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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Seafoam Cantaloupe Pie



The names of colors are powerfully evocative, conjuring up not only images of specific items but of entire decorating aesthetics. Who can forget the horror inflicted upon kitchens in the 1950s with the ubiquity of “mustard” colored appliances, or in the 1970s with the introduction of the surprisingly popular “avocado” color scheme?

Various colors have had their day in the fashion sun and inevitably faded. Ecru had a good run in the late 1980s; Teal appeared inexplicably in countless bridesmaid dresses.

Some color names are extremely specific and denote an exact hue: Robin’s Egg Blue is the color nature attributed to the eggs of the robin. Some are named for the mineral from which they are derived: Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine, for example. Some colors are named after people: Hooker’s Green and Davy’s Grey are a couple.  But others are named after far less exact sources and are thus subject to interpretation. Navy Blue gets its name from the color of the British Nay’s uniforms and has come to mean all dark blue. All dark blues are not the same, however.

Colors can be “hot,”  “cold” or “neutral.” Winsor Yellow and Lemon Yellow are hot and cold respectively and will never be able to produce the same colors when mixed with other pigments. Turquoise and Cobalt are very different mid-spectrum blues, the former leaning towards the green, the latter towards the purple, yet both can be “hot.” Hot Pink is generally accepted as being bright and aggressive compared to a Petal Pink or Coral — you know it when you see it.


Seafoam is a color that might bring to mind the color of bathrooms or the color of the mother-of-the-bride’s hat. Named for the frothy spume that collects where ocean meets sand, it could be described as a light greenish gray with a hint of Manganese Blue. Pantone, the authority on color, describes it as a “light spring budish gray” and assigns it the HEX (hexdecimal) number #CCDDB4. Crayola, that other authority on colors, has a crayon occasionally named Seafoam, whose HEX number is #24C7B7, though it is also called Spring Green.

Neither of these colors is close, relatively speaking, to the color this pie is named after (which has been created by adding a few drops of green food coloring to gelatin). (An analysis of the pie shows that its html color falls somewhere between ccffcc and aaff99. A visual calculation puts it nearer ccff99.) “Seafoam” is not a word it seems prudent to associate with food, since it is a salty combination of tidal effluent containing potentially harmful bacteria not fit for human consumption. 

The correct name for the color of this pie is “Blech,” not to be confused with Black, or Bleach. 

Encyclopedia of Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, 1970

Also from this book: It’s A Green, Green, Green, Green WorldTeddy Bear’s Picnic, Cooking By Encyclopedia

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