The season premiere (well, technically the premiere of the second half) of the final season of Mad Men is tomorrow night. Perfect timing for a Mad Men-themed post.
Judy Gelman of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook invited me, along with several other food and lifestyle bloggers, to participate in a Virtual Mad Men Finale Party to celebrate the final season. The guidelines were very open-ended: feature food or drink from Mad Men anytime during the week before April 5th. Two years ago, I worked on a month-long Mad Men-themed project for Vegan MoFo, so I was excited to bring back Mad Men to Seitan Beats Your Meat. A month is not nearly enough time to explore the intricate themes of the show through food and photography, and one post is certainly not enough, so I’d presented myself with a challenge.
While brainstorming ideas for my post and thinking about the most recent seasons of Mad Men, two words came to mind: “drowning” and “illusion.” They perfectly describe Don Draper’s journey throughout the series, the changes each character experiences during the decade, and the business of advertising in relation to the show. I approached my photos with those ideas in mind and decided that my mission for my photos was to visually represent “drowning” and “illusion.” A simple prompt, but difficult to describe in just a few images, while referencing the show, and the time period Mad Men most recently left us in, the end of the 1960s.
I thought about the Hershey pitch at the end of season 6, when Don has finally reached a breaking point that seems very different than all of his other breakdowns throughout the series. Don is out of control, his marriage is falling apart, and he’s jeopardizing his relationship with Sally. Actually, their stories parallel in a strange way: as Don carefully builds a life on a foundation of lies and drinks away any genuine moment, Sally is quickly losing every illusion she believed in as she grows up and understands the world she lives in. At its core, Mad Men is an study of human nature, relationships, and creating a semblance of meaning.
Don’s drink of choice and one of his many vices, an Old Fashioned, seemed the most appropriate cocktail to feature. I posted this Old Fashioned recipe during Vegan MoFo 2013, but the classics don’t change.
Adapted from the AMC Cocktail Guide
2 dashes aromatic bitters
1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry
½ tsp sugar
1 teaspoon water
1½ oz of rye
1 orange slice
- Combine the bitters, orange slice, cherry, sugar, and water in a lowball glass. Muddle to release the juices and oils of the fruit.
- Add the rye and ice. Stir.
- Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
And with that, #PartyLikeAMadMan. Will you be watching tomorrow night?