corner corner The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan: Classic Diet Recipe Cards from the 1970s

This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!

6 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, January 19, 2008

8 out of 10

I liked this one so much I picked up another copy...

It's a collection of too-bad-to-be-believed recipes from a set of Weightwatchers cards, including the title-inspiring "Fluffy Mackerel Pudding" -- I only wish I were making this up! From the back cover:


I found them while helping my parents clean out their basement a few years ago. They were neatly arranged in their own plastic file box. Plenty of the dishes seemed normal enough, but as I flipped through them, some of the recipes began to alarm me. And then I found the card for the "Rosy Perfection Salad."

I fell over. I mean I Iaughed so hard I started coughing, and I fell back on the floor and waved the card at my mom, who just rolled her eyes. "Can I please have these? Please?" I begged. "What do you want them for?" she asked. "To cook?" "No," I said. She let me have them. I think they might have been my grandma's, but she never copped to actually buying them. Nobody else did, either.

As far as I know, I was never served any of these dishes as a child. I probably would have repressed the memory, anyway.

I've seen quite a few wildly-amusing (and often stomach-churning) recipes from decades past, including those on the marvelous Gallery of Regrettable Food by james Lileks, and this collection is a marvelous addition to the set. One of the aspects of these cards that seems the most incomprehensible is the truly awful photo quality, from the choices of accessories to offset the food to the presentation of the food itself, and including a pretty dreary choice of color palette. Even good meals would look pretty horrible if framed and photographed this way, and it makes these bizarre dishes even more disturbing. And McClure's comments on each recipe add wonderfully to the effect (though in some cases I would have liked to see the ingredient list, if only to confirm that the dish was as bad as it seemed).

I laughed out loud at many of the entries here, and cringed at more than a few. Some of my favorites, with McClure's commentary: Fish Balls ("Why, they're much bigger than one would think. The fisherman would like you to know that he has an impressive pair of buoys, too."), Fluffy Mackerel Pudding ("Once upon a time the world was young and the words 'mackerel' and 'pudding' existed far, far away from one another. One day, that all changed. And then, whoever was responsible somehow thought the word fluffy would help. Oh, and eggs, too."), Frankfurter Spectacular ("I had no idea frankfurters could be so spectacular. Wow! I would almost be willing to upholster a whole damn pineapple with pork product just to be able to say I was serving Frankfurter Spectacular. Say it with me: Frankfurter! Spectacular!"), and Pimiento Puree ("Because the only thing that was keeping you from downing a seven-ounce jar of pimientos all at once was having to chew them.").

You can see some samples, including the photos of the items I listed above, on McClure's web site, Just don't view them while eating! 

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, February 10, 2008

This book has not been rated.

I'm offering this book for an international bookring; see forum thread here, and reply to that thread if interested!

Bookring instructions:

1. When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book. Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookring book at this time.

2. Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within three weeks of receiving it (it's short!). If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the bookring, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.

3. When you're ready to pass the book along, please make another journal entry containing your comments about the book and stating where you've sent it, and set the book's status code to "travelling". [If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.]

Participants, in mailing order:

Vamperstein8782 [UK]
chich [France]
nicolesinger [NC]
NMReader [NM]
Megi53 [VA]
...and back to GoryDetails [New Hampshire] 

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Controlled release: I sent the book off to BCer Vamperstein8782 in the UK today, to kick off the bookring. Hope everyone enjoys it! 

Journal Entry 4 by AMJ-898913 on Friday, February 22, 2008

10 out of 10

Arrived safely today, and boy did I need the laugh this little gem provided! I actually laughed so hard I cried at some of McClure's little side-notes.

My favorites are Frankfurter Pie: "You know when you were a kid you walked in on your parents? And when you repressed the memory, it wound up looking like this? Good luck with therapy!", Onion Sauce: "They call this 'Onion Sauce', but it looks more like the end of a snuff film to me" and Overnight Stew: "If you think this is bad, you should see what Morning-After Stew looks like."

