Tuesday, January 29

Super Macaroni Salad

I went to the Hy-Vee today to get some groceries before SnowIcepocalypse 2013 hits, and one of the items on my list was pasta. As I stood in the aisle, contemplatin the many kinds of pastas displayed before me, I happened to notice that my neighborhood Hy-Vee carries about 30 different kinds of macaroni, despite often lackin the specific type of pasta called for in a recipe that I'm makin. I thought for awhile about why this might be, and then it dawned on me: macaroni is a staple of Midwest Cookin!

What would Hamburger Helper be without macaroni? Or goulash? Or (duh) macaroni n' cheese? I didn't know pasta salads could be made with any variety besides macaroni until I went to college.

And now, with that in mind, and in honor of what, last week, would have been the 60th birthday of my Dad (who would only eat two kinds of pasta: macaroni and spaghetti), I present to you what can surely be called the quintessential Midwest pehstuh sayahled (say that out loud, won't you?): Super Macaroni Salad!

1 lb. uncooked macaroni (elbow style, cooked, drained, & cooled) (I dare you to use another pasta variety!)
1 large onion (diced) (woah - a whole raw LARGE diced onion? ugh, blecch, I can feel my breath gettin bad already)
1 large green pepper (diced) (the amount of raw vegetables in this is surprisin for a Midwest pasta salad - check it out:)
1 c. celery (diced)
5-6 carrots (grated)
1 c. vinegar (but what kind, Gladys?!?)
1/3 c. sugar
2 c. Miracle Whip (yay! it's been so long since I've posted a Miracle Whip recipe!)
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (very specific on the brand there - use Borden at your own peril)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

How to:
Mix well together (in a big-ass bowl, I'm guessin) addin macaroni last. Makes A hugh salad (uh...not sure what a hugh salad is there...sounds dirty and/or sadly reclusive; if the word HUGE was intended, then I'm callin this a straight-up Lutheran Potluck classic). It will keep for at least 10 days in the refrigerator. (mmm...week-and-a-half old pasta salad...)

Tuesday, January 15


This recipe is by far one of the strangest I've unearthed in my time studyin mid-century Midwestern cookbooks. The ingredients are sad, the final product sounds disgustin, but that's standard for Midwest Cookin-worthy fare. However, there are two things about this that really make it stand out: the title, and the name of the person who submitted the recipe to the cookbook where I found it:

1) The recipe is actually titled Cedric. Nothin else, just Cedric. Why? Who is this Cedric? It can't possibly be referrin to The Entertainer because this is a 1973 Lutheran Church cookbook from Waterloo, Iowa, and while Waterlooeans (is that a word?) can lay claim to such famous former residents as John Wayne Gacy, Dan Gable, and Tracie Spencer, I am unaware of any time that Cedric the Entertainer spent in the 'Loo.

2) The original submission to the cookbook was not authored by Mrs. Joe Schmoe or Reverend J.C. Onthacross, as so many, many other Midwest cookbook recipes are. No, the author of this recipe is simply known as "Wally". Quotation marks and all. After readin the ingredients list, I have concluded that this is no one-word vanity name like "Cher" or "Prince" - this guy is in disguise. Obviously, a recipe so bad that the author doesn't even want to use his real name is a recipe that must be examined here on Midwest Cookin!

Ground beef, lean (oh, good, keep it healthy)
Onions (how many? two? a dozen? - yeah, better make it a dozen)
Cabbage, shredded
Tomato Soup

Oven temp: 350 degrees

How to:
Brown meat and chop so that it is fine. (There's nothin fine about this, not to me at least.) Add onions, salt and pepper. Layer into buttered casserole (grrrrrr...vague dish size and exclusion of butter from the ingredients list...), cabbage, meat, cabbage, meat, etc. till all is used. Cover with soup and bake 1 hour. (Oh my god, this is hobo lasagna! That would be a far better name for this shit...er...dish. Maybe that's where the Cedric in the title comes from - named in honor of "Wally"'s dear train-hoppin hobo friend Cedric, who used to hang out near the kiddie carousel in front of the old Kmart on University Ave. Why is "Jimmy Crack Corn" playin nonstop in my head now?! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!)

