White Trash Food: The MotherLode!

July 25, 2009

I spent the weekend at my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago, and it was great to relax and talk without the constant din of small children. After a while, though, I started to get restless because it was so quiet inside the house. My house hasn’t seen quiet in 7 1/2 years.

So I decided to amuse myself by doing what any sane, normal adult would do: I snooped through my parents’ shit.

Now before you get all schoolteacher on me, I will clarify that I didn’t open Mom’s brassiere drawer or riffle through the jewelry box. I am a snooper with principles. I only snoop through stuff that’s in plain sight, like bookshelves, photo albums, magazine racks. In my mind, that’s “open snooping,” which I will only be going to maybe the 2nd ring of hell for. Totally worth it.

I got to snooping through the kitchen, and I spied something that almost made me do that Tom Cruise thing on Oprah’s couch. It’s that good.

I spied, with my little eyes, a cookbook. An extensive collection of recipes. From a North Dakota church/ladies club. Circa 1967 (first printing:1963). I grabbed it, flipped through it, and then flipped out. White Trash Food Nirvana, friends and neighbors!

I got home, burst into hubby’s study, waved the book around wildly, and let out a whoop. “Look! Look what mom let me borrow! Dude! It’s the White Trash Motherlode! This shit is so good, you couldn’t make it up. Listen: Hot Deviled Weiner Sandwich, Toasted Tuna Loaf, Peas Royale, Avocado Jello Mold! This is AWESOME!”

He turned around from the computer to face me and raised an eyebrow. “Only you would be that excited about this.”

“Yeah, I know, but still! Listen to this! They even have a recipe for Homemade Head Cheese!”

“Are you trying to make me vomit so hard that my coffee comes through my nose?”

Hmmph. Killjoy. In my opinion this is a great historical relic! Casseroles-R-Us, if you will.

I giggled and snorted through the book and have decided that I am going to do a White Trash MotherLode recipe fortnightly.

We will start with an oddity that appears not once but twice in the book, submitted by different churchgoers. The recipe is for: African Chop Suey.

Okay, oddity #1: Chop Suey is not from Africa. It’s probably not even from China, either, but Africa? Oddity #2: There’s no ingredient that’s remotely African in the recipe. Oddity #3: In Grand Forks North Dakota in the 60’s, you couldn’t throw a hunk of Krumkake in the street without hitting a Scandinavian. Never did see an African. Or a Chinese person, for that matter.

Still, that’s what makes this so interesting to me. So without further ado, I give you:

African Chop Suey
serves about 8

1 1/2 lbs pork, cubed
1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 white rice
3 cups celery
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons soy sauce
5 cups boiling water

Brown pork in some butter very well. Remove from pan and add water, celery, onions, rice and soy sauce. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Add meat and put in a casserole dish in a 350 degree oven. Bake 1 hour covered and 45 minutes uncovered.

Note: I am assuming that you know that you try this at your own peril.

Look in 2 weeks for the next episode of White Trash Motherlode…

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