Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Wishes

Hi Retro Weight Watcher Pals!

I know I have been absent for the past few weeks from the Land of Blogger and Twitter as well as the Book of Face. And I know you have all been wondering, "Where is Mimi?" I am sure you have all been asking yourself the same question - "Has Mimi fallen off the Retro WW Wagon? AGAIN???"

So I just wanted to drop by to let everyone know that I am alive and well.

I have just been a little busy.

And I haven't fallen off the wagon. But I did gain 2.3 pounds.

Yes - 2.3 adorable, furry pounds of puppy love!!!

Meet Oakley!

I adopted a new puppy and he has been keeping me very, VERY busy! I really had no idea how much an 8-week-old puppy was going to cramp my fabulous style. Goodness gracious! But it has been totally worth it.

It is very hard to Tweet while holding a puppy

Anyway...I plan to get back to my regular blogging and Retro Weight Watchering in the early part of 2013. But in the meantime, I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season!

Mimi & Santa in 1972

Hope Santa treats you very well this year! Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

In Which I Become a Food Stylist

Update: I still haven't met Jean Nidetch.

But recently I had the chance to meet and work with another really fantastic Weight Watchers Superhero, and that was almost as cool.

Last month, when the amazing Hungry Girl (Lisa Lillien) stopped in Pittsburgh on her book tour, I got a call from her publicist asking if I could help her out. Since I do some work at one of our local TV stations, the HG peeps got my name from a producer and heard I might be just the right lady to whip up some delicious dietetic food for her to display at her appearance on the local morning show - Pittsburgh Today Live.

That's right. I was Hungry Girl's "food stylist" for the day.

What a blast.

In many ways, Hungry Girl is a lot like Jean Nidetch.
  • Jean started Weight Watchers in her living room with six friends. Hungry Girl started her HG empire with a small daily email service.
  • Jean has lots of chutzpah. Hungry Girl has tons of spunk.
  • Jean literally wrote the book on finding ways to enjoy your favorite foods in a diet-friendly way using lower-calorie ingredients. Hungry Girl takes it to a whole new level.
My experience as Hungry Girl's food stylist wasn't too much different than my usual food adventures. For example, I made some HG "Cowgirl Onions Rings" using onions, Low-Fat BBQ chips and Fiber One Cereal. As a Retro WW snack - I once made some French Fries out of Italian Green Beans. Also--For Hungry Girl, I made a cake from a box of yellow cake mix and a can of diet creme soda. My all-time favorite Retro WW cake was made of cornmeal and strawberries.

OMG. Hungry Girl is like Retro WW with a modern-day twist!

Anyway, the whole experience was terrific, and Hungry Girl couldn't have been sweeter or more appreciative towards me. And she even let me take a few pics at the studio...

Gratuitous Nerdy Fan Photo
Hell yes, I got my book signed. Holla! 

Girlfriend was NOT playing around with hair and makeup

Here is the final segment with all of the completed dishes all plated up nice and pretty. I made them all! You might even recognize some of the serving plates I used. I was soooo tempted to throw in a gelatin mold just to see if anyone would notice, but I thought better of it. Enjoy! And go buy her cookbook. It kicks ass!

Uh Oh! If you cannot view the video here, please click this link:
In The Kitchen With Hungry Girl « CBS Pittsburgh

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Random Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

What does a Retro WW gal do when she doesn't have time to wait for her Jell-o to gel?

Let me tell you. There aren't many food options for the busy working gal who is on the go, and still wants to live the Retro WW way of life. I should know. Lately I have been so busy with work, life, the impending Holidays and other random projects, I can barely remember my own name -- let alone find the time to cook up elaborate dietetic dishes and write about them.

So really. What's a girl to do?

One Retro WW trick I learned from my mom is to slap a bunch of mustard on some tuna and gun it down straight from the can like a Rockstar. I'll admit, this one is not my favorite. It also stinks like a mo-fo.

Another quick meal is the Pineapple Cheese Salad. This one's pretty self explanatory. Salad greens, pineapple rings and cottage cheese - topped with some cinnamon to make me feel less sad about the situation. Oh - and a slice of toast is permitted with it too!

I can tell you are drooling.

