I’m obsessed with the LoEB’s return!


By Shawn Robare

6883501769_16f5716f51_oThe League of Extraordinary Bloggers has been on hiatus for a while as Brian over at Cool & Collected has been “extraordinarily” busy with his C&C print magazine project, but it’s finally back this week with a new topic. To kick things off again Brian asks what our current obsessions are, and this just happens to coincide with a slight shift in my personal 80s collecting habits of late. Outside of a few sets of Garbage Pail Kids, I really didn’t start buying up stuff from my in and around childhood until I started work on this site. Then for the first 7 years or so of running Branded I focused most of my efforts on acquiring all sorts of ephemera, be it stickers, old magazines, or trading card wax pack wrappers that spanned all sorts of pop culture subjects from cartoons to food. I love talking about the 80s, specifically the marketing and “branding”, and I wanted to touch on all sorts of stuff from Sizzlean to amazing Return of the Jedi Jungle Gyms. Needless to say, digging up all of this stuff wasn’t cheap, so finding content to talk about on the site sort of dominated my collecting. The majority of the stuff I was hoarding storing in my flat-file, while awesome, didn’t necessarily always reflect the stuff I personally had as a kid.

Over the last year though I’ve decided to concentrate on rebuilding a small collection of things that I actually had as a kid.  Whether it’s the reproduction Masters of the Universe figures Mattel put out just after the millennium…

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…or picking up the occasional mint on card vintage toy like the super cool Transformers Afterburner I recently found.

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I think this all started just over a year ago when I managed to get a hold of my original childhood Atari 2600 system.  Reconnecting with that faux wood-paneled beauty really got me thinking about where I really wanted to spend my money when it came to my collecting habits.

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Lately this turn towards reacquiring treasures from when I was a kid has morphed into some more obscure purchases.  Instead of trying to get all the actual toys I had I’ve been cherry-picking specific pieces I owned from various toy lines, stuff that when put out on a shelf illustrates my childhood experience.  This has led to some more obscure toy hunting leading up to snagging stuff like a Demon from Blackstarr, Warduke from the D&D line, and Tonto from the Gabriel Legend of the Lone Ranger line

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I’ve also started following this urge to round out my collection with more offbeat stuff by picking up some weirder childhood reading material.  For instance, I was just recently reminded by my mom during one of our weekly phone calls about a cookbook she gave me when I was eight, the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls (a version published in 1985 by Golden.)  I immediately flashed upon the iconic cover and felt an insane desire to pick it up and hold it again.  So I logged on to eBay immediately after the call an proceeded to track down and buy a copy…

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I must have stared at those disturbing cheeseburger people a million times as a kid.  Even though this isn’t my original copy (which is probably no longer in existence or mostly disintegrated in a landfill in Florida somewhere), mine was as beat-up and well read as this copy I now have on my shelf.  Clocking in at just under 100 pages, this cookbook was my go-to tome when learning the basics of recipe-reading and trying my hand at some culinary concoctions that were always just this side of edible.  Though I learned a lot from watching my mom in the kitchen, I always took pride in exploring on my own and trying to make lunches or breakfasts on the weekends, and a lot of that inspiration came form the dishes in this book.  Speaking of, the recipes range from the ridiculous yet fun arrangement of canned fruit on a lettuce leaf like this Friendly Dog Salad below…

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…to the surprisingly difficult to master (as a kid) Eggs in Bologna Cups.  Mine never tasted right.  In fact they were pretty noxious if I remember (probably due to over-use of the paprika which I practically caked on top of each cup…)

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The book is filled with glorious 70s/80s era design, from the style and color of the cookware depicted in the recipes to the bodacious font choices.  I actually kind of love it to death and am curious about seeking out some other more standard 80s era cookbooks for my kitchen…

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Reading back through it I was surprised at the level of complexity in some of the recipes (like a giant baked ham loaf that required grinding up smoked ham steaks), and some of it actually looks like stuff I’d love to try today as a way more accomplished home cook.  In fact I’m toying with the idea of trying to replicate all 120 or so dishes in the book at some point.  I mean a lot of this stuff is pretty simple, but I remember it being sort of like comfort food.  It might be easy to turn one’s nose up at it as an adult, but stuff like this Polka Dot Pizza (aka Hot Dog Pizza) looks like the perfect comfort food for a lazy Saturday afternoon…

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If you enjoyed reading about my currently 80s collecting obsession, why not take a moment to check out some of the other League participants to see what they’re focusing on like…

Brian at Cool & Collected who is currently binge watching Band of Brothers and True Detective

Lee & Linz at Pop Rewind who are obsession over McDonald’s Orange Drink

Derek at Really Rather Random Guy who is having a an existential obsession crisis

Victoria at Vikki Verka who is glad she found the sci-fi series Charlie Jade

Tim at Flashlights Are Something to Eat is listening to the Scorchers, watching Breaking Bad, and buying some Atari games!