Thursday, January 10

Avocada Paste

No, that's not a misspellin. The recipe is for "Avocada Paste". Where on God's Green Earth, I ask, does one get an Avocada? (Maybe it's just a female Avocado? It sounds a little like a revolutionary movement too. ¡Viva las Avocadas!)

"Okay, okay, enough with the jokes", you're sayin. "This is just guacamole with a funny name, and the most un-Midwest Cookin recipe you've ever posted. You're slippin."

To that, I reply "GRRRRRRRRRRL PLEASE." Read on.

(Well, what do you know? There is no separate ingredients list. There's your first indication that this is a recipe worthy of Midwest Cookin. You have to actually read the block of tiny text to know what goes in the paste besides Avocadas.)

How To:
This is a wonderful hors d'oeuvre and so easy to prepare. (Okay, so we've got assurances of both deliciousness and ease before we've even gotten to the instructions...)

Mash 1 RIPE AVOCADA (oh, I see - the ingredients are screamed at you to make them easier to discern) thru (sic) strainer into bowl which has been rubbed with garlic, add enough MAYONAISE (1, that's gross and 2, spellin error) so that resultin mixture will be of spreadin consistency. Add LIME or LEMON JUICE and SALT to taste. Arrange POTATO CHIPS (another clue to the Midwesternness - don't use tortilla chips for cryin out loud, that would make it <whispers> 'ethnic') on a large plate around small bowl (what if I want to use a large bowl and a small plate? I'll decide my own presentation and platin, thanks) of the paste you have just made (no, use the paste you made 3 weeks ago. DUH). Use as a dip for potato chips. (yeah, you already said that.)

(...and here's where things get truly, disgustinly, Midwest Cookin...) Canned minced clams may be finely chopped and added to the mixture for added delicacy. (Ugh. Blecch. Seriously though, if you are apt to make guacamole to take to potlucks and parties, what more hilarious surprise could be added to the usual mix than chopped clams? {Other than SPAM, of course.})

The Verdict:
I'll let you know once I've convinced Mr. McQuack to take this to his next work potluck.

Tuesday, January 8

Canned Fish / Tastes Like Salmon

Happy New Year! Since we're in the doldrums of winter, I started thinkin about all the folks who canned their garden produce last Fall, and feelin a little jealous because mine's all gone. (Well, relatively gone - I still have an enormous bag of zucchini stowed in the freezer. <SIGH>) Anyway, this got me thinkin about cannin, and I thought, well, maybe if I could find some good classic cannin recipes in the Midwest Cookin compendiums, maybe next Fall I'd try cannin again.

Then I came across this recipe.

I don't have a very strong stomach in the mornin, so I'm tryin not to imagine in too great of detail just what this would taste like (I'm not buyin the "Tastes Like Salmon" assurance in the recipe's title). Warnin to my readers with weak mornin tummies like me: save this one for after lunch, or if you need an excuse to get out of work/school.

I'm gonna try and write this now without pukin.

1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. butter (I wish it was oleo. :_()
1 Tbsp. catsup (Mmmm...butter and catsup. Honey Boo Boo would like this.)
Bullheads, or other fish, cut in pieces (The church cookbook where I found this recipe is pretty old, and at first glance I read it as "Buttheads". Now that would be a cool fish.)

How to:
Put in pint jars. (Okay, but do I have to do somethin with the ingredients first? Like, oh I dunno, mix them together or cook them?) Process 90 minutes at 15 pound pressure. (That's it?!? No further instructions? Ugh...I keep picturin the pinkish mess of this, jarred and sittin on a shelf. I bet it looks like somethin you'd find in a Biology classroom, like a fetal pig. Oh god I am about to hurl...) Serve with vinegar like salmon. (I don't know about you, but I haven't come across a whole lot of salmon served "with vinegar". Sure, I've had Japanese-style salmon served with a sake-rice vinegar mix, but this is Midwest Cookin, so I will assume, based on my studies, that the intended vinegar is one of the two kinds that grace the pantries and recipe cards of Midwest cooks: cider vinegar and white vinegar. Maybe the recipe means malt vinegar, like with fish n' chips? Regardless, yuck.)

The verdict:
No way am I makin this. You do it (and don't forget to send pics and taste test results to hamtasia(at)gmail(dot)com).