Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Krisana Park's Mid-Century Modern (and Candy Buckeye)

Photo Credit: DWR
I've been known to day dream about mid-century modern design. And when the most recent catalog from Design Within Reach came through my mail slot, all I could think about was Saarinen, Eames, Jacobsen and Eichler. (Oh they would all look so good in our rental!) Then, almost immediately, I remembered two words: Krisana Park
In this tiny south-east Denver neighborhood there are Eichler-inspired, California-style, mid-century modern homes that were built between 1953 and 1955. It's right next to the Virginia Vale neighborhood, which is not too far from where we are living now. Someone had mentioned Krisana Park to me a while back, but it slipped my mind. I was reminded of it because of the catalog (see, aren't catalogs handy), so I strapped the boys into their cars seats and we set off in search of these mid-century gems. 

About 5 minutes later we turned onto a quiet street and that's when my head nearly exploded! This place is a mid-century dream. 
We took our time walking through the neighborhood. I tried my best to get a look inside these architectural stunners, but I didn't want to pry too much, so we stayed on the sidewalk (mostly). I had a quick flashback to the last time I tried to take a look inside someone's house just to size up the interiors. I (incorrectly) assumed the house was empty, but it wasn't. A man in his mid-40's popped into the window frame just as I was pushing my face onto his glass window to get a better look. He stood there staring at me, shaking his head back-and-forth in disbelief, and gave me a look of general disapproval. It was a bit uncomfortable for everyone, especially since I had the kids in tow. But this time I knew better...
Some of the mid-mods have "popped their top" or been modernized even further.

After walking around for a few hours I started getting hungry. I thought about food-- in particular, mid-century food.
I did a search for 1950's recipes and in the process I stumbled upon two really cool websites: Cheftalk and foodtimeline.org.

Here's what was happening in American grocery stores halfway through the last century, post WWII (basically the beginning of processed and frozen foods):
  • 1953: 
    • Cheeze Whiz (Kraft)went on sale
    • Swanson debuted TV dinners
    • Pepperidge Farm butter cookies
    • Star-Kist brand (canned tuna)
    • Eggo Frozen Waffles
  • 1954
    • Trix (General Mills)
    • Stouffer's frozen meals (Stouffer)
    • Nonfat dry milk (Carnation Co.)
    • Peanut M&Ms (Hershey's)
    • Marshmallow Peeps (Just Born)
    • FYI: Fast food chain Burger King was born
  • 1955
    • Special K breakfast food (Kellogg's)
    • Pepperidge Farm cookies (Bordeauz, Lido, Milano, Orleans)
    • FYI: The first McDonalds (Kroc style)franchise opened and Kentucky Fried Chicken(Colonel Sanders)started selling chicken.

Initially I thought I would whip up a 1950's dip or something thematic that would compliment the architectural nature of this post. But after considering the options I decided not to. I toyed with the idea of making a Spinach-Artichoke dip, but then bagged it because I wasn't really in the mood for an app. Bu you don't have to eat like you're living in the 1950's to live in one of these houses, right? I hear a few of them are on the market...(did I mention that we are house-hunting!)
* * *
The day before I wrote this post, I went over to a friend's house for a cookie bake swap. I made Nutella-Stuffed Brown-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt from  Ambitious Kitchen. My friend Mizzy made Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownies (her recipe will be posting shortly). And our friend Joy made these Candy Buckeyes- a non-cook recipe that has its roots firmly planted in Ohio's culinary history. 
The confection is a peanut butter ball dipped in melted chocolate. It ends up resembling the shiny, dark nut of the Buckeye tree-- which happens to be the state tree of Ohio. As I just learned (yesterday), that's why OSU football fans are called Buckeyes. 
These treats are a distinct Ohio tradition and they are totally 
delicious. We had a whole bag and now there is only one left. Time to me more? Yup! Enjoy.  

Store them in your freezer-- they keep longer and taste great.
(Recipe courtesy of Joy Z's mom)
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  1. Wait, what? I've lived in Denver for six years and I never heard of this area. WHERE IS IT??? It looks amazing. Thanks for posting :)

    1. Hi Ashley, Thanks for your comment. Krisana Park is unreal! And now I just got wind that there's a "sister" neighborhood called Lynwood. I will have to investigate! The borders are S. Dahlia and S. Holly (N-S) and Florida and Louisiana (E-W). Hope you have a great time exploring Denver's awesome places :)

  2. ...those buckeyes look delicious too!

    1. They were. Sadly, we have none left. Guess it's time to make some more!

  3. Denver looks so cool! Candy buckeyes are awesome too.

  4. Wow! I had no idea this was even in Denver! Terrific post!