by John Idstrom on April 13, 2013


It is undeniably true that many things are best left behind, and that certainly goes for much of the Mad Men 1960s. Jim Crow laws, draft cards, and curlers are but a few relics rightfully discarded. Much of what passed for cuisine in the 1960s also deserves to be stuffed in the In-Sink-Erator.

As Exhibit A, I offer the culinary abomination that was powdered milk. What motivation middle-class American mothers had — fully equipped, as they were, with functioning harvest gold and avocado green refrigerators — to foist nasty, dehydrated lactate on their thirsty spawn remains a mystery with no satisfactory answer.

Of course, the excuse given was that powdered milk was cheaper than the udder kind, which is consistent with the coupon-clipping, stamp-book-filling ethos that existed in the broad middle class of the day. However, I think the real reason is that we were all in the process of becoming enamored of the technologization of food, not to mention of the rest of our lives. If it could be dehydrated, packaged, put into a packet, or sucked through a straw, it was good. We were beguiled by fake food, like polyunsaturated margarine (a/k/a oleo at our house). Heroic Apollo astronauts drank powdered Tang and ate mush from plastic packets, and if it was good enough for them, it was good enough for us. How I became convinced that powdered orange drink was preferable to fresh-squeezed orange juice is bewildering, but I am sure it had something to do with mountains of pulverized sugar.

Still, the era managed to leave us with some classic dishes that, while dated, deserve to be remembered and even resuscitated. Today’s classic technically dates back to the 1920s, but achieved the height of its popularity in the Swingin’ Sixties: green goddess dressing.

My bet is that it’s been decades since you have had a proper green goddess-dressed salad. How about whipping one up for a new episode of Mad Men? Here’s how:

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

½ cup mayonnaise (at all costs, resist the urge to replace with Miracle Whip)
Half of a peeled and pitted Haas avocado
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup fresh chives
1 chopped scallion (including the green part)
1-2 anchovy filets (white anchovy is preferred)
1 tsp. champagne vinegar
¼ tsp. minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and twirl until creamy. Serve with a wedge of iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, and tomato wedges.

Eat well.

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John Idstrom thinks and writes about food at

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