Friday, September 12, 2008

Maroon Elephant:: Seven Hours Fatal Bean Legume

A while back I was having a conversation with my girl Andrea, and we started in reminiscing about the hideous food we used to have to eat when we were kids. Odd thing was, the same recipes came up, her and me. Now granted, there was a perceived 'poverty' mentality going on in both cases...I think everyone who had kids back in the 50's and 60's was required by law to assume they were one step away from some horrible rat infested Dickensian poorhouse situation-and being poor means you have to eat shitty food that tastes bad. At least it did then. Now apparently it means you suck warm lard out of the bucket and chase it with bacon. But back then if you didn't serve your family institutional grade ground beef at least three nights a week you were just DOING IT WRONG.

1. Swiss Steak.
What the hell was this shit and what was so goddamn Swiss about it? Seriously. To this day nothing about this dish says 'Switzerland' to me. It doesn't look like the Matterhorn. It isn't made of chocolate. It IS made of cow, of course, and they do have a lot of cows in Switzerland, but they have a lot of cows here too so it could have just as easily been Sumas Steak, except then it would have bacon and lard in it.

1 huge round steak (you never see these any more. They used to be the size of a fricken manhole cover and they wept nearly 1/3 their total mass in cooking as water. Aquatic beef? Sliced dugong? What? )
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of tomato sauce
1 yellow onion
1 can of canned tomatoes
1 cup flour
a mallet with poky things on one side
1 cup water or 2% milk
diced tomatoes

-slap the steak out on the counter and dump one half of the flour on it. spread it all around with the side of your hand.
-Take the mallet and, using the poky side, beat the living shit out of the steak, making sure that flour flies all over hells half acre and forms a weird pink doughy scabby thing in the neddles of the mallet. Pick this off and attempt to wham it into the surface of the steak, which should by now be thin enough to read a newspaper through. Fail to make scabby thing adhere. Pick off surface of mallet and eat. Wasting food is a sin.
-Slap steak into frying pan into which several scoops of vegetable shortening or used bacon fat are smoking. The steak should immediately being shrinking. When it has shrunk up until it fits into the pan, boil in the resulting cast water for 1 hour.
-place in a 9 inch baking pan tomato sauce, tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Do not combine. IN fact the more they resemble the container they left the better.
-slap boiled steak into pan.
-dump onion and diced tomatoes into hot frying pan, making sure that everything sticks uniformly. When smoke appears, chip off the bottom of the pan onto the top of the steak.
-Season with pepper and add water. Sprinkle remaining flour over top.
-Bake for three hours, or until substance in pan no longer resembles anything found in nature. Serve with....

2. Wooden beans
Once again the motto 'It's a sin to waste food' should be your watchword here.
-Three double handfuls of late beans. Beans so late they resemble the gnarled, swollen, knobby fingers of arthritic people. Beans so late they cannot be snapped-not even over the edge of a table. Beans so late that the strings really are made of string; a string so tough and durable that it is used by third world countries in making radial tires.
-The fat end off a slab of bacon, cut into giant greasy wads about the size of a shooter marble. At least one of these should have a black hair stuck to it.
-1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
-water to cover
methode: dump all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for three hours. Beans are done when they are khaki green.

3. Tuna Casserole with frozen peas
because tuna is cheap, mayonnaise makes it stick together, and peas make it pretty!
-1 can tuna, drained
-1 yellow boiler onion, chopped coarsely
-1 package macaroni noodles
-1 cup mayonnaise
-1 tube saltine crackers, broken
-1 stalk celery, chopped coarsely
-1 package frozen peas
-optional: barbecue potato chips, fried onions, Corn Chex cereal, corn flakes cereal, croutons (assume an 'or' in between each item in the preceding...or not. Its a free country. I'm not your boss.)
methode: thaw peas. Do NOT drain. Cook macaroni noodles until swollen three times their original size, drain. Combine all ingredients and pour into a 9 inch baking dish, top with optional ingredients. Bake in a 350 degree oven for three hours. Top should be blackened and sides should be at least one inch away from the wall of the pan. Saw into slices and serve.

4. Macaroni and cheese with hot dogs
Better living through chemistry! Mmmmm! Kids love hot dogs....and kids love macaroni and cheese! Please those picky eaters with this double whammy of deliciousness! Dont' forget the Benadryl chaser to treat those pesky allergic hives! We all know the little bastards just fake anaphylaxis for the attention anyway.
-1 package instant mac and cheese, preferably Kraft as you'll be using their 'cheese' in this also and we want things to stay matchy matchy.
-1 package Oscar Meier hot dogs. Because they have the cute ad with the kids singing about how they want to all grow up to be weiners. I just think thats the cutest thing...and they're all marching along having a little parade? It's so cute! I know the whole song too!
-1/2 cup Velveeta cheese, cut into small squares (at least one of these should have a black hair stuck to it)
-optional: 1 can of chopped pimientos. You can't taste them; its just to be fancy. They just make it look pretty. Seriously, they just taste like salt water or something.

-open package of hot dogs and put into boiling water. When burst, remove from water and cut into bite sized pieces. Let dry on counter until dark red and somewhat pliable.
-make the mac and cheese according to the directions on the box. When finished, pour into a 9 inch baking pan.
- stir in hot dog pieces and optional ingredients
-bake in a 350 degree oven for three hours.

Italian Spaghetti
a taste of the old country for todays busy modern cooks
ingredients: SAUCE
1/3 cup tomato catsup
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 yellow boiler onion, diced
celery salt
garlic salt
1 lb hamburger, boiled in its own juices until grey, drained

methode: combine all ingredients and boil for three hours. Serve over spaghetti noodles. Cooked, preferably.


...Ever wondered why everyone in our generation is diabetic? Wonder no more.