By the way -  we Retro WW gals also munch on carrots and celery til the cows come home. It keeps us from stabbing someone.

And when it gets really bad, you might just see me eating some button mushrooms or string beans with my fingers while sitting in my car on the side of the road. If this happens, just drive by. There's nothing you can do at that point.

Being a busy working gal does have its advantages, though -- Like getting opportunities to meet cool and interesting people. In fact, one of the reasons I have been so busy recently is because I had the honor to do some freelance work for one of my food & diet heroes! And I can't wait to tell you all about it in my next post! Can you guess who it was?????


Here's a hint...

Here's another hint...

Just kidding. That second photo has nothing to do with anything. I just felt like posting a random picture of Jean Nidetch being grabbed by Dom DeLuise on Merv Griffin's couch. HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS THAT? You're welcome.

Anyway, you will all have to wait until after the holiday to hear about my latest spectacular foodie adventure, but until then, here is a word of advice from Jean Nidetch straight from Page 137 of the Weight Watchers Program Cookbook, 1966...

I love her hair.
Enjoy your turkey! Kick back and relax! Have a FABULOUS Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And the Wiener Is...

With a whopping 57% of the vote...

The Wiener the World Awaited

Was there ever any doubt?

You voted. You now have to live with the consequences.


As if this dish needed any more attention showered upon it, Frankfurter Spectacular has won your vote for the most popular Retro Weight Watchers Recipe of ALL TIME. For Pete's Sake - It is like Madonna, Cher and Liza all wrapped up in one. What a diva.

To view the original post where I prepared, ate and basked in the glory of this dish - please click here.

All I am left wondering is - who is the one singular person who voted for the Chilled Celery Log?

You are my hero.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Get Out The Retro WW Vote!

In case you hadn't heard, there is an election going on this week here in the good ol' US of A. That's right. On Tuesday we all get to go out to the polls and vote!

I happen to LOVE voting. It makes me feel super important.

So in the spirit of democracy, we are holding our own election over here at the Retro WW Experiment!

Ladies and Gentlemen...get ready, because now is your chance to vote for your favorite Retro WW Recipe of ALL TIME!

I have selected the 5 top candidates, and YOU get to choose the winner. Voting starts NOW and closes on Friday November 9th at midnight. The recipe that receives the most votes will be announced and shared with the world shortly thereafter. I will even write a very special post to commemorate the occasion.

NOTE: There is really no point to all of this. But it's sorta fun, dontcha think?

Anyway - cast your vote! Vote early! Vote often! Let's get all political up in here! May the best dish win!

Here are your candidates:

Fishy, Freaky and Fun

A Solid Salad, Baby

The Name Says it All

Gelatin Power!

Strong, Sturdy and Strange

My fellow Retro Weight Watcher fanatics - it is your duty to vote in this election. All of my future gelatin molds and diet dishes depend on you. Do the right thing. Make your voices heard!

Use the voting button at the top right hand corner of the blog, and vote as often as you want. Check back for updates often! Also--Be sure to follow all of the exciting election results on Twitter using #RetroWWElection.

Thank you. May Jean Nidetch Bless You. And may Jean Nidetch Bless The Retro Weight Watchers Experiment of  the Internet.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


There is a lot of scary shit going on this week. A hurricane mega-storm is whipping our way. There is a cut-throat presidential election turning us all into frothing maniacs. It is also the creepy Halloween season.

And I made this:

The Pie of the Dead

That's right. I may have actually conjured up the most disgusting thing ever created in any kitchen since the beginning of food and time. My husband took one look at it, and declared it "The Necronomicon of Pies" and begged me to throw it away. I have been lovingly referring to it as simply, "Frankenpie". Jean Nidetch officially calls it...

Fluffy Chocolate "Pie"
Grand Illusions

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups chocolate flavored dietetic carbonated beverage
artificial sweetener
1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract
1/4 teaspoon imitation butter
dash salt
few drops brown food coloring

Dissolve gelatin over beverage in saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients. Chill until slightly set. Whip with rotary beater until thick. Transfer to 9 inch pie plate. Chill until firm. Makes 2 servings.

First of all - how funny is it that Jean Nidetch actually printed the words "Grand Illusions" under the title of this recipe in the 1972 Weight Watchers Program Cookbook? Like this recipe would actually fool anyone into thinking they are eating a real piece of pie.

