Two decades before the California food revolution, Walt Disney was planning a revolution of his own. Walt knew that food could be more than nourishment – it could be entertaining, too. The concept of families eating and playing at the same time was an innovation in mid-century America. Food in Disneyland wasn’t gray or humdrum. It was full of fantasy and color!
Eat Like Walt is a culinary tour of the park’s six lands. Every attraction has a story, and so do many of the menu items. Disneyland’s food transports us as much as it satiates us, or as Walt declared, “The food is as fabulous as the fun, too.”
John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios & Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering explains:
“Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food gives you a great sense of Walt Disney’s creative journey in designing Disneyland as an immersive experience, in thinking about food as an important part of creating something enjoyable and memorable. It’s a fascinating story, connecting the personal, professional and public sides of Walt Disney’s life: from his simple tastes and down-to-earth home life, to his attention to detail and good quality in everything he touched, to his incredible understanding of storytelling and entertainment as a complete experience.
Marcy paints an in-depth picture of the food at the Disney Studios and Disneyland during Walt’s lifetime. Reading it you can imagine what these places were like when they first opened – what it must have been like to see Walt standing in line at the commissary for lunch, or seated at the back table at the Carnation Café. Any Disney fan knows how exciting it is to get to hear a new part of the Disney story. This one is a special treat.”
The vintage name for this dish is Ko’aia Haia Kahiki.
2 cups tomato ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup crushed pineapple (fresh or canned)
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
3 whole cloves
4 pounds pork spareribs or baby back ribs
Combine all ingredients (except ribs) and blend well. Allow mixture to stand in refrigerator overnight.
Strain before using. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Place ribs on a rack in roasting pan or sheet pan.
Bake basting with sauce often, for 2 to 3 hours, or until meat separates easily from the bone.
MORE FROM MARCY: There is quite a bit of salt in the ketchup and soy sauce—you may not need any salt or rub on the ribs. The Disneyland recipe calls for the ribs to be precut before cooking, but that can dry them out. I recommend roasting the racks intact and slicing just before serving. The leftover sauce freezes nicely.
These square cupcakes have achieved mythical status in southern California for nearly a century. Fans flock to Martino’s Bakery and buy them by the dozens. In 1994 the new owners inherited the secret recipe but they are keeping it, well, secret. Enter baker Johanna Lasseter-Curtis (my pal and John Lasseter’s twin sister). She tasted and tested – with a little culinary CSI – until she could come close to the Tea Cakes of Walt’s day.
(or a baker’s dozen, a nod to Walt’s favorite number 13)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter or margarine at room temperature
1 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon or 2 to 3 drops lemon extract
2 large eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) butter or margarine
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons golden brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 drops yellow food coloring
Wax or parchment paper
MORE FROM MARCY: Johanna and I made a conscious decision to use the mid-century ingredients of Walt’s era, thus the options of margarine and food coloring. Square cupcake pans are a must! I prefer Wilton. You’ll find them easily online. Johanna created a high altitude version of this recipe. Please use the contact form and Marcy will email it to you.
Fill square cupcake pan with white 2’X 1 3/8-inch round cupcake liners. Tempting as the matching square liners are, do not use them; they’re too big. If you use the smaller traditional supermarket liners, yield will increase. Do not grease or spray liners.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer cream oil, butter or margarine, brown and white sugar for 1 minute on medium-high speed, scrape bowl, mix 1 more minute.
Add buttermilk, vanilla, lemon extract and eggs. Mix on low to combine.
Add dry ingredients. Mix on medium-high for 1 minute, scrape bowl, mix 1 minute more.
Using an ice cream scoop or 1/3 measuring cup, fill cupcake liners ¾ full of batter.
Bake 24-28 minutes until the tea cakes are golden brown with a slight dome and spring back from touch or a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out just clean.
Let Tea Cakes rest 5 minutes in pan then remove immediately.
Cool an additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze.
Sift powdered sugar. Set aside.
Melt butter or margarine in medium saucepan. Add water and brown sugar, cooking until sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Remove from heat.
Mix in vanilla and food coloring.
Immediately whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. If glaze is too thick you can gently reheat. If glaze is too thin add a little more powdered sugar.
Dip the tops of the cooled teacakes into warm glaze and place on wax or parchment paper to harden, about 5 minutes.