The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe

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

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook 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.

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.

historical photos

beautiful color photos of select dishes

Ok, bring on the Rumaki!

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!

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.

(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.

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.

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.

How 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 (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!

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.

27 thoughts on “The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and a Rumaki Recipe”

  1. 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. 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. @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. @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. 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. 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. I’m counting the days ’til Mad Men comes back, and this book sounds fabulous. I would definitely buy it for the cocktails alone… and that’s a great cocktail shaker in the photo, by the way!

  5. 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!!

  6. 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!

  7. 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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