A Slice of Hell

 If I served this to any normal person, they would look at me like I had totally lost my mind. They might even call the local authorities to have me committed. And they sure as shit would never eat it. Grand illusions? Um. No.

Also - There are two problems with this recipe.

1 - It is not easy to find dietetic chocolate flavored carbonated beverage in the year 2012.

2 - It is not easy to find chocolate extract in the year 2012.

So I decided to go with diet cream soda and vanilla extract. I wound up with a vanilla flavored Fluffy Brown "Pie" which actually turned out to be a sort of a khaki-grey color. And it really wasn't fluffy at all. And it was frankly upsetting to even have it in my fridge.

What a freaking nightmare.

It didn't taste too bad, but honestly I couldn't get past the horribly freakish color and the truly pitiful state of this dish. To call this a pie is really just a tragedy. I know I have made a lot of crazy-ass excuses for food on this blog, but this is where I have to draw the line.

Some things are just plain wrong.

source: arcaneimages

Have a creepy Halloween! Hope your treats are yummy!

Monday, October 22, 2012


A few weeks ago (or maybe months - I lose track sometimes), I won a very special prize. The Caker Cooking Blog held a giveaway, and the grand prize was a signed copy of Caker Brian's best-selling book, Natural Order, as well as a Caker Recipe hand-picked by the author himself.

Here is a reenactment of my reaction when I found out I had won:

source: Reminisce Magazine

First, let me say that Brian's book is beautiful. It is touching and funny and real. Everyone should read it. No really. Go get it NOW.

The recipe that Brian picked for me, however, is another story altogether.

Ladies and Gentlemen.  The recipe I am talking about is the always ubiquitous PINK THING.

When I announced to the Twitter Universe that I would be making the Pink Thing, I received many responses. Some where intrigued. (What is it??)  Some where amused. (It sounds dirty!) Some even had their own versions (Pink Fluff, Pink Sh*t, etc.), but most just wanted to know why. God WHY?!?

Now, when I saw this recipe, I had two immediate thoughts.
  1. I would have to lighten it up. You know - Do it up WW Style.
  2. I would have to invite some friends over to share my Pink Thing. Because this recipe makes a crapload.
Typically, my Retro WW recipes only make one or two servings. So I was surprised to see this recipe served eight! I had no other choice than to call up some friends and tell them to head over to my place for a Pink Thing party!

I even selected a beverage to go along with the Pink Thing.

Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale FTW!

Luckily I remembered to prepare my Pink Thing the night before, because it really thickened up and took on a nice pink hue just in time for the party. When I pulled it out of the fridge, and popped off the lid, we all just sort of stood around it in a circle and stared for a moment. No one said a word.

Until one brave friend broke the silence.

"It's really... Um... Glossy."

Then I served it up. As you can see, I was really excited.

My husband and his friend gobbled up the Lion's Share of the Pink Thing. They really, really liked it. Of course, they had just done a Jager Bomb - so maybe that could've had something to do with it?

I should note that the Pink Thing came from the London Newcomer's Cookbook, 1983. Of course, I totally Weight Watchered it up by using all low-fat ingredients. I also left out the chopped pecans, because - frankly I forgot. 

So let us review. In summary: Jager Bombs, Bacon Beer, and Pink Thing.

Did we enjoy our evening? What do you think?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Jean Nidetch!

Jean is out there. Somewhere.

And today is her birthday.

This makes me smile.

In 1970, Jean made the following statement on page 30 of her book "The Story of Weight Watchers":

You know something? Your own birthday cake is not fattening. You can hold it close to you, you can smell it, you can serve it. It's not fattening. It's only fattening when it gets into your stomach. It gets into your stomach via the weapon that's attached to your wrist. You're in control of the weapon, so blow out the candles, serve the cake to your guests and then have a half a grapefruit. Your stomach doesn't know it's your birthday. 

Can't argue with that, I guess.

So today I celebrate Jean's birthday in the best way I know how - with a great big pink grapefruit and a glass of champagne.

Here's  to you, Jean. May you enjoy many, many more birthday grapefruits.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

True Cookie Confessions

Here's another Retro Weight Watchers recipe that sounds awful on paper, but actually turns out to be shockingly edible and (dare I say) even a bit tasty in reality.

