Monday, May 09, 2005

Pray for Me; I'm Languishing in Pie Purgatory

Originally uploaded by Trilby.
Remember the Lemonade Pie I was whining about a while ago? The bastardized version of Lemon Meringue Pie? The one that Willie Nelson was going to start the Lemon-Aid fund-raising concert for?

Well, I just found another, even more bastardized pie recipe. Can you believe it? This is getting farther and farther from a whatchamacallit--you know, the familiar yellow citrus fruit. If this keeps up, pretty soon it will be Six Degrees of Separation from --wait a minute; it's on the tip of my tongue--oh yes. An actual lemon.

OK, back to this "pie." Surprise, surprise--the situation has deteriorated. At least the first bastard pie had a couple of fresh ingredients. I remember some sour cream--and even an egg or two.

But this latest concoction bears the Mark of the Beast.

I realize I'm going all Book of Revelations on you, but trust me. I read this recipe a while ago, and I'm still shuddering. Go ahead and think my Final Days/Fire and Brimstone/Day of Judgment imagery is over the top--then read this and weep:

Lemonade Pie

One tub Cool Whip
One small container lemonade mix
One small can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
One pie crust bottom

Mix first three ingredients. Place the mixture in the pie crust. Chill for about one hour, then serve.

See what I mean? This so-called "pie" doesn't contain a single fresh ingredient. This pie was invented because it can be mixed together in five minutes. Also, since none of the ingredients is fresh, students in dormitories, people who have been incarcerated, mountaineers on the slopes of Everest, and shipwrecked sailors on desert islands can whip together a tasty Lemonade Pie whenever they're in the mood for something sweet. Also, it is posivitely impossible for this "pie" to go bad. For one thing, it contains nothing that could support life. Have you ever seen mold grow in a bowl of sugar? Exactly. This concoction has got to have a longer half-life than a Twinky.

But I still think the name isn't sufficiently evocative. How about "Lemonade Mix Pie?" Or maybe "Emergency Pie?" Or--because it would apparently hang around for a very, very long time--how about "Purgatory Pie?"

I don't know, though. The idea of Purgatory is that eventually you get to leave and go to Heaven. And call me judgmental, but this is a fate that this pie simply doesn't deserve. In fact, I think this pie would be headed in the opposite direction. So I think the recipe should conclude: "Garnish with 666 colored sugar sprinkles."


Sunday, May 08, 2005

One picture--hold the thousand words.

Don't you think it's about time this blog got some illustrations? I do. I mean, if I don't get some visuals, how in the hell am I going to compete with the food bloggers who post fifty zillion pictures of the rare asparagus at their farmer's market, or the ginger-infused sun-dried tomato coulis they're currently pureeing to use as a sauce on their foie gras sushi?

Of course, I didn't plan to start my career as The Illustrated Blogger by requiring my readers to look at pictures of dog vomit. I really didn't. I mean, I realize anyone with any imagination has to have a pretty strong stomach just to deal with the recipes I'm posting--let alone the proof that someone actually cooks this crap. And takes pictures of it. And posts them to the web.

People. Have you no shame?

But far be it from me to ignore opportunity when it's knocking on my door. After all, we're all grown-ups, right? We realize that people don't publish recipes with the idea that no one will actually use them, right? (I mean, people except me.) So we're just going to have to forge ahead bravely. However, with an illustration like this, I feel my usual commentary is unnecessary. Nothing I can say can possibly elaborate upon that picture of dog chunk. At any rate, here is an example of one of the foul concoctions being foisted on an unsuspecting public by the pork and canned soup industries:

Tater Tot Casserole

8 to 10 slices of bacon
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 lb crumbled blue cheese
1 bag (32 oz) frozen Tater Tots

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain. Chop.

Brown the ground beef. Add thyme. Drain the beef in a colander. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is soft.

Mix the bacon, beef, onion mixture, and the cans of soup. Spread in a layer in the prepared baking dish. Crumble blue cheese over the mixture. Cover with a single layer of tater tots. Bake for one hour.

Sprinkle saw dust. Sweep up. Put in trash.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Lost Cole Slaw

You know how you read some random bit of information somewhere, and even though you know it's random, it still seems to be aimed right at you?

Well, that's what happened to me recently. I was flipping through the coupon supplements of the Sunday paper the paperboy had mistakenly delivered to my house, and a recipe simply leaped off the page at me. It seemed to say "Poppy--read me; become revolted by me; blog me!"

It was one of those recipes apparently devised by a home economist employed by a major food manufacturer. You know, the kind of recipe that just happens to call for six or seven ingredients produced by the company. Well, this particular recipe was for coleslaw, except it had a ton of fruit in it. About half a dozen varieties. If I remember correctly, canned mandarin oranges sections were involved. But before I had a chance to blog and thus immortalize this so-called "coleslaw" recipe, the recipe had gone the way of all recycling.

When I realized that my Canned Fruit Cole Slaw recipe had disappeared, I was distraught. Where would I find a recipe like that again? How could I ever find its like? I felt like the speaker in A Lost Chord. Where could I find a recipe that would lie "on my fevered spirit / With a touch of infinite calm," or, for that matter, could flood "the crimson twilight / Like the close of an Angel's Psalm?" I ask you.

Then it occurred to me. If I did a web search, I might find the website for whichever company was behind this so-called "coleslaw." They might have posted the recipe of which they were--justifiably--so proud.

And lo and behold--a quick web search for "cole slaw fruit" immediately revealed this beauty. I realize it's not the actual recipe. For example, there is a relative dearth of canned fruit. When I read it, alas, I hear no "sound of a great amen." But this concoction has a sheen and a perfection of its own:

Fruit Coleslaw

1 C. Miracle Whip
2 T. cream
2 T. sugar
4 Cs. shredded cabbage
1 1/2 Cs. crushed pineapple, drained
1 c. miniature marshmallows
2 sliced bananas

Mix Miracle Whip, cream & sugar.
Add to cabbage, pineapple & marshmallows.
Lastly fold in bananas. (Put bananas in when about ready to eat salad as they will turn dark if left in awhile.)

Isn't it wonderful? With the exception of The Lost Coleslaw, this is the weirdest excuse for "coleslaw" I've ever encountered. To begin with, there is all that fruit. My mother's coleslaw contained about five ingredients: shredded cabbage, mayo, a bit of grated onion, and Durkee's. It's possible that celery seeds were involved, but that's about it for rococo embellishments. She even eschewed such fripperies as the now-ubiquitous grated carrot.

Well, compare that with the above. It's either an embarrassment or an embarrassment of riches--I can't decide. I mean, first of all, it includes that key ingredient, Miracle Whip. I don't believe I've included a recipe containing Miracle Whip, and it was definitely about time that this member of the Blessed Whip Trinity (the other two members of course being Cool and Dream) appeared in this blog. For that reason alone, I am grateful to the person who posted the recipe.

Second, this recipe is so unashamedly bastardized. I mean, sure, it has four cups of shredded cabbage. But is anyone else here reminded of those so-called "Ambrosia" "salads" you sometimes see for sale in a supermarket deli case? Miniature marshmallows, Miracle Whip, sugar, banana, and canned pineapple? Are they out of their minds? They have the nerve to call this Cole Slaw? If there were any justice in this world, the recipe would call for it to be garnished with an elaborately embroidered "C," a la Hester Prynne's scarlet "A."

So while this recipe isn't the one I saw in the newspaper, it was so uniquely repulsive that it deserves inclusion in the Horrifying Foodstuffs canon.