“But that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world…”

…the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawn mower.”

joan-holloway-cake

Hey, remember when Lois the secretary runs over Guy MacKendrick’s foot with a lawnmower at Joan’s going away party? And right after he got his foot in the door?! (Thanks, Roger.)

After two days of Betty, I felt that this week needed some silly comic relief. Here is Joan’s cake after the splat heard ’round the office.

“Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency.”

peggy-mountain-dew

Welcome to the second installment of Mad Men Cocktail Fridays! In season 4 of Mad Men, SCDP takes on Mountain Dew as a client. Given the task of creating cocktail recipes, the copywriters can’t figure it out because they are focused on ignoring Peggy’s authority. While Peggy is busy “pioneering the science of wet blanketry” because she insists a cocktail needs at least three ingredients, they drink vodka and Mountain Dew. A group of incompetent copywriters could be classified as a minor emergency, so Peggy probably deserves a glass of “Rocket Fuel.” Firing Joey was probably a better reward.

Rocket Fuel

Joey says, “It tastes good because it still basically tastes like Mountain Dew.” Peggy says it’s great for young people and hillbillies.

Ingredients

Vodka
Mountain Dew

Instructions

  1. Get a glass.
  2. Pour in Vodka and Mountain Dew.
  3. Stir with a pen or pencil.
  4. Consume.
peggy-mountain-dew

Photo credit: AMC

This marks the end of Vegan MoFo week two. Stay away from the Rocket Fuel this weekend and come back Monday for the third week of Mad Men MoFo!

“Our hams are worth fighting for.”

*Warning: this post summarizes a plot line of a ‘Mad Men’ episode and speaks about character development. It does not contain major spoilers, but read on at your own risk.

sugarberry-ham

In Mad Men‘s season four premiere, ‘Public Relations’, Peggy and Pete orchestrate an unconventional and unofficial publicity stunt that involves actresses fighting over a Sugarberry ham in the grocery store. As planned, the stunt is written up in the paper and leads to a spike in Thanksgiving sales for the ham company. Peggy proudly composes a tagline: “Our hams are worth fighting for.”

All goes well until the actresses start fighting in real life, one sues the other for assault, and they both end up in jail. Peggy goes to Don, who is distracted and unaware of the stunt, in need of money for bail. Despite the success of the original stunt, Don is not too happy with the outcome. He visits Peggy at home and insults her in front of her boyfriend, but she’s not going to take it. As Peggy gains confidence, she no longer holds Don on a pedestal, and these factors, along with others make for Peggy’s expeditious character development. One of Don’s most notable existential crises lasts throughout season four and Peggy’s role in his life at this time leads to moments in which they see eye to eye. Their relationship throughout the series, strictly platonic, goes in many directions beyond mentor and protégé, and season four witnesses some of the best of these moments.

Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Since Sugarberry is a fictional company, I decided to create “print” advertisements using Peggy’s tagline. On my search for an appropriate typeface to use for the ads (thinking I ought to use one that at least existed in the ’60s!), I came across this article on Mad Men‘s props and typography. It’s an interesting read and points out that many typefaces used in the show were created for use on computers and were thus a few decades out of place. After sifting through 1960s-inspired psychedelic fonts, I decided to keep it simple and settled on variations of Futura.

The vegan ham recipe is a seitan roast from Taymer Mason’s Caribbean Vegan (the recipe can be found here on her blog). My mid-century modifications include the addition of Coca-Cola (2013 Coca-Cola, 1961 bottle) in the glaze, and the pineapple, cherry, and clove garnish before baking in the glaze. I decided to style the photos with the early ’60s in mind.

vegan-ham-mad-men

Other plot lines in ‘Public Relations’ include Don bombing a newspaper interview, pitching an ad to prudish Jantzen swimwear, and some of the main characters’ changing family units. Season four is definitely a turning point for the series, and it’s a wild ride. What are your favorite moments of the season? Or Don and Peggy’s relationship?

“I made French toast.”

Don: “What’s on this?”
Sally: “Mrs. Butterworth’s.”
Don: “Go get it.”

Don: “That’s rum. Read labels.”
Sally: “Is it bad?”
Don: “Not really.”