Chocolate Cookies

1/3 cup dry milk
1 oz quick oatmeal
1 to 3 tsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
water to moisten

Combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Drop by spoonfuls onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Makes one serving for the morning meal.

I should stop here to mention that Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, loves cookies. She calls them her "Frankenstein Food". She is also a self-proclaimed "closet cookie-eater". In fact, legend has it that at the very first Weight Watchers meeting ever, Jean confessed to her fellow overweight friends that she used to hide cookies in her laundry hamper and then secretly binge-eat them in the bathroom after her family went to sleep.

I guess this would explain why there are so many "legal" cookie recipes in the Retro WW cookbooks and magazines. 

Yes. I took a bite outta one. I couldn't wait.

You guys. These cookies are good. And the best part is that the whole recipe is one serving! I made four little cookies and had them all to myself with a big ol' cup of coffee.

But next time, I am totally making one giant cookie. Just because I can.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Art of Beets

First off - let me just start this post with a confession. When I found this recipe in my 1978 Weight Watchers Hot Stuff (Volume 4) Pamphlet, I knew I had to make it. But I fully had absolutely no intention of eating it. Ever.

Truth be told: On certain rare occasions, I will make a gelatin mold solely for its artistic value. Or for the simple pleasure of basking in its jiggly, glistening beauty.

Wow! It actually feels great to get that off my chest.

So when I woke up at 5:30am on a Saturday morning and began boiling eggs, dissolving gelatin and opening cans of beets - I felt a little bit like an artist preparing her canvas.

Beet Salad

1 tsp mayonnaise
1 medium egg, hard boiled
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
1 tsp cherry extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp artificial sweetener
4 drops red food coloring
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 oz shoestring beets, drain and reserve liquid

Dissolve gelatin in water, add extract, vinegar, salt, sweetener and food color. Stir in cloves and beet juice. Pour into mold. Let set until mixture thickens. Stir in the beets, Place lettuce leaves on a plate and unmold the salad on them. Top with the cottage cheese, egg wedges and mayonnaise. Chill. Makes one serving.

Now I don't like to brag, but I have some pretty mad molding skills, people. I know just when to add the beets so they'll be suspended perfectly in the gelatin like tiny pink angels.  I know exactly how long to wait for the best mold consistency. I know the perfect ratio of liquid to gelatin for any mold size you can imagine.

And the un-molding? Forget about it. This one popped right out of that mold like a perfect little pink newborn baby. It looked up at me from the plate, did a little dance and said "Howdy Mimi - how ya like me now?"

So how did the finished assembled product turn out, you ask? See for yourself...

Please. Bask in its beauty from all angles.

Extreme close-up. Have a moment with the beets.

Go ahead. Take it all in.

After a few snaps with the camera - my masterpiece is complete. I like to keep it around for a few hours to horrify and disgust my husband before saying goodbye to it forever.

As Andy Warhol once said, "An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have." Well. I guess that makes me a true artist. Because, trust me - NO ONE needs to have this thing. Ever.

Friday, September 21, 2012

We'll Be Right Back

I'll be away from Blogland, Facebook, and the Twitterverse for a few days to take a much needed vacation.

But don't worry. When I return - you guys are in store for some good times.

October will bring many new adventures for The Retro WW Experiment. Including a Beet Mold, a "Pink Thing" and a Sauerkraut Cookie. Just to name a few.

But for now I am headed to the beach, my friends! My pink caftan is neatly packed in my beach bag and my petal swim cap is ready to go. You gotta cover up those bleach blonde tresses - am I right, ladies? I really can't wait to enjoy some legal beverages by the pool, and work on my tan.

In the meantime - please watch this message from our "sponsor". Guess who?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Church Lady Smackdown

I love casseroles. Luuuurve them.

So when I was invited to participate in a full-on balls-to-the-walls Casserole Cook-Off using old "Church Lady" recipes, I jumped at the chance. And even though it might compromise my Retro Weight Watchers code of ethics, I figured - why not? What could possibly go wrong??

