A couple years ago, my then-boss gave me a very thoughtful gift: A vintage 1958 edition of the Gourmet Cookbook, Volume II. To this day I occasionally like to sit down and flip through it, enjoy the quaint little illustrations that separate recipes and inhale the musky aroma of the quinquagenarian pages. The book is mostly text, but it is peppered throughout with occasional color plates to highlight certain recipes.
As one might expect, there’s quite a lot of old-school fare in there, harkening to the deep French roots of continental cuisine so much in vogue at the time. The recipes are amusing enough as it is, but the presentation as well as the preparation is really a snapshot of retro food in the most over-the-top sense; in fact, there’s an entire section dedicated to aspics. To wit: Langue de bouche à la Rochefort, beef tongue poised like a ski slope on a mound of rice, then coated in four layers chaud-froid and decorated with filigree-like slices of truffle.