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Home chefs can go 'Mad' over cookbook

"The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook: More than 100 retro recipes for the modern cook"; Rick Rodgers & Heather Maclean; Running Press, Philadelphia; $20; 217 pages.

If you want to eat like a 1960s family, you'll now have a chance. "The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook" brings back all those family favorites that you might only have seen on television or the Thanksgiving table.

The title plays off a classic 1963 comedy "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and the recipes come from the first half of the decade — think Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and AMC's current hit "Mad Men."

Rick Rodgers and Heather Maclean have modified the originals to make them healthier. Their recipes have more of an emphasis on making recipes from scratch rather than opening a can of ready-made soup to provide a base for Chicken a la King.

One of the most eye-opening charts is on grocery inflation. "$1 in 1963 had the buying power of $7.10 in 2010."

A 1960's gallon of milk was $.49 — it's now $2.79 and up. And who wouldn't like a 30-cent gallon of gas verses today's prices?

Sixties food favorites include pupu platters with crab Rangoon, coconut shrimp, Spam-and-pineapple kebobs, piggies-in-blankets (small hot dogs wrapped in dough), sloppy Joes, candied yams with marshmallow topping (think Thanksgiving for many families) and the absolute '60s classic: tomato-gelatin aspic salads decanted from a copper fish mold.

Nostalgia reigns in the "Don't mess with Mom" tuna-noodle casserole — an eternal classic using condensed cream of mushroom soup and frozen peas.

If you feel daring, you can try beef Wellington or lobster Newberg that starts with instructions on how to successfully cook a lobster.

Finish with a dessert such as pineapple upside-down cake or "grasshopper" pie (chocolate crumb crust, creme de menthe, creme de cacao and heavy cream.)

Wash it down with a martini (vermouth and vodka), white Russian (vodka), or a grasshopper or a mai tai (rum, lime, Curacao and more.)