There are quite a few that make you go "EWWW!" when you see the photos, and a couple that fool you by looking okay but have the eww! factor hand-delivered by McClure "What makes this Lime Special special? BEEF BROTH. I wish I were kidding."

This book is a fantastic read if you want to either have a laugh or gross yourself out, and the only thing that could make it better would be to have the actual recipes included so you really could confirm just how whacked out folks were in the '70s! Though you do have to hand it to them - as a diet it was probably highly successful; as Nickelback say in their current song "We'll all stay thin 'cause we just won't eat!"

I would have rated this an 8, but I had to give it two bonus points for achieving a feat previously thought impossible by everyone who knows me (myself included): it revealed a beverage containing coffee that I would not touch if you offered to pay off all my debts, get me a green card and buy me a condo somewhere on the East Coast of the U.S.A. That beverage is "Coffee Bubblers". I'll leave you to discover why, but I will say that whoever came up with the idea needs to be hung, drawn, quartered and fried for their crimes. It's not coffee, it's just plain wrong.

Will mail on as soon as I have chich's address. 

Journal Entry 5 by AMJ-898913 on Saturday, March 01, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Mailed out to chich yesterday. 

Journal Entry 6 by chich from Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Sunday, March 09, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Image hosting by Photobucket Book received today, thanks a lot Vamperstein8782

Journal Entry 7 by chich from Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Monday, March 10, 2008

9 out of 10

This book is absolutely hilarious! Like Vamperstein8782, I actually laughed so hard while reading some of McClure's comments on the recipes that I ended up crying:-] Some of my favorite recipes are: Versatile chicken in aspic ("[...]each piece is its own self-contained Grow Your Own Deadly Bacteria kit. It's fun! It's easy! You don't even need a petri dish! It's just like having an ant farm[...]"), Mackerelly ("Sometimes mere adjectives for mackerel are not enough. Sometimes mackerel is mackerel unto itself. Sometimes you just have to let go. Mackerelease yourself. Embrace mackereality."), Roast chicken, Italian-style ("Ever wonder what that movie Carrie would have been like if it had been cast with chickens instead of people and also possible entirely reconceived as a porno?"), Inspiration Soup, etc...

As GoryDetails mentioned, the photo quality is just awful and the choice of props is, well, surprising, to say the least! I'm "only" giving this a nine because I think it would have been nice to include the actual recipes (I'm really curious at how you can manage to come up with such bizarre-looking dishes!). I liked this book so much I actually ordered a copy last night so I could share it with my sister who owns a restaurant;)

Thanks for providing the links for both this book and James Lileks' "Gallery of Regrettable Food" GoryDetails, they shall be a source of never ending inspiration;)! I'd never heard of Lileks before but I'll definitely add some of his books to my wishlist as soon as I finish writing this (a quick glimpse at Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s makes it hard to resist!).

Thanks again for sharing GoryDetails!

I've already PMed nicolesinger asking for her address and will send her the book as soon as she confirms it

Journal Entry 8 by chich from Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Mackerels sent swimming across the ocean today:) Happy reading nicolesinger!

Entry #10 for the 2008 Keep Them Moving Challenge

Journal Entry 9 by nicolesinger from Newport, North Carolina USA on Monday, March 17, 2008

This book has not been rated.

It's here, it's here! Can't wait to read it... 

Journal Entry 10 by nicolesinger from Newport, North Carolina USA on Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Wow, that was short. Started last night, and finished up this morning.

I feel kind of bad that I didn't enjoy this as much as everyone else. Some of the entries were quite funny, and some of the cards almost beg to be made fun of, and yet... while I enjoy a good snark as well as the next person, I felt as though the author kept slipping over the line into being mean-spirited and full of herself. Of course, it's possible I just took some of the comments the wrong way, but that nagging feeling soured it for me.