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  • http://crookedninja.com/ Cody Mix

    Great post Shawn! Love the Betty Crocker book and the contents, so much “junk food” it would never fly today. I want to make some of these with my son when he is older, screw the Kale.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Screw kale indeed! Seriously, I’m so hungry for a hot dog pizza right now it’s insane. Like my inner cartoon ninja turtle is bubbling to the surface… ;)

  • Ben Rollier

    I’m guessing that “Friendly Dog Salad” actually exists, in a completely different form, on a menu somewhere in South East Asia.

    Awesome post, Shawn! I’m a bit of a foodie so I love looking at old cookbooks and cooking magazines. Great stuff

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Yeah, I need to check out some more older cookbooks. My two favorite right now are the Vincent Price cookbooks from the 60s. Prized possessions actually. Also, lol, I’m betting you’re right about that Asian salad…

  • http://reallyratherrandomguy.blogspot.com/ Really Rather Random Guy

    The Gold Medal “Alpha-Bakery” cookbook was the one I loved as a kid… it was the one I learned how to make Banana bread from… even though I put tablespoons of salt in instead of teaspoons. :(

    http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Bakery-Gold-Medal-Childrens-Cookbook/dp/B000FGVG70

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Ha! Well, I guess we all have to learn about “savory” baking at some point ;) I need to check that one out!

  • Richard A

    Totally dig the toys and the cook book. Nostalgia for the win ;)

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Thanks yeah, nostalgia is sort of like my hard drugs :p

      • Richard A

        Lol yeah I’m all too familiar with this addiction ;)

        • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

          One of its purest forms is scratch ‘n sniff stickers. I have a huge sniff problem… :p

  • http://www.junkfed.com/ Tintod

    That cookbook is great. Cookbooks are perfect time capsules. The design style and food trends reveal so much about their era. Though the eggs in bologna cups are making me a little queasy.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Yeah, I’m still not convinced that even when prepared correctly those meaty egg cups are good! ;) By the by, loved your Mr. T piece. Had to read it through twice…

  • http://www.poprewind.com/ Pop Rewind

    Cookbooks from the 70s and 80s truly are a work of art!

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Yeah, I need to look through some more of these. So many of the ones I have are weird and tiny (like the DC Superheroes and Muppet Babies inserts from old issues of Women’s Day :p )

  • Pingback: – My Latest Obsession – A League of Extraordinary Bloggers Assignment

  • http://www.diaryofadorkette.blogspot.com/ Miss M

    I love those old cookbooks! And I hate cooking!

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Ha! Yeah, cooking is weirdly one of my “things”. Not sure exactly why I got into is so much as a kid, but I remember being like 7-8 and making homemade egg McMuffins for my family…. :p

      • http://www.diaryofadorkette.blogspot.com/ Miss M

        That’s pretty cool though that you liked to cook as a kid! I did like pretending to go grocery shopping. And I did like going over my mom’s cookbooks, mainly because the food looked so good. lol

        • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

          Yeah, I always wanted one of those grocery playsets with all the little plastic versions of canned goods and crackers and stuff. Another example of why it’s insane to try and make toys for just boys or girls… :p

          • http://www.diaryofadorkette.blogspot.com/ Miss M

            I totally agree, I wish that kids could grow up and have the entire toy store as their playground, none of this silly division of what is expected for boys and girls to play with. I had a blast with my grocery play set and a cash register. (My math was terrible at that time so I just clicked on the buttons for fun) My brother got to play with that stuff too when he came along.

  • Paxton Holley

    My wife has made variations on the bologna egg cups. Mostly substituting ham slices because bologna is an abomination.

    And I’ve now become obsessed with trying out that polka dot pizza. It looks amazing. It brings to mind that macaroni and cheese pizza you posted a while ago, Shawn. I MUST TRY BOTH OF THEM. MAYBE TOGETHER IN A PIZZA SANDWICH.

    http://brandedinthe80s.com/6235/is-that-kraft-mac-and-cheese-under-that-pepperoni-or-do-you-just-want-to-die-for-dinner

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Which reminds me, why has Pizza Hut not introduced Pizza Tacos? Like a slice of pizza folder over with taco junk inside? Million dollar idea, putting it out there for free cause I’m nice like that.

      I was thinking of trying these bologna egg cups, except substituting bacon weaves for bologna…

      Also, now I want a pizza sandwich. Damn you!

      • Paxton Holley

        It’s what I do. You’re welcome.

        And……Pizza Tacos?! HELL. TO. THE. YES.

  • http://www.nerdoutwithme.com/ Nerd Out With Me

    Cookbooks and Warduke… something about that clicks.

    Those old school cookbooks bring back a lot of memories. That weird grainy look – reminds me of those Sesame Street Library Club books.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      I’m pretty sure Warduke does all the cooking in his domestic situation… ;)

      I think I had some of those SS books…

  • demoncat_4

    cook books and warduke for even d&d fans need to eat. plus no doubt even some one as evil as warduke needs to stop and eat too since he is human. nice unique obsession

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Thanks, yeah, I try and keep it interesting around here ;)