I rarely look through the cookbook section of Value Village, (a local Salvation Army-type thrift store) although it is interesting as a sort of monument to the various food trends and failed weight loss ambitions of our over-satiated culture, (Scarsdale Diet Program, South Beach Cookbook) and it’s ripe with opportunity for an occasional laugh at food non-sequit0rs (for instance, a cookbook entitled Microwave Gourmet!) But one day my tendency to towards zeroing in on brightly coloured plastic led me to notice a set of Betty Crocker recipe cards packaged in a little yellow box. I love retro photographs of food as they are usually elaborately staged and often feature very ostentatious interior settings, plus, I love the super-saturated colours that are characteristic of 60s and 70s photos. My sweet tooth led me straight to the dessert section where my senses were so overwhelmed by the pastel loveliness of some of the photographs that I graciously ruined the set by taking the best cards so that I could present to you, dear reader, this curated photography exhibit of readymade art:
Are these not lovely? They are like the postcards of art masterpieces you can buy at the museum gift shop. I mean, a white heart-shaped cake topped with cherries shown on a lace tablecloth? Betty Crocker recipe cards, get out of my head!
I love the suggestion of a little tea party with two cakes, a turquoise one and a pink one. Each card comes with a suggestion for a party or activity to go with the recipe. The ones that are for children’s parties are especially sweet as the activities proposed, such as making paper-bag puppets or letting each child make their own candy apple, bring up fond memories of the kind of simple fun that used to make up children’s parties that you don’t really see anymore.
This Cake and Ice Cream card has a collage like quality, wouldn’t you agree? The creamy soft yellow cake with ice cream, which looks like it’s covered in tinsel for some reason, looks like it’s been decoupaged onto the background. Just stunning.
And the Pink Bavarian Cream cake? It’s like a beautiful sculpture, almost figural in a way.
Fabulous! A gay ice cream party! I love it! And I love that these are all regular sounding desserts. Everyone tries to be so fancy and unique with their cakes and stuff, they don’t make vanilla, it’s marzipan instead, or, you know the cheesecake has gooseberries or something gross on it. Have you watched any of the shows on the Food Network lately? It’s horrifying. The host will start off making something good, like a chocolate cake. They’ll bake it and put it on a plate and it’s looking all yummy, but then, in a misguided effort to seem sophisticated and unique they’re like “And now we’ll make the icing, which will be a mango chutney salsa spread,” or something equally as bad and I’m watching like “Noooooo! Stop you’re ruining it!”
Anyways, I hope you have enjoyed attending my readymade photography art show. Stop by again soon to see more used goods that I have decided are now an “art”.