Growing up in the sixties, Saturday evenings were my parent’s night to entertain in our home. With five kids it was easier and probably less expensive to invite friends over for a game of Bridge, cocktails and dinner than to go out. On the day of these mini-events we were all given chores to prepare for the evening. Besides cleaning and setting up card tables and chairs, Mom would have us create corsages for the ladies who would be attending. We were allowed to pick flowers from a neighbor’s garden and wrap them in ribbon with a little greenery. I always thought it was a lovely touch and it kept little hands busy.
One of Mom’s favorite menus included fondue. The fondue craze hit America in the 1960’s with the little pots of oil, cheese or chocolate, and delicate long forks for dipping. It was a lot different than the usual fare: a platter of meats, olives and cubes of cheese rolled around a toothpick. I secretly thought that it was popular because it took women out of the kitchen and into their card chairs. The other "new" concept of the time was crock pots. This liberating device would cook meat or sauces all day long on a timer, eliminating standing in front of the stove for hours, and allowing my mom to take a part time job. The crock pot was not as elegant as the fondue pot but both played a part in the Women’s Liberation Movement. Who knew?
In 2011, the pots are back! A recent cooking demonstration using a crock pot, performed by Chef Maynard Oestreich of Benicia’s Sailor Jack’s restaurant, aired on KRON-TV (Channel 4). As part of the Benicia tourism effort it was arranged that Maynard and Weekend Morning News host Henry Tenenbaum would cook a Super Bowl recipe and dish about why Benicia is such a fun place to visit. During the interview Henry noted that Benicia is “a hotbed of great food with a fabulous art scene.”
From miniskirts to fondue and crock pots, the sixties was an era with a big impact to our culture, then and now.
Here’s the recipe, as written by the chef:
Chef Maynard’s Zinfandel-glazed Crock Pot St. Louis Spareribs
Crock pot veterans: resist the urge to add more liquid. This recipe serves 6 cavemen or 9 normal-sized persons and requires a large capacity crock pot.
- 7 lb. St. Louis cut pork spareribs
- 1 bottle Zinfandel, I prefer Frank Family
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Cajun seasoning
- 4 tbs fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped garlic
- 2 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 12 oz bottle store-bought BBQ sauce, I like Sweet Baby Ray’s
Combine wine and sugar in a sauce pan and simmer to reduce to half volume, about 18 minutes at high simmer. Rinse and dry racks, score inside of rack on the bone side in a crisscross pattern. Season with Cajun seasoning and pepper. Depending on the size of your crock pot, cut racks into 2 or 3 pieces. Combine wine syrup and BBQ sauce, add garlic and onions and toss to coat. Add chicken broth to crock pot and layer rib sections into pot, cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Cut into individual ribs and toss in degreased liquid in the crock pot and serve hot with a lot of napkins.