Then I got my assignment. (Courtesy of my pal, Yinzerella)

Ruth Silverstone Will Casserole Your Ass Off!
Recipes and Napkin Folding from the JCC of Harrison County

Aside from the fish (which we must eat 5 times per week on the Retro WW Program) and the broccoli (which is my favorite "legal" vegetable) - the rest of the dish is a multi-layered pile of gooey dietetic wrongness.

But -- Since the Casserole Cook-Off rules demand that substitutions are not allowed, I wasn't able to lighten this dish up for my dietetic needs. In true Retro WW fashion, I would normally replace the celery soup with a gelatin/buttermilk combo and I would swap the margarine with a butter flavored extract. And for the love of Jean Nidetch -- poach the fish in WINE?!? Dear lord - alcohol is at the top of the list of forbidden foods. We do our poaching in plain old water, people. I could go on, but you get the idea.

So after making an official public apology to my entire Retro WW Sisterhood, I present you (layer by layer) with...

Anything Anytime Casserole!

Butter and Broccoli and Noodles - Oh My!

Water Chestnuts. Unexpected, but totally made the dish.

Poached Fish? Nailed it.
Celery soup, mushroom and seasonings. The Great Gooey Goodness!
Top with cheese and pop in the oven!

This casserole had 7 layers, and required me to dirty 6 dishes. Seriously? I almost ran out of Palmolive half way through my clean-up.

And what about the name of the recipe? Anything? Anytime? Wow! Do you mean I can whip this up at 3:00am? Can this dish possibly be more versatile?

But how did it taste?

It. Was. Delicious.

As I wipe the drool from my chin, I would just like to say thank you Ruth Silverstone. You are the creator of this casserole. You are the mastermind behind this delicious combination. You deserve a spot in the comfort food Hall of Fame! I am sure the rest of the ladies in the Jewish Community Center of Harrison would agree. Mazel Tov!

So just how am I supposed to go back to my Retro WW eating after this? Hmmm?

I mean, really.

Wanna check out the other Casserole Challenge posts? Including the Potato Casserole which I threw in the mix - courtesy of the Polish Hill Civic Association of Pittsburgh? Go ahead. Tap into your inner Church Lady! Here are the links...

Caker Cooking - Polish Potato Casserole
Dinner is Served 1972 - Cock-a-Doodle Casserole
Mid Century Menu - Sausage Apple Noodle Casserole
Retro Recipe Attempts - Lazy Bride's Dish

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Results Not Typical

Sometimes it is better to just leave well enough alone.

This next "recipe" is a good example of the all-too-common Retro WW mistake of taking a perfectly good food and turning it into an utter catastrophe. 

Chocolate Covered Banana

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp brown food coloring
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp butter flavor
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup non-fat dry milk
4 tsp artificial sweetener
1 medium banana - peeled, cut in half and frozen

Combine first 7 ingredients and add milk and sweetener. Pour over frozen banana and return to freezer. Serve frozen.

So here is a pictorial review of how to take a perfectly good banana and turn it into a barely edible mess:

Assemble the culprits
The unholy mixture


The lesson here: Sometimes, when you need a snack, simple is better. Sure, it may sound like a great idea to top a frozen banana with a grainy, artificially colored and artificially flavored chocolate sauce from Hell. But trust me on this one - it is not. Just eat a banana, and be done with it.

Food should not stick to the plate like this.

After one bite, I threw this one in the trash.... Plate and all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Regret and Results

Forgive me Jean Nidetch, for I have sinned. It has been 70 days since my last Jello mold.

Summer wreaked havoc on my Retro Weight Watchering. And it shows.

Sure - I could sit here and make lots of excuses about how busy I have been or how tired I am after a long day of work or play. I could go on and on about my job, my crazy schedule, or my countless obligations. But I know all too well that excuses don't fly when it comes to Jean. She always knows the truth.

In fact - If Jean had given me a call last week, I think our conversation would've gone a little something like this:

Mimi: Oh hello, Jean... Guess what? I am totally NOT eating chili cheese fries right now. 

Jean: Uh. Mimi, dear - stop what you're doing, put down the french fries, and go eat a grapefruit.

Mimi: But Jean, I'm just so tired of eating cottage cheese and celery and gelatin. I just want to eat whatever I want.

Jean: Darling. Everything we eat, or don't eat, shows up on the scale eventually.

