The Celluloid Pantry: Fourth of July Heritage Loaf and The Groove Tube (1974)

[The Celluloid Pantry will go on a short hiatus while Nora takes a writer’s residency at the Blue Mountain Center. We’ll return July 25th.]

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Sandra Lee, take note. Back in the era of condensed soup recipes, uber-processed “space-age” ingredients, and no-mixing required “dump cakes,” a troupe of young comedians was thinking outside the can.

A loopy, counterculture-fueled satire of broadcast television, featuring an astoundingly young Richard Belzer and Chevy Chase, The Groove Tube (1974) is a heady cocktail of Watergate-era sketch comedy, ranging from the mildly off-color to the all-out raunchy. Among its most memorable segments is “Kramp TV Kitchen,” a send-up of the old product-flogging Kraft “hands” commercials (Canadian readers especially may remember these spots from “The Carol Burnett Show”). The soothing voiceover makes it all sound so easy:

“Begin by coating a large, shallow casserole dish with Kramp Easy Lube Vegetable Shortening, and place in the refrigerator to cool. Pit a half dozen black olives and a half dozen Bing cherries. Insert the olive pits into the cherries, then insert the cherries into the olives. Set aside. Spread [with] a layer of Kramp Dairy Foam Whipped Cream Substitute. Decorate with a miniature version of Old Glory.”

Kind of puts you in the mood for some Slow Food.

Dump Cake

20 ounces canned crushed pineapple
16 ounces canned cherry pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix, dry
1 1/2 sticks butter, sliced

Dump all ingredients into baking pan (no mixing required), and bake at 350° F for approximately one hour, until lightly browned.

- Nora

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.