Julia Kramer, Bon Appetit
Fifty years ago this Sunday, John, Paul, George, and Ringo gave their first live U.S. television performance, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in front of 34 percent of the American population. Here's our question: What were those 73 million viewers eating? We turned to the pages of Bon Appétit from that year to see whether we could gather a few ideas....
The editors of Bon Appétit were seemingly less interested in Beatlemania than in the New York World's Fair, to which they dedicated the April issue. "A 'round-the-world food custom—the sandwich—welcomes visitors at the 7-Up International Sandwich Gardens," wrote Ruth Glass. "Your palate can 'travel' from Hawaii's Lomi-Lomi Salmon on Aloha Coconut Bread to Scotland's Sliced Lamb with Minted Dressing on Scotch Barley Bread to Italy's Prosciutto and Provolone on Sesame Bread."
Continuing with the World's Fair enthusiasm, BA spotlighted the Top of the Fair restaurant. The description: "It is located in the highest structure at the Fair, the Port Authority Heliport Building, and has been designed so you can view the exciting activity at the Fair while dining or relaxing with a drink. This floor, quite factually, tops the Fair." The magazine provided a few recipes for dishes ("Top of the Fair Far East Cooler," "Top of the Fair Spinach and Cheese Pocket," "Top of the Fair Strudel Dough") that may or may not have something to do with this insane photograph.
In case you think someone just woke up one morning and invented Avocado Toast, it turns out the editors of Bon Appétit were as into it in 1964 as we are today. "One of the most historically exotic and greatly misunderstood fruits now gaining widespread national use and popularity is the avocado," writes Harry Brooks in the June issue. "The texture of this fruit is velvety smooth and has a history almost as far-reaching as the classic Biblical apple."
"If ever a beverage was truly American, the Mint Julep is that beverage, and in many of the Southern states is more popular than any other," writes Robin Scott in the April 1964 issue.
A personal favorite, this delicacy is "delightful to eat [and] fun to look at," says Bon Appétit in October 1964. "This Porcupine is made from cream cheese blended with beer and decorated with pretzels and olives."
Though a Sunday night of TV watching was probably more Cheese Porcupine territory than Duck Burgundy territory, this meal was Bon Appétit's idea of a grand holiday spread in 1964. "Give a Really Great Party two years in succession and—voila—you've created a tradition!" writes Joann Dods in the holiday issue, where she offers a recipe for Peach Melba with Port that speaks to the times with ingredients like "1 No. 2 Can Red Raspberries."
First, those are "Christmas Strawberries"—liver sausage rolled in red-colored bread crumbs—in the foreground. Second, Marilyn Markham's point here, in the holiday 1964 issue of Bon Appétit, was to embrace the buffet: "Fast becoming the versatile hostess's most popular form of dinner entertaining, the buffet accents the casual, but may be extremely elaborate, depending on the menu and setting."
See more from Bon Appetit:
How We Ate in 1964, When the Beatles Were on Ed Sullivan, Vs. Now
10 Snacks You Thought Were Healthy But Really Aren't
25 Ways to Use Sriracha
8 Foods That Could Kill You
21 Recipes for Dutch Ovens
Follow Bon Appetit on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bonappetit