Sauerkraut chocolate cake, ham banana rolls with cheese sauce…Turns out there’s a reason crazy recipes like these were so popular in mid-20th century America. It was all a marketing ploy.

Listen to the latest episode of Milk Street Radio to hear writer Christina Ward, author of “American Advertising Cookbooks: How Corporations Taught Us to Love SPAM, Bananas and Jell-O,” reveal just how far corporations went to embed their products in the American kitchen.

“Folks relied on these experts for information on how to cook the new modern foods that were coming along in their supermarkets,” Ward says. Enter the marketplace for curated cookbooks featuring mayonnaise-Jell-O molds; peanut butter, banana and mayonnaise sandwiches and those ham banana rolls, which were inspired by a recipe coined Bananas Honduras, a pork and plantain dish reconceived to be more palatable for the American consumer. (Right...)

Of course, it didn’t stop at recipes, either. An apple a day? No, nothing is sacred.

Learn more on this entertaining podcast interview and get a taste of some of these special cookbooks, newspaper and magazine recipes below.

Chiquita Banana "Ham Banana Rolls"

Chiquita Banana “Ham Banana Rolls”

Too far...

Swanson’s Turkey Cranberry Mousse

Boned Turkey... ‘nuf said.

Swanson’s "Gingered Pear and Chicken Salad"

Just what the buffet table needed.

Meat Salad Mold

What’s in a “12-oz can of luncheon meat” really?

Hellman’s Mayo “Molded Guacamole”

How necessary.

Carnation Evaporated Milk Cream Sauce

Didn’t hate it until we saw how it was used.

May Flower Pot Sandwiches

Every party needs one.

Cambell's "Surprise Soup Shakes!"

Ok, we're done here...