The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook – Review and Recipes

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

Fans of Mad Men will love The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, but so will those who enjoy the history of food and “retro” recipes.

Authors Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin looked through hundreds of cookbooks, magazines, and advertisements to recreate the recipes as they would have been prepared and presented during the time of the Mad Men. Each recipe starts by setting the scene where viewers saw the food – the party or restaurant, the interaction between the characters, the events going on in the nation that brought about the trends in food seen in the show.

Recipes are divided into chapters on cocktails, appetizers, salads, main courses, and desserts and sweets. While Mad Men is set in the 1960s, many of the popular recipes of the day are still popular at parties today. Recipes like California Dip (also known as French Onion Dip), Stuffed Celery, and Chile Rellenos are barely changed. Others, like the Waldorf Salad, have gone through many changes over the years.

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook looks at the food, drinks, and restaurants in the first four seasons of the show. Over at the blog, the authors are writing about the food in each episode since the book was published. Check it out for more retro recipes and more historical scene setting.

Enjoy the three sample recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook– Connie’s Waldorf Salad, Sardi’s Steak Tartare, and Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake.

Page 2 => Connie’s Waldorf Salad
Page 3 => Sardi’s Steak Tartare
Page 4 => Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake

Connie’s Waldorf Salad

Waldorf AstoriaSeason 3, Episode 6
“Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency”

First prepared in the 1890s at the Waldorf Hotel, the predecessor to the Waldorf-Astoria, the salad’s original recipe of chopped apples and celery tossed with mayonnaise is widely attributed to Oscar Tschirky (of Veal Oscar fame), the Waldorf’s maitre d’hotel. His Waldorf Salad recipe appeared in his 1896 book, The Cook Book by “Oscar of the Waldorf”, and did not contain nuts. He thought adding walnuts was an abomination. By the 1960s, the Waldorf Salad recipe had evolved and included nuts, typically walnuts or pecans, and grapes. Even at the Waldorf, the salad went through many iterations that included such diverse ingredients as smoked chicken, currants, Maine crabmeat, and crispy calamari. Other modern recipes now include raisins, watercress, and/or onions. Today, the Waldorf Salad served at the Waldorf-Astoria includes chopped black truffle shavings and candied walnut halves.

Had Don accepted Connie’s [Conrad Hilton, the famous hotelier] offer to enjoy the salad named for the famed Waldorf-Astoria kitchen, he would have been served the first version below, right out of the Hilton International Cookbook. The second recipe is for the salad as it is served at the Waldorf today. “It may not surprise you to hear that this is the single most frequently requested recipe at the Waldorf-Astoria from people around the world,” wrote John Doherty, executive chef at the Waldorf, in The Waldorf Astoria Cookbook by John Doherty and John Harrisson (1996). “[T]his is my favorite version – it is light, refreshing, and the truffles give it that special touch. In fact, it is more popular now than it has ever been.”

Waldorf Salad

Adapted from Hilton International Cookbook by the Hilton Chefs (Prentice Hall, 1960)

Note: You can use spices of your choice for the seasoned mayonnaise. We prefer salt and pepper to taste.

For the apples, we prefer a tart variety such as Granny Smith. Feel free to add your own favorite additions, such as grapes and nuts.

2 apples (see note)
1 cup diced tender heart of celery
5 tablespoons well-seasoned mayonnaise (see note)
Lettuce, for serving

Peel the apples and remove the cores. Divide each in half and then cut into slices. Reserve 6 slices and cut the remainder into thin julienne strips. Combine the julienne strips of apple with celery and toss with half the mayonnaise. Place the mixture in the middle of a salad bowl and spread with the remainder of the mayonnaise. Garnish the rim of the salad with lettuce leaves and decorate with celery leaves and apple slices.

Yield: 2 servings

Photo of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City/pietroizzo

Page 1 => The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook Review
Page 3 => Sardi’s Steak Tartare
Page 4 => Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake

Sardi’s Steak Tartar

Maker's Mark Old Fashioned at Sardi'sSeason 2, Episode 5
“The New Girl”

There’s no eatery more emblematic of Broadway and the New York theater world than Sardi’s on West 44th Street. An institution since 1921, this restaurant is a favorite of actors, playwrights, producers, and directors. Its famed walls are lined with framed caricatures of every big name, and a few lesser lights, whose talents have graced the Great White Way over the decades.

