I kind of adhere to the old Groucho Marx adage: "I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member." Maybe it's because I'm not much of a joiner, or maybe because I don't exactly feel like I belong anywhere anyway. Or, perhaps, I have a secret fear of initiations. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I signed up for Girl Scouts after Brownies, not realizing that NO ONE else did, and my mom wouldn't let me out of it so I got teased mercilessly on uniform day. These things really do have long term effects, you know. (And I stuck it out and made puppets for sick kids and sold cookies and went roller skating. What torture!)
But when I was little, there was a club I wanted to belong to more than anything: The Mickey Mouse Club, of course. (And I'm talking OLD SCHOOL Mickey Mouse. Not some New Mickey Mouse Club starring Lisa Welchel or Britney Spears. That's just terrible.) I'd watch it religiously, every day after school. I had the record and would play it on my Mickey Mouse Club record player, jumping up and down on my bed with manic glee to "I'm a Happy Mouse" and then flop down and wish I could be as cool as Annette as she sang, "Meetin' at the Malt Shop After School." (I had no idea what a malt shop was. We didn't have one in Alamo in 1976. A Tastee Freeze, yes. A malt shop? Nope. It was something exotic.) I imagined her in her fabulous cowgirl outfit, holding hands with the dreamy Bobby who also was a dancer on The Lawrence Welk Show. Talk about glamorous!
But while I loved that show so much, and my lip would quiver when it was time to say goodbye to all our company, there was one thing I hated:
That awful little strumpet had my name. AND she had CUBBY, the cutest boy on there next to Bobby, because he was older and way out of my league, holding Annette's hand at this malt shop place, after all. NO. Karen had long blonde hair and got to hang out at Disneyland and be in the Mickey Mouse Club. I hated seeing her looking all smug, in a tee shirt with MY name on it, and I would fume as only a rotten eight-year-old can. It should have been ME on that show, not HER. Never mind that it was already 20 something years old by the time I watched it -- Cubby and stardom should have been MINE!
Okay, okay, MMC Karen has nothing to do with me not being in clubs, though it's more fun to blame her. I think the real reason is that I am not a good participant. I joined a book club and stayed for one book, and then it fell off my radar and they could still be meeting for all I know. Then another time I found myself in talks about joining an all girls club called "The Last Call Girls" (get it? HAW HAW) and then they started talking about getting JACKETS made and I was like, "Oh dear." I had to take the meeting minutes for a committee at work the other week and even that sent me into a subtle panic. Groucho is spot on -- I shouldn't be in any club because if there were members like me, that club would be defunct.
But I have found a perfect club, and I am a proud member. If there were cards, I would carry one. It's called The Mid-Century Supper Club.
A few years ago, my boyfriend sent me a link to a blog called, "My House is Cuter Than Yours." And it's true -- her house IS cuter than mine, and probably everyone else's, too. (He found it via Swapatorium, which just had its final posting a few weeks ago, and I'm sad about that.) Mary, of MHICTY, had a regular feature on there where she took old recipes and recreated them with humor, aplomb, and cute dishware. And I thought it was just the most wonderful thing ever.
One of the wonderful creations from My House is Cuter Than Yours
Then this past year, I discovered all the cool things about Flickr I'd missed -- I had always dumped my regular old pictures in there, but I never dreamed it was this whole community of fun and fabulous people and photos. I found groups and photo pools about Pyrex and Bauer pottery and old lamps... be still my heart! And then, afterpoking around, I found The Mid-Century Supper Club Group and actually clicked and joined. Me, not a joiner, was frothing at the mouth to belong to this particular club. And I swear, it has been one of the most fun things that happened to me in 2008.
Started by three lovely mavens, "Charm & Poise,""-Julia-" and "Miss Retro Modern" (everyone has cool Flickr names), The Mid Century Supper Club took Mary's idea and upped the ante, inviting everyone to join in the fun. What you do is you take old recipes from cookbooks circa the mid 20th century (guidelines say 1945 - 1965, but they're not terribly strict) and recreate them (so pictures accompanying the recipe are the best), take your photos and post them to the pool. Genius!
And unlike that Book Club of long ago (we read Seabiscuit, BTW, highly recommended), I have actually participated. With GUSTO. For one thing, it was a great excuse to go thrifting and find a bunch MORE old cookbooks, like I didn't have enough already. And another thing -- I'm a terrible cook, so this was going to be a challenge. And even better -- my boyfriend, a much better cook than I am, was just as into it as I was.
We scoured the cookbooks and decided on 2 recipes to try: I was going to do "Three Men in a Boat" from the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys & Girls, and Jon was going to do "Skillet Franks and Noodles" from Campbell's Cooking With Soup.
Here are the originals:
After much laughter and having to buy shredded dried beef in a jar (that made my cat go insane and she ate some and barfed), here are our finished products:
And they both tasted absolutely TERRIBLE.
Our next feats were much better:
I made Best Oven Hash (and it really WAS):
But Jon totally kicked my butt and did PENGUINS:
How fabulous is that???
Meanwhile, my friend Jennye was inspired, too. She made some delectable creations and then said, "Let's have a Potluck!" and so we did:
Just ONE of the tables of inedible greatness.
And it was so successful, we did it again last weekend:
Wieners were a big theme this time around.
And we're doing it again in December for a WINTER WONDERLAND EXTRAVAGANZA.
So see, this is a club I can (literally) sink my teeth into. Not only is it fun, but it inspires me to participate. And not only participate, but be such an overly enthusiastic cheerleader for it that I have forced my friends to make things like WIENER BOATS and don aprons. (And they LOVE it.) And then I get to share it in the Mid Century Supper Club Pool, where people who Get It say, "That's great!" I must admit, it's nice to belong somewhere and to something. And it's always fun to throw parties where people bring lots of wieners and cheeseballs.
If you'd like to belong, too, check out The Mid-Century Supper Club Group on Flickr, with guidelines, photos and discussions:
MID-CENTURY SUPPERCLUB GROUP
And if you'd like, here are more of my photos:
Mid-Century Supper Club Collection
I highly recommend it. It's even better than singing with Cubby on the Mickey Mouse Club. I swear.
Seventeen down, 80 to go.