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Jiggling Jell-O molds, two layer cakes and questionable cheese-product casseroles that would flutter the heart of Betty Crocker (if she were a real person), are all part of the mid-century modern dinner buffet at HeART Gallery’s retro-summer party on Thursday, June 21 from 6-9pm. The Toledo Art Loop theme for the evening is “Automobile Art”, and HeART gallery has taken the theme from vintage cars in its parking lot to culinary favorites inside. Period dresses line the walls of the gallery with Mad Men inspired cocktails offered next to a Soda Fountain bar where a uniformed soda jerk will serve up hot fudge sundaes and root beer floats.

Across the room, the gallery stage boasts a larger-than-life version of “Concentration”, popular game show of the period. Guests are invited to play the game with treasured prizes from sponsors of the past: Dial soap and Colgate toothpaste. Highlight of the evening though, is the mid-century buffet loaded with Great Aunt Florence’s Pear Lime Jello Salad and deviled eggs topped with pimento stuffed olives. “It’s all about the spirit of the parties our moms and grandmothers hosted back in the ‘50s and ‘60s – the original recipes and traditions,” says gallery director Kate Philabaum. “My grandmother would throw wonderful parties, and most just required a can opener and boxed cake mix. This is not a kale and quinoa event, and healthy diets will have to slide for the night,” she joked.

Midcentury lifestyle has recently made a comeback in clothing, furnishings and even architecture. Understandably food of that era has been left behind. Recipes for the HeART Gallery buffet come from a variety of sources such as the Pickle Pinwheel Platter from late Hollywood actress Joan Crawford. A pink gelatin dessert pictured in a 1960 McCall’smagazine, features orange, lime and strawberry Jello cubes suspended in creamy pink gelatin as a dessert classic. Deviled ham sandwiches, on white bread of course, sit next to a bowl of macaroni salad, whose recipe was printed in the Washington Postas upscale, affordable cuisine and a way to use leftovers.

A suggested donation of $10 (cash or check) includes dinner buffet and drinks. Period clothing encouraged! HeART Gallery is located in St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 428 North Erie Street, downtown Toledo. The facility is handicap accessible with free parking adjacent to the church.

The fun starts Thursday, June 21 from 6-9pm as part of the Toledo Art Loop. Guests can ride the Art Loop bus to other sites by purchasing an arm band for $2.

For more information contact

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