Whilst browsing at a famous Melbourne market a little while back, Violet Towne made the astute purchase of this Semak Vitamizer recipe book from the 1950s. The cover illustration of a young woman pouring milk into a jug full of orange and carrot juice only hints at the wonders inside…
After some technical explanation of how the Vitamizer actually works (‘The four little blades, which resemble a ship’s propellor, are sharpened and set in such a manner that, when they revolve at 18,000 revolutions per minute, they set up a violent flow or current surging through the contents of the container…’) a photographic spread introduces you to the kinds of treats you might be able to conjure up, now that you’ve purchased your Semak Vitamizer.
Truly, with the Semak, the world is your oyster puree!
Well, I know you want to get started, so let’s have a look at some of the ‘lovely Vitamizer dishes illustrated on this page’. The first offering is a serving of something so redolent of ten-day-old wallpaper-paste residue that it had to be garnished with parsley in order to have any chance at all of resembling food:
Yes, I know, a valiant attempt, but still mysteriously unappetizing. Ooh, and what’s this? Some crackers smeared with faeces and topped with leaves:
I know your mouths are watering at the very thought of walking up to the canapé table to be greeted with such a festive presentation! Am I right? Well the delights are only beginning. Next on the menu, that staple of 1950s cuisine, Sewage Loaf…
…again embellished with a jaunty sprig of parsley in order to differentiate it from a hastily made mud brick. Of course, if you’re making things out of poo, there’s no real need to vitamize anything at all – just crumb the turds directly and arrange on lettuce…
… with parsley, it goes without saying. It keeps the breath fresh.
Moving on, a puzzling dish of custard and… er… small squares of toast? Sewage Loaf? Linoleum?
There’s no parsley, so maybe I’m on the wrong track and it’s not food at all. Home-made aquarium sealant, perhaps. Or a science experiment.
And don’t forget – if you run out of ideas on a food photo-shoot (especially if all the food looks like crap), you can always open some tinned spaghetti and pour that into one of the bowls. No-one will notice.
If you make it past this introductory page, some of the non-illustrated recipes that the Semak Vitamizer book goes on to offer (for which, thankfully, you have to summon up appropriate images in your mind’s-eye) include ‘Prune Satin’, ‘Date Milk Shake’ and ‘Tomato Corrective’. There is also ‘Fruit Mould’ and, for the very brave, ‘Mock* Pate de Foie Gras’ (really, don’t ask – suffice to say it includes a sprig of parsley).
And so we close our Semak Vitamizer recipe book for now. Just remember:
*The ’50s was truly the decade of ‘mock’. When we were kids, my mum used to make us ‘mock fish’. It was actually just potato cakes or latkes. For some reason, for many years until I was set straight, I thought we were eating ‘mop’ fish. I maintain until this day that the things on the plate had more in common with mops than they did with fish.