Gastroanomalies: Questionable Culinary Creations from the Golden Age of American Cookery

Front Cover
Crown, 2007 - Humor - 176 pages
38 Reviews
It was a time of innocence, nuclear families, traditional values . . . and BAD FOOD.

In an era where cooks wanted to put their best foot forward, there was no end to the creative, cost-efficient, and cream-based dishes that disgraced the family dinner table, the cocktail party, or the neighborhood BBQ. Recipes involving ingredients like ground meat, bananas, and cottage cheese sound innocent enough—unless you mix them all together in a strange attempt to cover every food group at once.

In Gastroanomalies, James Lileks gathers another remarkable assortment of dishes that once inspired cooks to brave new heights but now inspire sour stomachs and thoughts of “how did I survive?” Highlighted with excerpts from bizarre cookbooks (like Joan Crawford shilling for Bisquick), dubious images (is it meat or chocolate ice cream?), ads heralding the latest in kitchen technology (how about a bacon-egger?), and Lileks’s acerbic, off-the-wall commentary (“Put your ear close, and you can actually hear the meat screaming in terror”), Gastroanomalies is an irresistible retro documentation of a bygone era when artisanal cheese and vegetables lightly steamed (not boiled to mush) were still light-years away. Gastroanomalies will have foodies, baby boomers, and lovers of kitsch in stitches.

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A loving tribute to tacky old recipes of the past. - LibraryThing
The pairing of text and pics is brilliant and alarming - Goodreads
James Lileks finds weird pictures from old books. - Goodreads
I almost wish it came with the recipes. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - benjamin.duffy - LibraryThing

Quick, fun, funny. Not quite as hilarious as The Gallery of Regrettable Food, but close. I mean, it's basically a "horrible old recipes" blog in hardcover, but he's a funny writer and that elevates the material. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - limamikealpha - LibraryThing

Hilarious! I got this for Christmas and read it out loud sitting beside my husband and we scared the cat we laughed so hard. It helps if you're a fan of vintage things and eras gone by, but he writes ... Read full review

About the author (2007)

JAMES LILEKS is the author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food, Mommy Knows Worst, and Interior Desecrations. Visit his popular website at

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