Mailbag: The 1998 Congressional Club Cook Book


This week, we received a care(?) package from Sarah in Minnesota, a long-time Friend of the Clog. It contained many sinister goodies, and we're going to work through them one at a time.

But we're starting with the evilest, most recent edition of the cookbook we've seen.

The cover is actually a Magic Eye® print. If you let yourself go kind of cross-eyed, you'll see a hidden image of an aspic wearing the Gadsden flag like a cape. 

The 1998 (Lucky Thirteenth!) Edition is a beautiful, heavy tome suitable for crushing many insects. The pages are glossy. The cover is floral. The bookmark is a pink satin ribbon. In other words, it is quintessentially '90s femme.

This book is a decorative Kleenex box cover. This book is a carpeted bathroom. This book is The Joy of Cooking for Dolores Umbridges.

It is also SIGNED, transforming the book from "a little evil, in a Virginia Slims kind of way" to "extremely evil, in an ancient and probably tentacled kind of way."

We understand why Mary and Andrew had to get rid of it, but the curse has now passed to our home.
In case you're using a screen reader (or just hate reading in cursive): that's a dedication from former Senator (and former segregationist) TRENT LOTT (R-MS).

Yes, the very same Trent Lott who stepped down as Senate Majority Leader in 2003 after saying that if the nation had elected Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond as president, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."

The very same Trent Lott who, in 2018, publicly stated that he would support giving firearms to "talented children and highly trained preschoolers."

When we got to that page, we screamed. 

The recipes range from sensible salmon jellies to "breaded dandelions." They're also accompanied with full-color photographs! Not of the food, of course—that would be ridiculous. Instead, most recipes have lovely inset photographs of flowers withering upon the lea.

Here's the chapter header for "meats, seafood, and poultry":  

"Are we...a metaphor?"
Other signs of the times: the ENRON Corporation is listed among the Club's "Bronze" sponsors. 

The foreword contains a genuinely lovely explanation of the Club's subversive history, which we have reproduced below:

"On May 6, 1908, at the very first meeting of the Congressional Club, its founding members voted to ask Congress for a charter. John Sharp Williams, Minority Leader of the House, who opposed women's clubs for keeping women away from hearth and home, announced his opposition. On the day of the vote . . . Mrs. Williams, looking her loveliest, surprised her husband with an invitation to lunch. While they enjoyed an hour in the Representatives Dining Room, the charter resolution passed on the Floor." 

The Congressional Club women indeed strayed far from hearth and home. And while our bellies and blood pressures may rue their recipes, our hearts and minds salute these feminist pioneers and home cooks. Because we, like these noble foxgloves, are true friends. 

Definitely weed in there somewhere. 

New Clog coming at you Friday, featuring a little-known Libertarian fella by the name of "Ronald Paul." If you missed our last entry, "Tomato Soup for Microwave Oven," click the recipe name to be transported to an electromagnetic time/taste.

Note: while we are steadfastly committed to keeping this a money-losing operation, we will always accept donations of Hamm's, unsettling gelatin molds, and ancient culinary runes. Inquire within:


  1. "with best wishes for many years of happiness" — Sounds like a wedding gift. The addition of "U.S. Senator" below the signature suggests a melange of impersonal distance and self-aggrandizement, redolent of the President tossing paper towels to hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico. Judging by where the book ended up, I imagine Mary and Andrew would've rather gotten $20.

  2. It's so republican I'm surprised it doesn't have over-buttered mashed potatoes and Banquet gravy leaking from it in a flood of pure cholesterol.