In our household we love the show Mad Men. My husband works in advertising and I am currently studying an MA (History) so it well and truly fulfils both our passions. Added to this I think my husband not-so-secretly would like to revert to a time when men could drink scotch during the day and a long lunch was expected if not compulsory. The show is brilliant; I love seeing histories done well for public consumption. Everything from the costumes, set and vernacular takes you back to a recently bygone era that a text book would simply not capture. The show manages to merge drama with history seamlessly; it is truly the visual and physical manifestation of historical fiction.
It is a little unusual that I would choose to review a cookbook but this one is more like an extension of the show. What better way than to understand the social history of 1960s New York than through food and dining?
While being ‘unofficial’, Gelman and Zheutlin have certainly encapsulated the mood of the TV show and era. Each section is ‘peppered’ with anecdotes about the show from a foodie angle. There are recipes from old New York institutions such as Sardi’s and Rockefeller where Don Draper wined and dined (and subsequently got very inebriated of course). Perennial housewives Betty Draper* and Trudy Campbell are represented through their culinary wares. And of course, and probably most importantly, there is the cocktail section. From Martinis to Manhattans, you will shake and stir your way to Madison Avenue.
I probably won’t cook from this cookbook which you would think defeats the purpose of buying it. But it presents the era and the show in such a tantalizing way that I just want to put on a pair of white gloves and mix my husband a good strong drink (and one for me of course!).
*This book was published before Betty became Betty Francis. Thank goodness. I much prefer the Betty Draper years if nothing else, for the fashion.