70s Week: Terrific Women Make Pepperoni Salad

Pass the pepperoni. I’m eating salad here! I feel like we’ve lost our way with salads. They’ve become so over-simplified under the guise of showing off the best of the ingredients at hand—it’s really disappointing. Where’s the French, Catalina (okay those might be the same thing), Thousand Island, and un-ironic Ranch? Surely it’s time we started adding raw egg yolks to our dressing for creamy, heavy coatings to cover-up the refreshing and crisp icebergs and garden vegetables the greengrocer likes to stock. Who has ever gotten fat by eating a plateful of Pepperoni Salad on the daily?

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Obviously it’s a subject we feel strongly about, which is probably why we found this next photo set hidden in Jen’s Fleetwood Mac album sleeve. Get us on the subject of light-weight salads and it’s like Stevie Nicks flipping out at the end of “Rhiannon”.

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It’s clear from these photos how close Linda and Joy were outside the show—a regular Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern. They shared everything with each other from advice on the best military school to send Joy’s unborn baby, to tips on making macramé plant hangers, and the pleasures of having an ample Italian sausage every now and then. They both really loved this salad.

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For the time, these flavours were really pushing the boundaries of the foreign food aisle at the local Dominion supermarket but that’s what made Linda and Joy’s cooking so special—they weren’t afraid to take risks. Linda, the trailblazer that she was, stole inspiration, as well as the innocence of a few busboys, from her neighbourhood pizzeria. When she first started making this salad it was just a few slices of leftover pizza cut up over a big bowl of iceberg lettuce to make it more nutritious.

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The salad kind of evolved from there. One night when Linda was serving this at one of her “parties”, she had been bunged up for nearly two weeks, which her doctor attributed to her restrictive diet, consisting mainly of whisky and cigarettes. He recommended she try adding garbanzo beans to a salad for some dietary fibre. Though she was reluctant to try it, she loved the word “garbanzo” so picked up a can and added them to the party’s salad that night. Everyone loved the new twist and Joy then took it upon herself to tinker with the recipe on her own, replacing the pizza slices with pizza toppings.

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This is what made Linda and Joy’s friendship last so long. They could relate over anything and found life lessons in the most ordinary circumstances, whether it was sausages, constipation, or a mix of both.

Pepperoni Salad

1 head of iceberg lettuce, torn
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
19 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup pepperoni, thinly sliced
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup Italian dressing
salt and pepper to taste

Toss in a parquet bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

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70s Week: Terrific Women Make Pineapple-Ham Spread

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We still can’t believe it’s been 40 years since we first met! It doesn’t feel so long ago when we were packing Jen’s Oldsmobile—she liked her cars like she liked her dogs: white with red interior—filling the entire back seat with grocery bags crammed full of canned pineapple and curly parsley before heading over to the studio. That’s actually how we rediscovered the photos that go along with this sweet and salty spread.

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We were thinking back on that time when Linda was absolutely obsessed with Dolly Parton’s Jolene album, specifically the title track. She would get so passionate every time CHUM played it on the radio, reaching over from the back seat, in amongst the groceries, to blare it over the car speakers—I think it would stir up some rather raw memories of her first husband. It became a real distraction as Jen tried to manoeuvre the car down Yonge street one day, and caused her to crash into a stop sign narrowly missing our tiny, perfect mayor, David Crombie. To make a short story long, it was this Dolly Parton album that the photos for this episode were found in.

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The Terrific Women loved using ground ham in their recipes. It was one of those secret ingredients Joy liked to pull out of her back pocket to add a little heft and richness to her cooking. If she wasn’t satisfied that a casserole or salad was meaty enough she would sprinkle on a little ground ham, marvelling at the chewy pink rubble bits as they passed through her fingers. Most of the time we could find ground ham packed in a plastic tube at the butcher counter but occasionally would have to resort to picking up a few ham steaks and grinding them ourselves in the Cuisinart. It was horribly inconvenient but the steaks often came with a lovely lemon raisin sauce packet, which could be used for other things, like an ice cream topping or mixed in with a little mayonnaise for a quick and exotic condiment for hotdogs.

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Make your best “mayonnaise face”, ladies!

Linda and Joy always served party sandwiches when they entertained because it gave Joy a chance to show off her cookie cutter collection. She had shapes for every occasion; angels for Christmas, babies for New Years, cherubs for Valentine’s Day, etcetera. Actually, most of her shapes were of babies but she used a piggy cookie cutter exclusively for these sandwiches.

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There are two important steps to making this recipe successfully. First make sure the canned pineapple is thoroughly drained as any excess moisture will make the spread runny. I find the best way to do this is to use a clean sports sock so the tiny bits of pineapple can’t escape as you squeeze the juice out. Save the juice for a later use, perhaps to mix with some vodka for a Jackhammer before your guests arrive. The second important step is to make sure you use a lot of butter before sandwiching in the spread. The butter will act as a moisture-proof barrier, meaning the sandwiches will never go soggy, so they can sit out all night as the party goes on.

Pineapple-Ham Spread

1 cup fully-cooked ham, ground
8 1/2 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
12 slices white bread

Mix ham, pineapple, mayonnaise, brown sugar, and mustard in a bowl. Spread 12 slices of bread generously with butter on one side. Spread 6 slices of the buttered bread with pineapple-ham spread and top with a piece of buttered bread, giving you six sandwiches. Use a cookie cutter to cut out fun shapes like a pig or pineapple.