Mimi: Ugh. I hate the scale.

Jean: Stop whining and suck it up!

Mimi: Ouch.

So here I am. Sucking it up.

It starts with breakfast. My sad punishment of a breakfast is 100% Retro WW legal, and I eat it with the knowledge that it is just the first step back to a routine that isn't easy. It isn't fun. It isn't for wimps.

But as Jean says:
If you feel strongly about having a body that you like, then surely you don't have to love cottage cheese, surely you don't have to get excited about a tossed salad with lemon juice, surely you don't have to lose your cool over a strip of green pepper. You simply have to love the end result.    --The Story of Weight Watchers, 1970
You know what? I do love the end result, so I am totally going to get myself super excited about this sad excuse for a breakfast. Woohoo! Hell yeah!!!

Apple "Danish"

1 medium apple, cored and sliced
1/3 cup water
Artificial sweetener
1 slice enriched bread, toasted
1 ounce hard cheese

Combine apple and water in blender and process 30 seconds. Pour into saucepan and bring to boil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Cool and add sweetener to taste. Place apple mixture on toast, top with cheese. Broil until bubbly and brown.

Check out my mad portion control skillz, yo

Cooking a pureed apple is very humbling
Legal? Damn Straight.

Anyhoo. Breakfast is done. Now what's for lunch?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Party's Over

I have had such a lovely time at the Retro Mimi Potluck Party. But now, as I look around, I can see that maybe the party has lasted a bit too long. There are jell-o remnants everywhere, and my guests look angry.

You can only serve up so many Retro WW dishes before people start to rise up against you in protest.

So that's it, I guess.

In my opinion - this potluck was a HUGE success. I would like to thank the FABULOUS guests who took the time to prepare and bring a legendary Retro Weight Watchers dish. In case you missed anything here's a rundown:

Carl  and Surprise Chowder
Brian (Caker Cooking)  and  Cocktails

Go check out all these awesome people and their fantastic posts. Seriously. They deserve a medal for bravery.

As for me, I have some cleaning up to do. Sigh. Thank you all for coming to my party. I must admit, I'm a little emotional and sad to see it end. At times like this - I often burst into song. Instead, I will let Ms.Shirley Bassey express my musical melancholy, and I will bid you a fond farewell.

Until next time, darlings...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Coffee Is On

The best way to signal to your guests that the party is winding down, and they should start making their way towards the door is to put on a nice hot pot of coffee. But that's not the case at the Retro Mimi Potluck Party!!! We whip up a gelatinized coffee treat that will keep you zinging well into the wee hours! You can thank my blogger pal, Roz for this Coffee Catastrophe. Enjoy.

Looking to cut back on sweets? THIS is the recipe for you!!!

HUGE thanks to Mimi for hosting this fun roundup, and HUGE apologies to Mimi too! I stuck my hand up and volunteered to be part of this Retro WW potluck at the end of June. This is mid August. I think that time gap says it all, and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get 70's cooking!!!! Was it worth the wait? (or the weight???) I'll let you decide!

I present....”Coffee Rum Strata”. TA DA!!!! Excitement level rising!!!!!

And what a stroke of luck. I see on the bottom of the attachment Mimi sent, this was published by Weight Watchers in 1974. In 1974, I was far too young to drink coffee or rum. (OK...probably not that FAR too young, but young nonetheless) Thank goodness this is 2012 and I can enjoy this fantastic recipe! Excitement level even HIGHER!!!

I LOVE coffee, I like rum...this could be RIGHT up my alley!!! Excitement peaks!!

But then....I saw some things I DON'T like....artificial sweetener (LOTS of artificial sweetener!), rum EXTRACT (extract...what's wrong with REAL rum??), non fat dry milk, unflavoured gelatin (LOTS of unflavoured gelatin).....Uh oh. Excitement level going down.....

But like the procrastinating trouper I am (see June-August comment above) I gathered the ingredients and gave it my all. I also made a FEW modifications, as you'll note below. Excitement level a bit neutral now!

Coffee Rum Strata

Jelly Layer

(excitement diminishing again, oh dear...I am NOT a jelly fan for anything other than spreading on my toast. Jello/bouncy things remind me of having my tonsils out when I was little. Hey...that may have actually happened in 1974! I digress.....)

