Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Family Food

I doubt that my family is the only one with it's own cuisine, so to speak. The dishes that make the family come alive. The ones that well-meaning family members work tirelessly to prepare for their captive audience. What I wonder, though, is if there are any other families out there whose cuisine perhaps leaves a bit to be desired. You know, the British Food of the family circuit.

Don't get me wrong. There was plenty of good food growing up. My parents grilled a mean tri-tip. My grandma put on a Christmas-eve crab feast that left you drooling. But there were some meals...

some "cuisine"...

that left you a little ill.

Let me detail some of those for you now:
1) Joe Special.
If there was ever a terrible idea for a meal, it was Joe Special. So why, oh why, do the Kieffers not allow it to die? Here's the gist: you brown ground beef in a skillet. Then you take two perfectly innocent eggs and scramble them into the beef. Then (my gag reflex is starting...) you take a box of frozen spinach and mix it all around with the beef and the eggs. And, as if this weren't bad enough, you serve it in a bowl with...

wait for it...


You read right. Ketchup.

My parents think this is the best meal since Beef Wellington. Listen here folks: Joe Special tastes like death.

2) Mimi's Fire-Hell Cake.
Nobody could ever do a description of this culinary disaster like my dear brother. I will let his description do the talking. (I will post the full text of the email for your enjoyment because to date - this is the funniest email I have ever received. I have made one small edit - Mom you are the only one who may catch it.)

Heres your gift,
It was pretty good. Yeah there were some weird moments like Taylor reading off of a Wal*Mart receipt and acting like someone bought "large black dildos and heated lube" when they purchased her present. Then we all joined in and Dad yelled out "Junk in tha Trunk Volume 4!" Every time it got awkward we would just start laughing. Mom said she wouldn't have made it without Amber. Well I wouldn't of made it without that bottle of E&J's Brandy. Of which was supposed to be for Mimi's Carrot/Rum cake that I happened to pretty much polish off by the time desert hit, hahaha. It was so funny! They were like, "Oh my God who did this?!" My only justification was that they conveniently placed it next to a 2 liter bottle of Coke. Now who would sit alcohol next to the other beverages if it was going to be used for cooking? Yeah I know. Also, it was the only time in the history of my life that Mimi's cake was in fact enjoyably edible. I did everyone a favor. Every other year in the past it has been coated with burnt liquor. "Mmmm, heres an idea for a desert. Lets blend up some carrots and raisins, put them into a cake, then dump brandy all over the top and light it on fire. Yeah, then we'll take a half of a teaspoon of this really delicious frosting, but not too much, because we don't want people to enjoy this flavor so much that they can't taste the blended carrots, raisins and ignited brandy."
Overall the day went really well and I am showing a six pack from all of the laughing I did.
So what did you guys all do? Play Monopoly at the Steele's and listen to the Josh Grobin Christmas album, Kidding...sort of

Ah, it feels good to reprint that every so often. Carrots, raisins, and brandy... oh my. Mimi's hell cake. #2 on my list of Kieffer culinary disasters.

3) Poppy's Bean Tacos
There is nothing bad that anyone could ever say about my dear grandfather. It feels somehow disrespectful to even mention how bad his bean tacos were. I mean, when the nicest person in the world hands you a meal that tastes terrible - you eat it. And you tell him "Thank You" and smile and swoon over every bite. It is the least you can do. But 5 years after his death, I think it is ok to say that in addition to all of his wonderful qualities - Poppy's bean tacos were terrible. Really. Bad.

The ingredients were such:
Can of Refried Beans
Thick Slice of Cheddar Cheese
Corn Tortilla
Vegetable Oil

Cooking Instructions:
Spread 1/4 cup Refried beans in the middle of the corn tortilla.
Place thick sliced cheese in the middle of the beans.
Fold and fry, baby, fry!

Then, he would take out the oil saturated taco out and wrap it in a clean, white paper towel and hand it to you with love. The cheese would be unfazed, still greasy and solid in the middle of those damn beans.

But here's the deal - Poppy's tacos gave me inspiration the other night. I made my own tacos for the kids, and after about the third time that the filling fell out, I remembered the genius of Poppy's tacos. No, it wasn't the canned beans - it was the paper towel. It held all the contents in! So I wrapped the taco (grilled chicken, mango relish, shredded cabbage, avocado, and pico de gallo - take THAT Joe Special!) and the kids gobbled it down, with no spillage.

Thanks Poppy!


Betty Duffy said...

We're developing our own special menu of unsavory foods--mostly at my hand. Joe gets mad because I put bran and whole wheat flour in everything. I get mad because he cooks everything in a stick of butter (not a pat--A STICK). What I'm noticing more than anything is that our dinners tend to lack side dishes.

S to the K said...

#4 Sharon's Mango Relish and Shredded Cabbage Tacos, mmmm..
Ill give you Joe's Special any day, but Poppy's Tacos hell never. They were so good one time I had one for dessert, true story!
P.S. Amber and I were wondering if Mom made the name Joe's Special up to sound tasty. Its Sloppy Joe's evil, forgotten cousin who rolls into town every once in a while just to cause trouble.

Sharon Kieffer Steele said...

Dear StotheK,
Oh Hellllll NO! Do you dare to suggest that my latin-inspired delicacy is anything but fabulous? Because I dare you, I daaaaare you to combine perfectly grilled chicken, mango, and avocado and not feel as though your tastebuds are giving you a little hug.

Seriously, those tacos were so bad. I feel like this is one of those times - like when mom swears that limburger cheese and raw onion slices taste delicious between two slices of rye bread. Like that time that dad decided to take two pieces of white bread, smear mayonnaise on them, then open a can of sardines - snuggled them into the mayo and chowed down. I just feel like it is ok to admit when a dish is sub-par. No matter how fantastic the chef some meals are better left uncooked.

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