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Laura Dolson

On the Lighter Side: Old Weight Watchers Recipes

By November 4, 2012

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frankfurterToday, I thought I'd share a laugh for a change of pace.

I love to read recipes from the middle of the 20th century, when it was "exotic" to add a quarter of a teaspoon of curry powder to a recipe. I have an old cookbook which declares that "an elaborate macaroni ring can be quickly and easily made with canned macaroni" and "how dull, how dull tomato juice can be! But interestingly seasoned, frozen, and imaginatively served, it becomes one of the best beginnings for a meal."

Yes, serving food "imaginatively" was all the rage, with results that were...often neither good to look at nor eat! But so much fun to read about. Imagine my delight when I came across this Web site with cards of Weight Watchers recipes from the early 70's. Yes, these were the days before the Low-Fat Craze, when "everyone knew" that the way to lose weight was to cut down on starches and sugar. Wendy McClure came across these cards in her parents basement and thought they were so funny she ended up putting them into a book called The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan: Classic Diet Recipe Cards from the 1970's. The title came from the delectable Fluffy Mackerel Pudding. Yes! High in protein and low in carbs! Let's make it! Hot Wrap Ups are an inventive way to get your day's supply of green veggies -- I love hot lettuce! And then there's perhaps my favorite, Fish "Tacos" spiced up with, yes, a quarter of a teaspoon of chili powder and served over toast!!

The book is still available online, mostly used, by following the links here, and some of the actual recipes are here. Ms. McClure is also the author of I'm Not the New Me and The Wilder Life. I thank her for introducing me to the cards and also the hilarious Web site The Gallery of Regrettable Food (Check out The Unbearable Sadness of Vegetables).

Photo of Frankfurter Spectacular Courtesy of www.candyboots.com

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November 5, 2012 at 2:36 am
(1) Janknitz says:

LOL, the “crown roast of frankfurters” is priceless! The scary part is that my mom was on WW back when, and I remember the recipe cards if not these exact absurd ones.

I do remember my mom was required to eat fish twice weekly and liver once a week so Dad and I endured turbot baked in margarine and non-dairy creamer (a little paprika for color!) and endless liver and onions right along with Mom. Nevertheless, I rember the emphasis on protein and veggies, and bread was severely limited. How we lost our way since then!

November 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm
(2) Betty says:

I lost 80# with WW back in the late 70′s, early 80′s… Followed their program. Unfortunately, it found it’s way back over the years. Tried WW again in about 2003-4 or so – Absolutely could NOT lose weight by eating their recommendations and the way they’d changed it.

But I too had the cards and diet program which was just a bifold sheet of paper – just one sheet. that’s what you ate and only that!! But it worked…

I’m sorry they changed, although at this point am happy with the low carb/higher fat way of life.

November 6, 2012 at 8:25 am
(3) Brian Williams says:

But they are only photos!! I wanted to read the recipes!!

November 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm
(4) Marla says:

Back in the 70′s when I tried WW, one of my favorite recipes was “cheese danish”. Take a slice of bread (of course!!!), spread it with cottage cheese, sprinkle with saccharin and cinnamon, and pop it under the broiler until the cheese melts and browns just a bit. YUM!!!!!

November 8, 2012 at 10:19 am
(5) DebbieC. says:

LOL, I remember those 70s WW days too. Women were allowed one slice of “bread” daily I think, maybe 2. I remember men could have more and it irked me, :-) . But that “bread” was the only starch and it was ONLY bread. I remember a “muffin” recipe where you had to take your slice of bread and crumble it into too crumbs to make the muffin.

But even back then I recall it as being very low fat. I think the allowable added fat was 1 tablespoon a day, and of course they stressed margarine over butter as I recall!

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