In this book, James Lileks takes his readers back to a time when moms looked like June Cleaver and meals of creamed brains on toast were perfectly acceptable. Really—he’s got the pictures to prove it!
Lileks was inspired to create The Gallery of Regrettable Food after a trip back to his parents’ home in Fargo, North Dakota. That’s where he found Specialties of the House, a cookbook that his mom had gotten from the Welcome Wagon when they moved into the house in the early 60s. The book contained all kinds of horrifying pictures that looked very little like edible dishes—but a lot like something out of a horror film. Lileks then began creating the Gallery online -- and eventually turned it into a big, disturbing book.
The Gallery of
Regrettable Food is 200 pages of absolutely disgusting pictures (taken straight from the cookbooks of the 30s through the 70s)—along with Lileks’s crude commentary. It definitely makes me want to take a closer look at my mom’s cookbook collection.
This book is absolutely pants-wetting-ly hilarious. Every once in a while, I’d read it during the evening, and I’d start making a sound that can best be described as a mix between laughing and gagging—and my husband would continually ask if I was okay.
I have a few tips for reading this book, though. First, don’t read it all at once. I believe it could do permanent damage. Second, don’t read it anywhere near mealtime. Read it before you eat, and you’ll lose your appetite (note: it could, however, be used as a diet aid). Read it after you eat, and, well… never mind. Third, don’t read it before bed. It will create nightmares unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. And, finally, whatever you do, don’t try this at home!