Monday, May 19, 2008
I can't believe I'm writing this down. Unfortunately, this is not the first time. Many people have asked me for this. Under duress and usually under the influence, I give it to them.
"Mom's WT Tuna Noodle Casserole"
1 block Velveeta cheese
1 can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
1/2 stick butter
1 carton white mushrooms
1/2 package frozen peas
2 cans of tuna in water
1 Bag Egg Noodles
This is a two-burner dish.
boil water for the noodles
As soon as is ready, cook the egg noodles
On the other,
Saute the mushrooms in butter 3 min on low to medium heat
Cut the Velveeta into chunks and add to skillet.Add can of cream of mushroom soup, frozen peas and tuna and mix well
You're not really cooking anything here, rather just heating and mixing the (gourmet) ingredients
As soon as this mixture is softened and mixed to a saucy concoction add the cooked noodles and toss
Finish with fresh cracked pepper and serve.
This is the easiest, most retard proof recipe one can put into words. I know, it sounds like a drunken 3 in the morning concoction, but I promise, if you don't tell anyone the ingredients, and you are not too heavy on the sauce to noodle ratio, people will remember this casserole and ask you for this recipe. I promise guilty compliments, praise and a full stomago.
When I was young my mom made tuna noodle casserole. I had no idea of the ingredients, all I knew was I loved it. One day ten years later I asked her how to make it. I was appalled! But that could not override the wonderful memories of the dish. So I decided to make it by her recipe at camp.
Tuna noodle casserole on two lopsided backpacker stoves propped in the sand is not easy. Cooks are use to the hunch over a counter to prepare and plate. Its another thing over backpacker stoves and a cutting board in the sand. Your "mise en place" is not what i'd consider professional.
We are not talking the camp cook that has a fire pit, a full set of cast iron, spit roasting a pig along the Colorado cause he's got 24 to feed and 4 rafts with him to lug it all. That's practically military. For a small group with limited space the concerns are different.
First off, flame temperature is a bitch on modern ultralite stoves. They are meant to rapidly boil the water that will hydrate your crushed Ramen Noodles. Mmm, yumm. Simmering capabilities without hotspots now a days seems to be the bragging rites of stove makers. (which means it's a problem with all stoves)
They are meant to rapidly boil the water that will hydrate your crushed Ramen Noodles. Mmm, yumm. Simmering capabilities without hotspots now a days seems to be the bragging rites of stove makers. (which means it's a problem with all stoves)
Also, prep area. You have to practically build a kitchen every night with less than desireable furniture in less than cleanly accommodations. The canoe itself, when turned upside down provides the almost perfect work surface. Don't melt the Kevlar! Sand? Forget it. It's everywhere. As long as its not in the food. It might look like pepper........
with less than desireable furniture in less than cleanly accommodations. The canoe itself, when turned upside down provides the almost perfect work surface. Don't melt the Kevlar! Sand? Forget it. It's everywhere. As long as its not in the food. It might look like pepper........
Now I've played up the idea that canoeing can be a culinary adventure. But, just because Cheetos and cold cuts make their way onto the menu, by no means, has food not been a central feature of the trip. Who didn't love Cheetos at one point in their childhood? To refuse the foods that gave us pleasure, is denying our past, denying our culture. Taking those items from the past and reinventing them is natural for cooks. We are all guilty of this. It is a necessary practice. Thank god though, for this desire in chefs. We would still think the International House of Pancakes is a fine dining establishment, were it not for the dudes in the back getting stoned and getting creative. Nothing is better than a chef with the munchies, or the food scientists in their stainless steel dungeons creating concoctions like foi gras cappuccino.
Please do not compare this desire with the value of the traditional. "Oral tradition is not manifest only in words." Recreating a dish, no matter how novice it might be, that had been cooked for you as a child or has some significant memory, is revealing of your past. Your young self might not have enjoyed as sophisticated a palate as you might now have, but those memories are no less valuable than your most expensive dinner to date.