Ten ways to stay busy until Mad Men returns
Published: August 11, 2011
In June official word came that Janie Bryant, Mad Men’s ace costume designer, would collaborate on a capsule collection with Banana Republic. Lovers of fashion had been hoping Bryant would design a vintage-inspired collection since the first season: those wafty-skirted, wasp-waisted dresses of Betty’s were fashion-mag page-bait, sure, but voluptuous viewers everywhere coveted Joan’s va-va-voom red sweater dress for themselves. Even the flat-front high-water trousers worn by the men of Sterling Cooper had a certain … well, package-enhancing effect that wasn’t lost on some fans. Unfortunately, Bryant’s BR line looks uninspired – those who truly wish for the Mad Men look without the thrift-store aroma would do much, much better to spend money on Kate Spade’s dresses, shoes and jewelry (ladies) and J. Crew’s Ludlow suiting line (gentlemen). If you just can’t resist a cross-promotion, though, the Banana Republic collection goes on sale today (Aug. 11).
This December, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is scheduled to drop: Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin promise a tour through the kitchens and restaurants of the 1960s, “with every detail true to the period and themes of the show.” But as we said above, most MM tie-in books are throwaway-cheap; you’re best off consulting primary sources. Julia Child’s landmark Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published in 1961, but it’s unlikely Betty would have succumbed to its garlicky charms. Indeed, her shudder-inducing “trip around the world” menu in Season 2 – gazpacho, rumaki, lamb with egg noodles – pegs her a Better Homes and Gardens recipe clipper at best. Working gal Peggy, meanwhile, no doubt has a copy of Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Book : Bracken, an ad copywriter herself, published the collection of no-goof box-powder-and-can recipes (“Elevator Lady Spice Cookies,” “Company Carrots” and “Skinny Meatloaf”) in 1960. A handsome 50th-anniversary edition came out last year, but the original, with illustrations by Hilary Knight (of Eloise fame) is worth seeking out. The perfect Christmas gift from the concerned secretaries of Don Draper, Lane Pryce and all the other suddenly superfluous ’60s husbands: a copy of the cook-by-pictures Wolf in Chef’s Clothing , Robert Loeb’s male corollary to Bracken’s book – though Wolf, of course, posits cooking merely as a seduction device.
The world is full of mixologists’ wisdom – AMC offers Mad Men-themed drink recipes, drinking games, even a “cocktail culture” app for your phone – but it really boils down to this: brown liquor or clear, in a highball glass, from noon until night. Just, as Roger Sterling says, “don’t be a sissy Mary” about it: “You don’t know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it’s good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it’s what men do.” Yeah … and women.