While the first week of MoFo focused on classic Mad Men food and episodes, this week will center in on Mad Men in a cultural and political context. The characters on Madison Avenue witness several events that overturn the political climate of America and the emotional and cultural context of the show.
Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Don takes Bobby to see Planet of the Apes. They share popcorn as the camera goes back and forth between the screen and their faces. Afterward, Bobby is mesmerized and Don suggests they see it for a second time. As he helps his son open a box of Milk Duds to tide them over during the second viewing, Bobby begins talking to the usher. Wildly out of character, he says: “Everybody likes to go to the movies when they’re sad.” The look on Don’s face is a little sad and confused, possibly because he was having a torrid affair instead of paying attention to Bobby’s precociousness over the past couple of years. Essentially, Don’s attempts to become closer to his son effectively show just how far away he’s placed himself (but I guess we can’t blame Don too much when his son is a different actor every year).
Bobby’s observation is universally true. With their experience in mind, I decided to make classic movie snacks, popcorn and Milk Duds. The caramel is adapted from Vegan Candyland, and coated in chocolate.
Vegan Milk Duds
1/3 cup vegan margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup or agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- Combine all ingredients (except vanilla, chocolate, and shortening) in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Cook the mixture to firm ball stage, 248°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test for soft ball stage by dropping a spoonful of caramel into a glass of cold water. If it holds its shape and produces a squishy ball, it’s at soft ball stage. Cook for a 2-4 minutes longer to achieve firm ball stage.
- Remove from heat and continue stirring until the mixture stops bubbling. Stir in vanilla.
- Drop about half teaspoon portions of caramel onto the lined cookie sheet until all the caramel is used up (or pour leftovers into a large mass, sprinkle with salt, and cut into salted caramels!). While the caramel is still hot, it will probably flatten into discs.
- As the caramel cools, you can roll the discs into balls if you’d like. They don’t have to be perfect; they’re called Milk Duds for a reason.
- When the caramel is completely cool, dip them in chocolate. Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the microwave or on the stove using a double boiler method.
- Dip the caramels in the chocolate, remove with a fork, and place back on the parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool. Repeat with all the caramels.
Bring your homemade Milk Duds to the movies to accompany your popcorn!