“Mad Men,” scheduled to begin broadcasting its final season April 5, slavishly recreates the 1960s in every detail, from desktop ashtrays to skinny ties and go-go boots. Drinks – poured straight from bottles in the office – often get more air time than food, but the show’s stars flit past canape platters at parties and order chicken Kiev and cherry cheesecake at restaurants.
For a virtual Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook Finale Party, I honored the party theme by making Old Fashioneds as well as Cocktail Nibblers (with Chex cereal) and Stuffed Celery.
All the recipes come from the cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin, which ties every episode to a character or scene in the show.
Like all the props, the food in the show is carefully curated. The 1960s top selling Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook appears in Betty’s kitchen. Is the “Galloping Gourmet” far behind? The drinks and snacks that I made created a festive cocktail hour, even after 50 years. Cheers to the new season and to creator Matthew Weiner, who studied philosophy, literature and history at Wesleyan University, where I did the same — and he managed to make it pay off.
The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook‘s Old Fashioned
Makes 1 drink
1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry
1 teaspoon sugar
Few drops Angostura bitters
A splash of soda water to muddle ingredients
2 1/2 ounces rye or bourbon
1. In a mixing glass, muddle the orange slice, cherry, sugar, bitters, and a little soda water; push around and break up the cherry and orange until the flavor is released.
2. Add soda water so the cherry is wet and the sugar is melted. Add rye or bourbon and serve over rocks, if desired.
2 cups pretzel sticks
3/4 cup peanuts
6 cups corn and/or wheat crispy cereal squares, such as Chex
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Break the pretzels into small pieces. Mix with peanuts and cereals in a large roasting pan.
2. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion salt, and celery salt to the butter. Pour over the mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool before serving.
The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook‘s Stuffed Celery
Makes about 8 servings
3 ounces soft cream cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
8 chopped stuffed olives
10 minced, blanched almonds
4 long, wide crisp celery sticks
1. Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, olives, and almonds in a small bowl.
2. Stuff celery stalks with the filling. Chill well. Cut into bite-sized (2-3 inch long) pieces before serving.