And the ones that were funny were QUITE funny. Such as the comment on Deviled Crab Casserole. (I know, Satan's a sh*tty cook, but you try telling him he can't come to the potluck. You have to admit it's cool how the lid floats up all by itself, just like that kid in The Exorcist.)

I, too, would have liked to see the recipies. Just to see, you know?

I PMed NMReader for an address when I got the book yesterday; if I don't hear back in a day or two, I'll PM again.


P.S. I would totally try the Coffee Bubblers, just to say I'd done it... 

Journal Entry 11 by nicolesinger from Newport, North Carolina USA on Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This book has not been rated.

It's on its way, via first-class mail from the Morehead City Post Office.

Happy travel, little book! 

Journal Entry 12 by NMReader from Herndon, Virginia USA on Friday, March 21, 2008

This book has not been rated.

It was in my mailbox this afternoon. Looking forward to reading. 

Journal Entry 13 by NMReader from Herndon, Virginia USA on Monday, March 31, 2008

8 out of 10

OMG! I laughed. I cried. I wanted to barf.

This was truly discouraging and I am sure if these were the only food options available to me I would lose weight or commit suicide.

Quick read. I would agree some of the discussion was delightful and witty but some was just mean spirited. 

Journal Entry 14 by NMReader at Post Office in by mail, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Monday, March 31, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Released 10 yrs ago (3/31/2008 UTC) at Post Office in by mail, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases



Taken to the PO. Had a difficult time answering the question about if it contains anything hazardous. 

Journal Entry 15 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Wednesday, April 02, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Came in the mail today. I've already burst out laughing at the Frozen Cheese Salad (card #11 on page 21).

Nice to see the exquisite Grove of Books bookplate IRL -- the photo on the supply store site doesn't do it justice. 

Journal Entry 16 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Thursday, April 03, 2008

9 out of 10

I enjoyed laughing at this last night. Read it twice -- once for the food descriptions and once to make sure I didn't miss any of the truly weird props. (But, honestly, I'd like to have that cool metal stand-up cat next to the "cocktail favorites" on page 119. And I actually do have the metal stand-up piggy bank on page 78 -- never occurred to me to decorate a buffet table with it, though.)

My favorites were:

Cold Tomato Soup, watched over by two ceramic dogs. "Here, Buster! Here, Dorothy Elvis Methuselah V! Time for soup!"

Jellied Tomato Refresher. "The time you spend eating these is time you'll want back at the very end of your life. That's why they're served with a clock."

Crab Newburg. "Wow, Crab Newburg on pink velvet, and it's only your first date with the Miami drug lord."

Cevapcici. "These spicy meatballs are made with beef and lamb and topped with ... melted yellow squirrel."

I think I could try a small bite or sip of any of these recipes, even the Coffee Bubblers and Snacks on a Stick, except for Hot Wrap Ups. Iceberg lettuce leaves wrapping celery and topped with capers, lime slices, and a sprig of parsley. And they're hot?! Maybe they meant spicy-hot rather than heated-in-the-microwave-hot. I hope so.

In Weight Watchers' defense, I belonged to a local group for a short time in the 70's, and we were required to eat chicken livers once a week. I don't remember anything about mackerel, however ... or toast points ... or radishes.

Mailed to GoryDetails on April 9.


Journal Entry 17 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, April 14, 2008

This book has not been rated.

The Amazing Mackerel Pudding arrived home safely today - many thanks to all who participated! [I think this is the fastest-traveling bookring I've ever run; more thanks for moving it along so quickly. Perhaps there is something to be said for "lite" reading, if you'll pardon the expression!] 

Journal Entry 18 by wingGoryDetailswing at Showcase Cinema in Woburn, Massachusetts USA on Saturday, May 03, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Released 10 yrs ago (5/3/2008 UTC) at Showcase Cinema in Woburn, Massachusetts USA



I left this book on a table in the lobby of the Showcase Cinema in Woburn at about 3, while on my way in to see "Iron Man" with some friends. Hope the finder enjoys the book! 

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.