When actress Shirley Booth came to Sardi’s after her debut in Come Back, Little Sheba in 1950, she inspired a spontaneous standing ovation. Thus began the tradition of opening night parties at Sardi’s, a tradition that continues to this day.

Tableside preparation was, and remains, a sign of class, elegance, and French-inspired sophistication. The servers at today’s Sardi’s will prepare the ground beef concoction with your choice of anchovies, pasteurized eggs, capers, and chopped onions for $29.50, about half a week’s wage for the typical Sterling Cooper copywriter back in 1961.

Steak Tartar
Courtesy of Sardi’s Restaurant, New York, New York

Note: All ingredients should be cold before you begin.

2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons red onions, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons anchovy paste
1 tablespoon English mustard
1 teaspoon pasteurized egg yolk
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
5 dashes Tabasco Sauce (mild)
2 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces steak (5 ounce sirloin steak and 3 ounces filet mignon, finely ground)
Salt, to taste
2 slices black bread, toasted (optional)
1 tablespoon egg yolk from a hard-boiled egg (finely chopped), for garnish

Stir together capers, red onions, anchovy paste, mustard, pasteurized egg yolk, black pepper and olive oil in a medium bowl until semi-paste like. Add Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce and mix until evenly blended with a wooden spoon. Mix in the beef and add salt to taste and mix until well blended. Roll the tartare in the bowl with a spoon. Place on a serving plate, and flatten with spoon and form into elongated oval shape. With a knife, score in a criss-cross shape. Serve on a cold plate with toasted black bread, and garnish with finely chopped egg yolk.

Yield: 1 serving

Maker’s Mark Old Fashioned at Sardi’s/flickr4jazz

Page 1 => The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook Review
Page 2 => Connie’s Waldorf Salad
Page 4 => Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake

Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake

Cherry Pie FillingSeason 4, Episode 9
“The Beautiful Girls”

When Roger Sterling and Joan Harris return to the Tip Toe Inn, a Jewish deli on the corner of Broadway and 86th Street they frequented during their affair, Joan asks Roger why they always went there.

“No chance of running in to anyone and, of course, the cherry cheesecake,” replies Roger as he slides a forkful into his mouth.

Numerous magazines and cookbooks purported to have Lindy’s original recipe, and many variants appeared in print. In her book, How America Eats (1960), the legendary Clementine Paddleford, a food writer for the New York Herald Tribune and food editor for This Week Magazine, claimed that Leo Lindemann, Lindy himself, gave the recipe to her. One of Lindy cheesecake’s most distinctive features was the “cookie dough crust,” unlike the graham cracker crust we find in today’s cheesecake recipes.

Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake
Adapted from How America Eats by Clementine Paddleford (Scribner, 1960)

For the cookie crust
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Pinch of vanilla bean (inside pulp) or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
½ cup butter

For the cheese filling
2 ½ pounds cream cheese
1 ¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons grated orange peel
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon peel
Pinch of vanilla bean (inside pulp) or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
¼ cup heavy cream

For the topping
1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling

Make the crust: Combine flour, sugar, lemon peel, and vanilla. Make a well in the center and add egg yolk and butter. Work together quickly with hands until well blended. Wrap in waxed paper and chill thoroughly in refrigerator, about an hour.

Make the cheese filling: In the large bowl of a mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, orange and lemon peel, and vanilla. Add whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, stirring lightly after each addition. Stir in cream.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide dough in half. Roll one half on a floured board until 1/8 inch thick. Place over oiled or buttered bottom of 9-inch springform cake pan. Trim excess dough. Reassemble pan and butter or oil sides. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, or until a light golden color. Cool.

Increase oven temperature to 475 F. Butter or oil interior sides of cake form and place over base. Press remaining dough against sides of pan. Fill form with cheese mixture and bake at 475 F for 12-15 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 200 F and continue baking for 1 hour. Let the cake cool for at least 2 hours. When cool, spoon cherry pie filling over top of cake. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 12-16 servings

Cherry pie filling photo via Shutterstock

Page 1 => The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook Review
Page 2 => Connie’s Waldorf Salad
Page 3 => Sardi’s Steak Tartare

Written by Heather Carr

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