The guy who disdains television – who actually has problems figuring out the remote control – is hooked on Mad Men.

It’s true.  I absolutely love the show.

I think the first reason is that it is so true to life.  It’s my youth being broadcast on TV every week.  I remember everyone smoking everywhere.  In elevators, in the movie theaters…  Hell…  my pediatrician would have a cigarette going while examining me.  It was a normal part of life.  Cigarette advertising actually touted certain brands as being healthy.  Doctor recommended. And the booze.  It really was everywhere.

It was definitely a fun time to be growing up in the Big City.

So fast-forward 50 years and I get to relive my youth every week.  On Mondays because we tape the Sunday show.  Tape.  Did I just show my age?  We electronically record it on our Digital Video Recorder.  We used to tape things. Last century.  I used to smoke, also.  I started when it was still good for me.  Before Surgeon General warnings were even thought of.  I was pretty cool.

But back to Mad Men…

We’ve been watching it on Monday, right after dinner.  So today I had the brilliant idea of doing Mad Men Monday and recreating some of those recipes from the golden years of canned Cream of Whatever Soup and frozen Veal Cutlets.

And what better place to find recipes than my mom’s cook books from the ’60s and ’70s?!?  Two huge binders of recipes she created, cut out from magazines and newspapers, as well as recipes written out by my grandmother, great-aunts, family friends…  They’ve been my own personal Mad Men for years.

I have referenced these books forever, but I have to admit that I have rarely really read a lot of the recipes or ever really followed any of them exactly.  I would more often glance over pages, see something that caught my eye, and then used it as a starting off point to get the creative juices flowing.  And after really reading a few of them tonight, it was a little scary.

I can’t imagine cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts for three hours even if the oven temperature is 275°.  On a bed of chipped beef, no less…

But there are a lot of them I really do want to have a go at.  And I think it would be fun to eat them in the living room while watching Mad Men.  We never eat dinner in front of the TV.

Time for a change!

So… I’m going to go through the books and start planning a few meals.  I don’t promise to make them exactly as printed, because as low as they may be, I do have standards.  But I am going to try to be as authentic as I can be.

No cigarettes and no Scotch – those days are behind me – but a Bacardi Rum Cake for dessert is a definite possibility…

And maybe even some Heinz Beans…