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70s Week: Terrific Women Make Minced Clam Cheese Dip

We’d completely forgotten about this recipe. But it all came flooding back to us when we were looking at some behind-the-scenes photos, trying to see what unappetizing thing Linda was scooping out of some tacky clam shells that she had placed on a platter filled with decorative sand. It took some sleuthing to find out where we stashed the recipe but we finally found it scribbled down on the inside sleeve of Jen’s Rags to Rufus LP. No idea what the association was between clam dip and Chaka Khan was at the time but I’m guessing it wasn’t anything to do with “Tell Me Something Good”.

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This dip has a lot going for it or at least it did in 1974, including ingredients like canned clams, cream cheese, and flavour extender. Those three ingredients could transform the most mundane pantry staples into a party, which was Linda’s basic criteria for entertaining company—better to save your energy for the key party.

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Refrigeration on set was a constant problem. We used two miniature refrigerators running around the clock, one next to Linda’s kitchen set and the other in Linda and Joy’s dressing room that was generally only stocked with nail polish and peach schnapps, and you didn’t dare move the schnapps unless you were fixing yourself a breakfast Fuzzy Navel.

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On the night before we were to shoot this dip recipe, I made the mix up and put it in the kitchen fridge to use the next day. Unfortunately that night, Linda and Joy ran into a foxy group of sailors down at the harbour and decided to take them back to the studio so Joy could show them her pressed flower collection that she kept in their dressing room. In their haste to chill down the case of Baby Duck that Linda had secured away for special visitors, the clam dip was relocated from the kitchen fridge to beside the radiator.

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The genius of this recipe meant that when it came time to start shooting I could still go ahead and use the toxic dip in the beauty shot because, despite it being warmed over a six hour period, its signature clay-grey colour remained intact. The only tweak needed was to cover up some of the dried coagulated bits with curly parsley. It meant, however, that Linda and Joy couldn’t eat it on camera, having to resort to tasting the food they made fresh during the taping, which they rarely ever did because it was always so peppered with cigarette ashes. None of this actually mattered In the end though because Joy still stole a bite of the radiator clams, lost in her craving for something salty to chase the Mai-Tai she was sipping during filming. Thankfully at the hospital her doctor wasn’t concerned about a thing, since he advised at her stage in the pregnancy it was completely safe to eat soured clams as long as it was followed by a stiff drink.

Minced Clam Cheese Dip

7 1/2 oz can minced clams, drained
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon flavour extender (MSG)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve from cleaned clam shells or other nautical serving ware. Spread on a Ritz.

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70s Week: Terrific Women Make Mai-Tais

Rarely, if ever do we want to get personal on this blog. Jen and I prefer to keep it about the food and photography when we can but as we stumbled across an old photo set, stashed away in one of Jen’s well-loved Helen Reddy albums, we realized it was coming up on the 40th anniversary of when we met. It was May 5th, 1974 when our paths first crossed on set of the cable access show Terrific Women, starring local celebrities Linda Davis and Joy Johanson.

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It feels like it was just yesterday so to commemorate this major Crustcrumbs milestone, we’ve decided to make May 5th-9th, 70s Week! All week long we’ll be going through more of Jen’s vinyl collection to unearth the rest of our Terrific Women archives, sharing a few favourite recipes, stories, behind-the-scenes photos, and videos from those early days on set.

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As I remember it, I was just finishing my culinary training at George Brown and Jen had begun taking on more local gigs, joining the team as a unit stills photographer, after wrapping another successful season of The Beachcombers. Terrific Women was not a cooking show. Linda was always the first to admit she didn’t eat, but inevitably in their attempt to put together a show that would instruct women how to lead successful, independent lives, Joy’s enthusiasm for home economics and Linda’s overwhelming urges to have a good time, persuaded them to shoot multiple episodes on entertaining. In fact, their innovations on the subject were leaps and bounds ahead of their time, which is something you’ll see in the footage we’ve pulled together this week.

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It’s amazing with the sheer volume of lousy cocktails and excessive drinking that happened on set that we can still stomach the sight of another mixed drink—nowadays it’s probably better to just give us a cigarette and a glass of Mateus. Back then of course, it was all maraschino cherries and disco naps. A typical shoot always started out with a drink, nothing as complicated as the Mai-Tai they made in the episode below, usually just a couple fingers of Kahlúa in our morning coffee, a Brown Cow to deliver a healthy does of calcium, or a Bloody Mary to get some roughage into us.

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Every recipe that appeared on the Terrific Women show was concocted by Linda and Joy exclusively with a little thievery from local discos and their favourite Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks. Not surprisingly, it was Joy’s misadventure that led her to con this Mai-Tai recipe from a bartender when we were all out celebrating the end of another productive day, early into the Tuesday morning hours. Joy was somehow able to ruse the bartender into temporarily believing the baby bump she had been sporting for the last eight and a half months had something to do with him. He felt bad enough that he wrote this drink recipe across her stomach as a parting gift for the groovy evening they shared together.

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On the show it was sort of an inside joke to put a shot glass on the table for them to use because it was such a ridiculous idea that either of them would take the time to measure-out their booze. This is the actual recipe they made on the show with its measured proportions, though to stay in the spirit of the show, we’ll be making our drinks tonight by free-pouring the alcohol just like Linda and Joy used to do in 1974.


Makes 1 cocktail

Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 oz apricot brandy
1/2 oz blue curaçao
2 oz dark rum

To serve:

1 pineapple, hollowed-out and frozen
Sliced pineapple, to garnish
Sliced oranges, to garnish
Maraschino cherries, to garnish
Ice cubes

Combine the lime juice, apricot brandy, blue curaçao, and dark rum in the hollowed-out shell of a frozen pineapple and stir to combine. Add ice to fill the shell and garnish with skewers of pineapple, orange, and maraschino cherries.

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