I was recently at my parent’s house and we were deciding on dinner. We settled on a Cabezas Family favorite of sauerkraut, kielbasa and white rice, comfort food that is indicative of my mixed heritage. It sounds ridiculous but thinking of it makes me think of home. It made me think that other families probably have meals like this that. The kind of meal where items are all edible but do they actually go together?
I asked around to see what might have been traditional easy meals for other families. I got all sorts of answers from Taco Bell to “Shit on a Shingle”. At every point in my life, I’ve usually had some simple meal that I can whip up quickly or sometimes it was “pick up” quickly. When I was a kid, we had several quick meals such as the sauerkraut, kielbasa and white rice…and on Fridays we sometimes went to McDonald’s. Apparently I couldn’t say McDonald’s though and referred to it as BDonald’s (which my brother likes to remind me of so that I don’t forget this mispronunciation).
In college, Del Taco had Tuesday Taco nights. The roommates and friends and I would pick up tons of these crispy tacos because they were also budget friendly at something like $.25 each. Luckily my Dr. has confirmed that I have not hardened my arteries from such earlier abuse.
In my research, I found some odd family favorites out there. My mom’s family had a recipe for Hungarian Goulash. We weren’t Hungarian and this particular dish didn’t seem like goulash but rather just a meat casserole. It was the base for spaghetti sauce, meat noodley casserole…and a few others. Very 1950’s American and not Hungarian in any way.
I spent some time with friends in Tennesee. To this California kid, these items were kind of interesting, so brace yourself. Killed Lettuce – pronounced “Kilt”. This was lettuce, bacon, bacon grease or fatback grease and green onions. (Fatback is the layer of fat under the skin of a pig…it’s denser than the fat found on the stomach and is usually used for flavoring) Some versions added radishes or chopped boiled eggs. Maybe this was the inspiration the traditional spinach salad with a warm bacon dressing?
At the Spence’s house, Kilt Lettuce was popular but they had something called Rough Grub which would be pinto beans, fried potatoes, Sliced “maters” or tomatoes and cornbread (a savory version, See Cornbread Comfort)
The Wood Family would have 1. pinto beans with spaghetti, 2. ketchup on French toast or 3. chili, cornbread and cole slaw. I think I understand the chili, cornbread and cole slaw but I’m not sure about ketchup on French toast, but maybe that is an acquired taste? I make no judgement, I’m just not quite sure which of those meals would be handled by stomach?
My coworker, Sue, told me all about her family favorite of “Shit on a Shingle”. This was a quick recipe that she would pull together for the family quickly and for some reason it got coined this descriptive and delightful name.
Shit on a Shingle Recipe (courtesy of Sue Wells)
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
4 – 5 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups of frozen peas and carrots
1 chicken bouillon
Cook all of the ingredients in a crockpot for 6 – 8 hours on low
season with salt and pepper to taste
add bay leaf, spices as desired
Make Pillsbury Grand biscuits per the container’s directions.
Pour the chicken mixture over the cooked biscuits (hence the Shit on a Shingle name)
Recipe feeds approximately 6 people.
“Shit on a Shingle” was also a family fave of the Giese Family but their version was a hash on toast, reach really does seem to illustrate the name well.
All of these families, including my own, have some pretty amazing meals outside of these featured items but it was certainly interesting gathering the information. There’s not a bad cook in the bunch, but I think the quick ideas and recipes show a slice of family life in America.
I’d truly love to know what other interesting food combinations and recipes that YOU have. Share yours in the comments!