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Paul Allen seeks Seattle World’s Fair recipes

Billionaire Paul Allen must be feeling a bit nostalgic for the Seattle World’s Fair. On Twitter, he asked if anyone has recipes of the unique food served at the 1962 extravaganza.

Allen was nine years old when he attended the Century 21 Exposition, commonly known as the the Seattle World’s Fair. He says that event “partially inspired the EMP.”

The fair saw the construction of the Space Needle and monorail, as well as several buildings that remain, including the Pacific Science Center. Allen’s Experience Music Project, was designed to fit in with the fairground atmosphere, but was built nearly 40 years later.

Allen tweeted it would be fun to taste some of that 1962 World’s Fair food again.


Saveur reports Maurice Vermesch first baked Belgian waffles, which are properly called Brussels waffles, at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. As is typical for us, Seattle didn’t get its proper credit for introducing the waffles. After they were sold at the 1964-65 New York fair they became very popular. Vermersch’s daughter Mariepaule wouldn’t divulge her family’s recipe, but the magazine thinks they’ve come very close:

1 3/4 cups self-rising flour, preferably Aunt Jemima brand
1 tsp. granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups of water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4–6 cups whipped cream
2 pints ripe, in-season strawberries, hulled and halved
Confectioners’ sugar

Heat an electric Belgian waffle iron until very hot. Meanwhile, combine flour and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups water, egg yolks, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Whisk in melted butter. Beat egg whites in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy, 1–2 minutes, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Gently but thoroughly fold half the egg whites at a time into batter. Pour about 1 cup of the batter (or enough batter to fill pockets in iron) into hot waffle iron; immediately lower waffle iron lid and cook until waffles are golden-brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Separate sheet of waffles into individual waffles. Repeat process with remaining batter. To serve, put each hot waffle on a plate, top with a pile of whipped cream and strawberries, and sprinkle with some confectioners’ sugar.

I’m going to imagine Paul Allen is rolling up his sleeves right now, putting on a geeky-adorable apron, and looking for his measuring cups so he can make these for himself.

“Sukiyaki and tempura” from Japan were considered exotic foods in 1962. I couldn’t find the recipe for the type of Japanese tempura shrimp that were served.

The Space Needle’s executive chef, Rene Schless, was busy 50 years ago preparing Saute of Beef, Burgundy. The original recipe starts with 40 pounds of beef, but this version is cut down to a family-sized serving for six:

2 lbs. beef for stew
3 T. shortening
1 onion, chopped
3 level T. flour
1 cup Burgundy
1 1/4 cups (1 10 1/2-oz.) can bouillon
1 (4-oz.) can mushrooms
2 T. chopped parsley
1 bay leaf, finely crushed
1/4 t. each powdered thyme, rosemary and marjoram
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. pepper
Pinch cloves
6 small white onions, parboiled
6 small carrots, parboiled
1 cup celery slices, parboiled
1 cup cooked peas (optional)

Cut beef into 1-inch cubes. Brown meat in heated shortening. Add chopped onion and cook until wilted. Sprinkle four over meat, stirring until blended. Add wine, bouillon. undrained mushrooms, parsley and seasonings. Cover tightly and simmer until meat is almost tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Add parboiled onions, carrots and celery, continue cooking until meat and vegetables test done. Taste and add a little additional salt, if needed. Just before serving, add the cooked peas. Use 1/2 cup additional froth or water and garnish beef when served, with 1 cup sauteed fresh mushrooms instead of using canned mushrooms, if desired.

Ready for a nice drink to cap off all that work in the kitchen? Seattle Magazine’s cocktail expert A.J. Rathbun offers this vintage recipe from the top of the Space Needle, the Cloud Buster:

Ice Cubes
1 1/2 ounces vodka
3 ounces Champagne
Lemon twist, for garnish

Add the vodka and three ice cubes to a Champagne glass. Add the Champagne, stir briefly, garnish with the lemon twist.

Here are some more dazzling details about Seattle’s World Fair

Feel free to reminisce with Allen. If you went to the Century 21 Exposition, what do you remember?

The Life magazine cover from February 9, 1962 captured our Space Needle under construction and wrote about the “Fabulous Fair in Seattle.” Notice the other feature article about “Romney of Rambler, New Star in Politics.”


That “new star” was George W. Romney. When he was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation he turned around the struggling firm by focusing all its efforts on the compact Rambler car. Romney became one of the first high-profile business executive to openly share his Mormon faith. He was the Governor of Michigan and he was a candidate in the 1968 GOP presidential race. Romney fell behind Richard Nixon in the polls and was not the nominee. Once elected president, Nixon appointed Romney Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Yes, he was the father of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

By Linda Thomas

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