Friday, August 19, 2011

What's for dinner?

What has happened to family dinner time?

I mean seriously, what really happened? In the 70’s, we ate like crazy people. We were not looking at labels or thinking about trans-fat and partially hydrogenated oils. Nope, we were thinking about beef, beef, and more beef. And cream sauce. Oh, and beef.

Below are three family dinners that I vividly remember from childhood:

Beef Stroganoff
The thing I remember most about beef stroganoff is the way mom prepared it. She didn’t make it on the stove top, instead she would lug a giant, heavy, counter-top electric frying pan out from the cupboard and plug it in. Why? I have no idea. This fry pan was synonymous with the meal. When we saw that ninety pound pan set up on the counter we knew it was stroganoff night. Tender strips of beef, mushrooms (canned, naturally), and globs and globs of fatty sour cream served over big wide egg noodles. Who could ask for anything more? Why would you want a vegetable served with this dish? Like I said, there was a four ounce can of sliced mushrooms in there. Plenty of vegetables to go around for the whole family - done.


When other kids complained about meatloaf, I played along to be cool but honestly, I have always loved my meatloaf. Mom made it with a ketchup glaze that you shouldn’t look directly at unless you were wearing sunglasses. Her meatloaf was kind of a meat/candy combo. And what was better than a cold meatloaf sandwich for lunch the next day? On Wonder Bread with lots of mayonnaise and ketchup? If we were really lucky, Mom would bust out her hamloaf recipe. Yes, I said hamloaf. Hamloaf was meatloaf, but with, um, ham? I don’t really know what was involved with the hamloaf but it also had that shiny candy glaze that I liked. I was never a big ham fan, but I have to admit in loaf form, it was pretty awesome.

Tomato Noodle Dandy
The beefiest, cheesiest, most delicious casserole dish EVER. And if you are a Velveeta hater, I don’t want to even know about it. This dish consisted of ground hamburger (or “chuck” as my mom called it, “ground chuck” – what the hell is that about?) green bell pepper, onion, tomato soup, brown sugar, a plop of mustard, and a shitload of melted Velveeta. Mom didn’t need any help from Hamburger Helper, this was the real deal. You would do that all up on the stove top and then transfer it to a casserole dish and bake it and serve it (just like the stroganoff) over those 70’s egg noodles. This dish was hamburger-cheesey-goodness. And it was patriotic - with the name and all.

Screw bringing sexy back - I’m bringing the family dinner back.

Time to lug out the counter top fry pan and get cooking. What could be sexier than a woman slaving in front of a counter-top fry pan with ground chuck and Velveeta?

Nothing comes to mind.

I also enjoy this Meat Loaf. But we'll save that for another day.

Screw you cheddar, Velveeta melts better!


  1. Tuna noodle cassarole with peas (again canned, whoever heard of frozen in the 70s). My friends moms used potato chips as the topping, but we were 'fancy' and used the French's friend onions.

  2. mmmm. And what about that ham loaf??!! I LOVED it. My Mom didn't make it or I would know how. She made a killer stroganoff though (canned mushrooms and all). If the Priest was coming she would get "gourmet" and garnish it with thinly sliced "real" mushrooms and parsley flakes (from the jar).
    That's right - we ate everything and never worried about it!We were the children of Hamburger Helper, Shake and Bake, Swanson's TV dinners with Campbell's Soup!!!

  3. And what about the great Miracle Whip vs Mayo debate. My mom still apologizes when she doesn't have Miracle Whip in the house, she'll say, I'm sorry we don't mayo... only Mayonnaise. LOL

  4. Oh my god, that stuff looks so good.