The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

It’s a Virtual Mad Men party, and we’re going retro!

Rumaki The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

UnofficialMadMenCookbook The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki RecipeThe Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook%name The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe combines three of my favorite obsessions into one neat little package: anything retro, cooking and Don Draper…er, Mad Men. So with the season five premiere just a week away, the smart cookies behind the book have organized a Virtual Mad Men party Sunday night. Click here to see the other blogs participating, check out their recipes and get ready to party like a Mad Man! It’s the perfect chance to round up some ideas if you’re planning your own viewing party.

And speaking of parties, check out the updated the photos in our How to have a Mad Men theme party post. We’re proud to say this post was linked by AMC during season four as a reference for “How to Throw the Perfect Party” (along with only two other links, Epicurious and Oprah). But enough horn tooting, on to the party…

Before we get to the dish we’ve brought to the party, the fabulously retro Rumaki, let’s first talk about the cookbook itself. It’s an absolute must for any fan. It has more than 70 authentic recipes taken from the kitchens, restaurants and bars seen on Mad Men. It’s a go to for anyone who wants to throw a retro shindig, Mad Men fan or not. But what’s really clever about this book is that it cites the episode that the recipes appear in, then talks about the historical aspect of the dish.

UnofficialMadMenCookbook2 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

Take for example the whiskey sour, which appears in season 4, episode 10 “Hands and Knees”. The drink makes two appearances in the show, first at copywriter Paul Kingsley’s party in bohemian New Jersey, where they are drank from glass jars. Then later in a much more posh scenario when Don, Lane and Lane’s mean father order them at the Playboy club. The book describes the scenes to a T, then gives history on the Playboy club. It’s fascinating, so well done and the only cookbook that I’ve read from cover to cover.

UnofficialMadMenCookbook4 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipehistorical photos

UnofficialMadMenCookbook3 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipebeautiful color photos of select dishes

Ok, bring on the Rumaki!

Rumaki4 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

Rumaki appears in the classic episode “A Night to Remember” (season 2, episode 8) as a dish that Betty makes for her Around the World party, served alongside Heineken beer (a Sterling Cooper client). Don wants to prove that affluent housewives are an untapped market, and Betty beautifully proves his point without even knowing so. That Don’s so smart!
Rumaki2 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

A popular dish in the 60s, the book writes that its origins are murky – citing it coming from everywhere from Japan to Trader Vic’s to Polynesian roots. But one thing is for sure, it was a rather worldly choice for a party back then.

Chicken livers aren’t everyone’s favorite. People will eat its French counterpart, pate, without qualm. But in its humble original form, you may get a few wrinkled noses. I love happen to love chicken liver so I was game. And I think you could wrap anything in bacon and it would be good, so there you go.

Rumaki5 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

(adapted from The New York Times cookbook, 1961)

  • 6 chicken livers, cut into thirds
  • 18 canned water chestnuts, sliced
  • 9 bacon slices, cut into thirds
  • 9 scallions, sliced lengthwise, then into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (I used fresh instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder

1. Fold each chicken liver around a water chestnut slice.

2. Wrap a strip of bacon and a scallion piece around the liver/chestnut core, pinning each kabob with 2 toothpicks.

Rumaki6 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

Rumaki7 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

3. Combine soy sauce, ginger and curry powder in a small bowl. Place kabobs in a baking dish and cover with soy sauce mixture. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour.

Rumaki9 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

4. Remove kabobs from refrigerator. Drain Marinade. Broil kabobs in a preheated broiler, turning frequently until bacon is cooked, about 5 minutes. Serve on wood skewers.

Makes 18 kabobs.

Rumaki3 The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki RecipeHow perfect is this vintage birds of paradise serving tray for these?

It’s official, we heart The Unofficial Mad Men cookbook. Buy it here: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook%name The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe (it’s only $11.32 at Amazon!)

Anyone have any plans for a Mad Men viewing party? How excited are you for the premiere on Sunday, March 25? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Stef is many things. Amongst them: co-editor of we heart this, graphic designer, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie.

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also may contain an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

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Written by stef


  1. 30A EATS

    Whew! All of my favorite foods rolled up and served on a toothpick! Love bacon, chicken livers and curry! Can’t get any better than that! thanks for bringing the Rumaki to the party! Love that vintage dish too! :)

    1. Profile photo of hao9703

      Whiskey Sours were my Grandfathers favorite drink! We got the kids version called “kiddie cocktail”–It was 7up from a glass bottle, cherries and a bit of the juice. As a result, the kids loved cocktail hour as well.

      I remember liking gizzards as a kid. I have not tried them as an adult.

    2. Profile photo of Stef Andrews
      Stef Andrews

      @hao9703 – What the heck is a gizzard anyway?! If I’m correct, I think only birds have them. My love of chicken livers stems from an Amish stand at a flea market (that my family used to have a soft pretzel stand at, OMG how PA is that?) that sold bowls of chicken livers, gizzards, mushrooms or mix of all 3. They cooked them in butter all day long and they just kind of melted in your mouth. I always skipped the gizzards though.

    3. Profile photo of hao9703

      @stef – My Grandparents would serve gizzards and livers together. They would fry them in flour and seasonings–like you would chicken.

      According to Wikipedia- The gizzard, also referred to as the ventriculus, gastric mill, and gigerium, is an organ found in the digestive tract of some animals, including birds, reptiles, earthworms and some fish. This specialized stomach constructed of thick, muscular walls is used for grinding up food.

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    1. Profile photo of Tyna Werner
      Tyna Werner

      I’m a vegetarian too Marilyn @lipglossandspandex, so I couldn’t make a lot of the recipes in the cookbook, but as @Stef mentioned, it is completely fascinating and readable – even for the non meat eaters! I’m about half way through ‘reading’ this cookbook. I check out a couple of recipes every night before I go to bed and it’s great bedtime reading! If you love Mad Men, you’ll love this book. Luckily, I do drink alcohol (heh) so there are plenty of cocktail recipes for me to try out (and a few veggie dishes as well).

  3. Profile photo of spitfire77

    Love this post and so excited for Mad Men to come back! That is so cool your party post was linked by AMC! The cookbook looks like a lot of fun too. The whole cast was on Today Show this morning which made my day, can’t wait for the 25th!

  4. Profile photo of Kellie

    I am so beyond stoked for next Sunday!! This is my show!!! I only wish that I had a group of friends who also liked the show. I would absolutely throw a Mad Men party! But this won’t stop me from picking up this awesome looking cookbook! How fun!! Thanks @stef!!

  5. Sara

    Reading the unofficial Mad Men cookbook was a blast and cooking from it is like a rite of passage! I highly recommend it for anyone who, like me, was a little kid in the sixties and only got to serve, and watch, while Mom and Dad and their friends ate and drank these delicious concoctions. The background on the recipes gives fun insights into what was consumed at those old dinner parties, and the recipes themselves are really great for any time!

  6. Profile photo of sherrishera

    Gosh, I know my mom LOVES chicken livers. There was a diner in town that used to have them as a daily special once a week. We went there once a week. I never tried them though; “chicken livers” never sounded appetizing to a 9-year-old. I love pâté, though…and fois gras (shhhh…I feel bad enough as it is) so I’d love to give them another go in this recipe!

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