1 envelope of unflavoured gelatin
1 ¾ cold water, divided
2 tsp instant coffee
Artificial sweetener to equal 1/3 cup sugar 
½ tsp rum extract

(I'm NOT a fan of artificial sweeteners at all. If I only needed a few tsps, I may have just “acquired” a few packs from a coffee shop...I didn't want to buy a whole pack, knowing I would just toss it, so I threw caution to the wind and used REAL cane sugar. I KNOW!!! I'm a rebel!!!!)

 I have ABSOLUTELY no idea how/why I actually DO have rum extract in our cupboard. It must have been there since about 1974, 'cause it had very little rum scent when I opened it up. So I made an executive decision. I'll add the rum extract, but I'll also add some BRANDY flavouring too.  

 Booze flavour is booze flavour, right???? . I also contemplated doing a shot of REAL brandy while I cooked, because my excitement level was now pretty depleted. I chose not to indulge in the brandy, and carried on! :) )

1. Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup cold water in saucepan. Check.

 2. Add coffee. Check

 3. Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Check

4. Remove from heat. Check (no photo really need...looks just like photo above)

5. Add remaining water, sweetener and extract

 6. Divide evenly into 8 dessert glasses 

7. Chill. Check. (Please don't judge the cleanliness of my fridge. Just sayin....)

Mousse Layer
(I KNOW...I have to do this all over again. NOOOOOOO)

1 envelope of unflavoured gelatin
1 cup of cold water
Artificial sweetener to equal ½ cup of sugar (I'm thinking that measure of artificial sweetener may well have now turned this recipe carcinogenic)
½ rum extract (MORE I REALLY need REAL rum!!)
1/3 cup non fat dry milk
1/3 cup ice water
1 tbsp lemon juice
Dash instant coffee

Here we go again.....this part may seem like deja vu at the beginning....

1. sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water in saucepan. Check (again) - see photo above

2.  Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves Check (again) - see photo above

3. Remove from heat. Check (again) - no photo required, see above.

4. Add remaining water, sweetener, and extract. Check (again) - see photo above

5. Chill until syrupy 

DRINK REAL RUM – oh wait...I just added that bit....this is NOT part of the real recipe. But it should be!!!

6. Beat dry milk with ice water until thickened. Check, but omg, this smells gross!

7. Fold into gelatin mixture. Check (but not pretty or for the faint of heart)

8. Spoon, evenly divided on top of jelly layer

 9. Chill until firm

10. Garnish with coffee. (I ran out of instant coffee. Good thing, this would have been a waste of instant coffee! :)

And VOILA!!!! Finished product!!!!! It LOOKS “ok”. It SMELLS a bit “off” but better than I'd expected. My excitement level began to rise slightly again

In the spoon, it looked like chunks of big brown jello with bumpy foam. Excitement level plunges again. Note to self: It may be ok. You love coffee, you like'll be FINE!!

My husband, Dennis tried it.  

Here is how the conversation went once photos were taken:
Dennis: “Well, um...its not QUITE as bad as I thought it was going to be.”
Roz: “Are you going to finish it?”
Dennis: “Oh, hell no!”

Then it was my turn. 

It WAS as bad as I thought!!! OMG...this was GROSS!!! In texture, taste and looks. I WANTED to like it, I really did....but I couldn't. It was THAT bad. I can only imagine how horrible it must have been if I'd ACTUALLY used artificial sweetener, and how tastes may have changed since 1974.

BUT...there is always a silver lining to brown, foamy clouds!

It cleared our garbarator well.

Even a couple of tastes caffeinated me enough that I could stay up late and watch Craig Ferguson, who I love.

And when all else fails....throw some toys in, and call it a party!!!!

Mimi, thank you so much for the opportunity to make this hilariously awful recipe. To those readers who think “it can't be that bad”, well, YES it can. Do NOT, repeat NOT make this for human consumption. However, if you too need your garberator cleaned, you need to stay awake for hours or you have some toys that would look jaunty in foam and brown vomit....THIS is the recipe for you!!!!!

Please pop over to my blog . I assure you, you will NOT be traumatized by this recipe there any time soon!!!!

Thanks Mimi!