This exchange between Don and Sally happens in season four’s ‘The Beautiful Girls’ when Sally Draper proudly presents homemade French toast to her father. (“Oh daddy, I do it all the time. And there’s no shells in it.”) This episode serves a generous helping of seemingly lighthearted situations that are immediately qualified with some of Mad Men‘s signature dark humor. Like many a character in the show, Sally’s attempts to prove herself end with her falling flat on her face. Literally.

*Warning: spoilers ahead in this post and most other ‘Mad Men’ MoFo posts. Spoilers are often necessary to provide context and write freely about the show. I’ll make a note in future posts when they are spoiler-free!

sally-draper-french-toast

Sally Draper’s coming-of-age story begins in the latter half of the 1960s, where the way the world works, and her world, is shifting. A precocious child from season one, she’s now a child of divorce (cue hysterical Betty: “She’s from a broken home!”) in an era when such a topic is taboo, and carries a longtime insistence that she is, in fact, an adult.

Sally’s role in ‘The Beautiful Girls’ begins when a woman finds her on a train to Manhattan, specifically Don’s office, trying to avoid the fare collectors. Sally expresses her hatred for Betty, back talks Don’s fling of the month Faye Miller, and begs her father, in the thick of his season four downward spiral, to let her live with him. When Don’s secretary suddenly dies at her desk, the employees of SCDP attempt to take care of it without alerting Sally (or their clients), resulting in a darkly humorous series of events. Faye takes Sally back to Don’s apartment, where stilted conversation ensues.

don-sally-draper

Photo credit: AMC

In attempt to prove her adulthood to Don, whom she places on a pedestal for the greater portion of the series, she makes breakfast for him. The fatal flaw of her plan is when she mistakes rum for Mrs. Butterworth’s, revealing that she still is very much a child. While that metaphor was likely in place for viewers, Sally would not appreciate it.

If Sally photographed her food in 1965 with her brand new Kodak Instamatic 404 (that’s Instagram for those of you born in 2001), her set-up might look something like this. A disregard for the subtlety Betty attempts to epitomize, mod patterns, and audacious colors. Groovy.

mad-men-french-toast

Sally’s story in this episode ends when Betty comes to SCDP to retrieve her runaway daughter. Sally’s immediate response is to RUN (I can’t say I blame her). Unfortunately, Sally’s escape is stopped by a trip and fall, but she finds comfort in a hug from Megan Calvet. With Faye’s stature unmoved and out-of-focus in the background, the Mad Men creators foreshadow Don’s abrupt transition from Faye to warm, kind Megan as a wife and mother figure for his children. Sally gives up momentarily and returns to Betty with her bruised knees and ego, not for the first or last time.

megan-sally-draper

Photo credit: AMC

 

Take a page out of Sally’s book and make The PPK’s Fronch Toast, then “mistake” rum for maple syrup. It’s not bad; take Don’s word for it. Or you might take a more palatable route and add the rum (or rum extract) to the batter prior to cooking, or make a maple butter rum sauce in lieu of syrup.

mad-men-the-beautiful-girls

Cake Pops

Cake pops

Cake pops! I had so much cake leftover from the last cakes I made that I decided to catch up with the times (in 2010) and make some cake pops.

The recipe is pretty simple and not really an exact science. Combine crumbled up cake with just enough frosting to hold it together. I’ve also seen cream cheese, vanilla extract, or other flavor extracts added to the cake. I had a bowl of chocolate and vanilla cake that took just a few spoonfuls of frosting (less is more: you don’t want to bite into a ball of frosting!) to keep the cake from crumbling. Take 2 tablespoon portions of dough and roll into balls. Stick some cookie sticks (these can be found at craft stores) in the cake balls, place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and freeze until solid.

Finally, you need to melt some chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. It took about 6-7 ounces of chocolate (1 cup chocolate chips) for 10 cake pops. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the chocolate for smooth dipping.

When the cake pops are frozen, dip each one in the chocolate, return to the baking sheet (or stick in a block of styrofoam or florist’s foam if you want them perfectly round). Then decorate with your choice of sprinkles, chopped nuts, or other colorful dessert makeup. Let the chocolate set, then enjoy!

I wanted to have some fun shooting photos of these cake pops, so I decided to make a whimsical, glittery chocolate solar system!

Cake pops