen daiquiris made in the blender and Old Fashioneds. Because we wanted to be finished eating before the show started, cocktail fare was confined to various spiced and buttered nuts, cheese straws, and an olive tray. First course was mushroom consommé.

It wasn't until DH was creating the Caesar salad that I thought of pictures. I put the rest of the courses on a small serving table on the way to the main table and snapped them, not realizing that my usual red dishes blended right in with the black tablecloth. Oh, well, at least you can see the food.

Main course got changed fron Veal Oscar to what we called Veal Roger because I had to substitute shrimp for the crabmeat. Sides were individual potato soufflés and broiled tomatoes.

We ate the dessert of Peach Melba Meringues during the show, along with coffee and liqueurs that had been languishing in the liquor cabinet forever. I made the meringues and Melba sauce from scratch and used peaches our neighborhood co-op canned last summer.

All of us had watched Mad Men since its first episode and felt that the dinner captured the spirit of the show and set the stage for the new season. Thanks so much for all your input.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:06AM
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rob333

I'm so glad you posted! I thought of you several times over the weekend, wondering how it went. I love updates. Good job Ruthanna!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:00AM
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dedtired

So what did you think of the episode? Strange. Too bad you didn't have blue cocktails with umbrellas in them, and raost pig.

Your food looks yummy, especially the Peach Melba.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:09PM
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ruthanna_gw

Ded, there were so many new characters and plot twists, it was hard to absorb them all. I will not plan on going out next Sunday night or changing my hair color to black.

I was glad we didn't go with a flaming dessert because the Melbas' assembly only took a few minutes away from the show.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:24PM
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ann_t

Great menu and dinner. Your pictures are amazing. Especially the veal and shrimp. Beautifully plated. And I really like the idea of the meringue with the peach melba.

Your guests must have been thrilled.

Ann

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:41PM
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compumom

Wow what a perfect meal!! Nice job on the planning and the visuals. I'm certain that everything was delicious!!
What a fun idea!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:34AM
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ruthanna_gw

Thanks for all your positive comments. We often have dinner guests but I never take pictures because It seems inappropriate. These two couples are our closest friends and they know I belong to cooking forums so not much explanation was needed and it didn't delay dinner, as I usually only snap for less than a minute.

I just realized that Veal Oscar was the first meal photo I ever posted on the CF. I was clueless about using Photobucket and didn't have a digital camera but did have the photo as an e-mail attachment from DD so I forwarded it to Ann and she kindly posted it for me. I don't remember how long ago it was.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:41AM
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dedtired

I don't know, Ruthanna, you may be ravishing as a brunette. Betty didn't look so great. She is one of my favorite characters. It was such a time of change and she seems to have been caught in the old ways. Her little speech to her husband regarding her daughter's friend was not so admirable. I guess I just wish better things for her. My other favorite is Peggy, who seems to be grabbing on to the "new" while still suffering the old values.

I also remember being thrilled when I figured out how to post a picture. Talk about change!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:34PM
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maggie2094

Wow...looks amaze! My husband would love the Veal Roger...maybe for his birthday. Is there a recipe somewhere?

The peach Melba looks to die for! We had that as our wedding dessert.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:35PM
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ruthanna_gw

Maggie, I don't use a recipe so looked around on the Internet and this one was the closest to how I make it. I deveined the raw shrimp and cut them in half lengthwise so they wouldn't stick up too high. I sauteed them in the butter after the veal was done but didn't add the green onions or Worcestershire sauce. The only other change I made was using fresh asparagus, which I steamed in the microwave and then plunged into ice water the day before, then refrigerated in a covered container overnight. I only cook the veal about 2 or 3 minutes per side over medium-high heat, then remove the pan for it to cool down a bit before adding the seafood.

VEAL OSCAR

1 1/2 lbs. veal cutlets, cut into serving-size pieces
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 c. fresh lump crab meat
1/2 c. chopped green onions
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen asparagus spears, cooked (optional)
Bearnaise Sauce
Chopped fresh parsley

Flatten cutlets to 1/4 inch thickness, if necessary. Combine flour and seasonings; dredge cutlets in flour mixture. Cook veal in melted butter in a large skillet until browned on both sides. Remove meat, and keep warm, reserving drippings in skillet.

Add crab meat, green onions, and Worcestershire sauce to drippings in skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thoroughly heated.

Arrange asparagus over each piece of veal, if desired. Spoon crab meat mixture evenly over asparagus; top with Bearnaise Sauce. Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:59PM
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maggie2094

Ok, thank you so much! My husbands bday is next month...fm he would love this. Hope I can pull off lol

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:09PM
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mitchdesj

great pictures, I'm late to the party so I had to search for this thread !!!!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 1:13PM
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maggie2094

Ruthanna? Sorry I'm back drooling over your pic lol. How do you do the broiled tomatoes?

Ty!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 4:22PM
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ruthanna_gw

Sorry for the delay, Maggie. Cut off about the top quarter of the tomatoes and a very thin sliver off the bottoms to let them stand upright. Leaving the sides intact, hollow out about 1/4" indentation on the top. Turn them upside down to drain for an hour or so.

For the crumbs, melt about a tablespoon of butter in a small dish and mix in 3 - 4 Tbs. fine dry bread crumbs, S & P, and any herbs or spices you want to add. Sometimes I mix in about 2 tsp. of finely grated cheese.

Bake tomatoes without crumbs at 350 or 375 for about 10 - 15 minutes, enough to heat them up but not get soft and lose their shape.

Remove from oven and blot tops with paper towels. Add crumbs and put under broiler about 8" from heat source until golden brown.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 11:45AM
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maggie2094

Thank you very much. Is perfect timing. Tried to respond before but didnt post. On last minute time schedule...today is his birthday! Not doing veal now because it was $16.99 pound. Was going to sub pork cutlets but didnt have time to get to that store shere they are good. Ended up picking up shrimp for 8.99 pound so plan b is Shrimp Scampi over angel hair with your tomatoes.

Just made Boston Cream Pie with my daughter. Daddy's fave! Not a looker but hope it taste good!

Thank you so much, Ruthanna for the inspiration,

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 3:30PM
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ruthanna_gw

Per request, reviving this thread.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:39AM
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