This recipe comes from a 1959 book titled Pillsbury’s Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the BAKE-OFF Collection. And before I get to the recipe, I want to tell you how I came to own this book.
The year was [unintelligible mumble] and I was a student in a home ec class in high school. I had never seen vintage cookbooks (this one was already vintage at the time, I’m not THAT old) and my parents did not own any cookbooks at all. And the class was not even about cooking, yet, this book was there, on a shelf no one ever even glanced at.
I looked through the book in class, when I should have been paying attention to how to pretend a 10 pound bag of flour in a onesie was a baby (did you do that?), and I was smitten.
So, I borrowed the book from the class, took it home, and multiple high school reunions later I still have it.
Yes, it was wrong, and I’m not proud, but I don’t think anyone ever missed it.
It became my first cookbook of any sort as a young adult, and the book that sent me down the rabbit hole of vintage cookbooks and food history. Origin stories are not always wholesome.
I swear, I have never “borrowed” any other books since, or before.
Now that I have bared my vintage-cookbook thieving soul, let’s get to the recipe.
Every now and then I flip through this book just to see what pops out at me. The most recent time I only made it to the second section, “Quick Breads,” before I got to a recipe that stopped me in my tracks.
Pineapple Bake-Ins promised to be a delight. Pineapple, cornbread, bacon. What could go wrong?
I would come to regret that assumption.
I followed the recipe exactly, which is written in a pretty weird format. I will insert a photo of the recipe as written in the book because I am pretty sure that trying to type it is going to make my keyboard explode.
Besides, you will not need the recipe, the muffins were awful.
Not subjectively awful. Not “I did not like them” awful.
No, they were objectively and incontrovertibly awful.
Despite all the promise of pineapple and bacon goodness, they had only slightly more flavor than a sun-bleached piece of cardboard.
They were dry, they were crumbly, they were not sweet or savory. They were, I repeat, awful.
This really makes me wonder whether something happened to the ingredients between 1953, when the recipe won at the bake-off, and 2019 that makes the sum of their parts worse than the individual components.
Did canned pineapples lose 98% of their flavor? Did bacon become something else entirely? Maybe it was the cornmeal?
Or maybe, just maybe, people in 1953 had awful taste in muffins and gave this abomination an award.
It is not that they tasted bad; they just tasted like . . . nothing.
I debated whether or not to post this recipe as it was such a failure, but I did a quick poll on my Instagram stories and pretty much everyone who answered said that yes, I should blog about it. So here it is.
Technically speaking, the muffins were fine. They worked. They cooked correctly, they look like the photo in the book, and so on. But that is not enough.
Food is so much more than a technicality, and technically sound muffins that have no flavor are still a disappointment.
I did get to practice my food photography, so I guess it was not a total loss.