You’ve been waiting for this. It’s been nearly 18 months since the last time Mad Men aired, due to postponement caused by contract negotiations with the cast.
To celebrate, why not plan your own stylized 1960s Mad Men party for March 25? Don’t know where to begin looking for those recipes? Take a look at the The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin, who have painstakingly gone through each episode to figure out where and what each character was eating or drinking.
They begin with cocktails—what else? And in the first season—first episode—we see Don Draper making notes on a napkin at what could well have been Grand Central’s Oyster Bar. He orders an Old Fashioned, muddled (in which the cherry and orange garnish are mashed). The cocktails that follow: a martini (from pretty much any episode, it seems); Trader Vic’s Mai Tai (as Chinese and Polynesian-themed restaurants began appearing); the Sidecar (Peggy Olson’s cognac/Cointreau drink as served to her at P.J Clarke’s); and the classic Manhattan (from when Draper and Olson have a heart-to-heart at the Oak Bar, season 4, episode 7.
As fun as the book is, Gelman and Zheutlin offer solid, well-researched recipes that can be confidently served to guests. “We identified every food and drink in the show,” said Gelman, who has written several cookbooks including The Book Club Cookbook). “When Betty would open the fridge, we’d freeze-frame the scene so we could identify what she was taking out.”
“When a scene took place in a restaurant, we would call that restaurant, if it still existed, and ask them about the recipe,” said Zheutlin. For example, the Hearts of Palm Salad, which Don Draper and fling Bobbi Barrett, wife of comedian Jimmy Barret, ate at Sardi’s in the second season is a recreation of that dish.
“Often, we would look for a cookbook popular at the time to re-create a recipe,” offered Gelman. And thus the recipe for Roast Chicken with Stuffing, which newlywed Trudy Campbell prepared for Pete (though which got thrown off their balcony window in season 2, episode 12). The authors adapted the recipe they found in the Dinner for Two Cookbook, published by Simon and Schuster in 1958.
All the classics are here—beef Wellington, Waldorf salad, rib eye cooked in a pan, chicken Kiev, and for dessert, a pineapple upside-down cake and an apricot apple pie.
Asked if they found anything surprising in the recipes, Zheutlin answered: “Many of the recipes were actually light and healthful—as long as you don’t smoke with them.”
In the spirit of Mad Men and 1960s cuisine and culture, Running Press will publish in April The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook by RickRodgers (I Love Meatballs!) and Heather Maclean (who wrote The Skinny Italian with Teresa Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey fame). They offer fun and fact-filled recipes, cocktails, and menus for pigs in blankets; quiche Lorraine; date nut bread and cream cheese sandwiches; chicken Divan, and much more.
Here’s a menu, suggested by Gelman and Zheutlin.