  1. I'll send you some KD (Kraft Dinner).

  2. And there was me thinking that us Brits had cornered the market in vile foodstuffs.

    We used to (some people still do) insist on roasting perfectly good joints of beef until they were a shrunken carbonised lump with the texture of cardboard. This would then be carved (hacked) and served with glutinous gravy made from tinned powder, and some soggy sprouts.


  3. HA! I remember Swiss Steak (sliced Dugong) it was weird...lots of Tuna Casserole with was OK and Mac&Weiners was one of my faves!
    You had to use could eat a frozen Warthog's butt if you pored enough Velveeta on it. I still love Plastic cheese more than any other kind...that's pathetic now that I think about it.

    "anything found in nature" gawd you're funny.

  4. Hahaha! *sighs* It's true.

    I've got a much better recipe for tuna casserole.

    2 eggs
    wide, flat, wobbly egg noodley pasta
    1 small can cream of soup (broccoli is good, so is celery or chicken. do NOT use cream of mushroom. it's traumatic)
    Glob Miracle Whip
    splash milk
    handful frozen peas

    Hardboil the eggs. Shell and slice them.
    Boil the egg noodles, drain.
    Mix soup, mayo, and milk to make smooth.
    Mix above with noodles, tuna, peas, and sliced eggs.
    Bake until just crispy on top.

  5. mj: its the cheesiest! (aside from your uns, your country and your...uns.)

    garfy: oh no, my darling. and the US is no stranger to the overdone roast either. heavens have to cook meat well done or else you get WORMS. at least you got gravy. we got CATSUP.

    coppens: i remember not being able to eat more than a couple of slices of the stuff because it was so salty it was bitter and you stopped being able to taste anything after that. unlike real cheese, though, Velveeta would grease a brick out of a gnats ass. slippery!

    cb: now that i might take a taste of, except for the peas. something about peas in casseroles just... is very...pealike. i dunno.

  6. Goblin meat puddings that you boiled in the can...


    Actually, I really liked them, Especially when served with marrowfat peas.

  7. ***jotting down menu ideas for Cafe C ***

  8. OMG i remember all of them! that horrid swiss steak though was the worst of them all! you did forget the white gravy with buddig meat (whatever the hell that was) over bread...once my mom forgot the meat and all that white gravy was made of was homemade paste...ffs what were they thinking!~
    i need therapy all over again!

  9. What up with CATSUP? Here in the Western UK we correctly identify the 'Mother of all Sauces' as Ketchup...hey that almost looks like in, don't complain about how crappy this casserole tastes, just shut the f*ck up and smear some of this Kvetchup on instead.

    I've already put a call into Heinz so don't bother.

  10. Swiss steak had holes in it like Swiss cheese, no? And if it didn't, your mission was to beat some holes in it with you mallet. I always figured that's how it got its name.

  11. One of the most unfavorite "meals" as a child was creamed chipped salted beef on toast. So salty it made your ears ring. Drank lots of water. It was a favorite of Dad's so Mom made it. Don't recall seeing her actually EAT it.

    I have had truly magnificanet Swiss Steak. The best was in The Dalles,Oregon at a Best Western. Our car suddenly needed a part that was not availalbe until Monday so we stayed there and ate Swiss Steak (breaded in Panko) delicious rich gravy, veggies and beer. Dang,it's too much to hope I'm sure that Best Western still serves the same dish...sigh... damn I will have to go make some now.

  12. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Dear Chaucer's B:

    Please clarify
    Glob of Miracle Whip
    Mayonnaise, huge difference.

    Thanks, Retro

  13. danger steak does not have holes in it and i don't remember beating the steak either...however remember banging my head against the wall when it was served...perhaps that is the holey part!

  14. Anonymous6:50 AM

    I cook shit like that as I have no money... not so awfuuly made of course but similat shit ingredients :-(

  15. I feel real left out of all this childhood trauma , Ma Beasty was actually a very good cook (Apart from the chickpea curry obviously) , her only crime was the over cooking of meat which was de rigour at the time.

  16. footman: the words 'meat' and 'pudding' should never appear together like that. and on top of that I have to google 'Meat Pudding Can' now and that whole prospect scares me.

    beast: don't forget 'can of canned tomatoes'. thats vitally necessary to the entire cuisine.

    daisy: we never did that one and I don't know why...we nailed down every other 'convenience food' atrocity of the 40s, 50s and 60's. I FEEL DEPRIVED NOW.

    coppens: the Heinz test kitchens were staffed by trainess who later went on to work in catholic school cafeterias all across this great nation of ours. as an american, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the Heinz company.

    Dangerpanda: or maybe it was originally made out of watchmakers and bankers...? I dunno.

    retro: i've actually heard a couple of people raving about how good this dish is, but my description and theirs never match up!

    anon: she means Miracle Whip. girl is serious about her bottled salad ingredients.

    mr. the dog: crap ingredients don't necessarily mean crap food, though. my former mil used to turn out some gourmet tasting stuff using aerosol cheese and canned tomato soup and things like that. seriously.

    beast: get down on your knees and thank whatever beast-god you own that this is the case, my darling!

  17. that is NOT how you make tuna casserole, dangit.
    also, I really love mac n cheese with hot dogs...or kielbasa. or chili mac. yes. I inherited Dad's white trash food lust.

  18. erm, odd duck out here... my parents (all of them due to my mother's propensity for marriage/divorce/marriage/separation ad infinitum) just so happened to be really great cooks. the only disgusting thing i was ever forced to eat was slightly overcooked zucchini, and that was just my feeble attempt at protesting.

    i feel so left out... why couldn't MY mom have made terribly unappetizing concoctions that were more appropriate for scientific experimentation than consumption????