Revisiting The Culinary Canon
Yesterday, I made the kind of hamburgers that, upon tasting them, made a happy wet spot in the front of my trousers. It was as if I had shaved flesh from the thigh of a chubby angel and gently seared it on my Weber grill. That told me, “Okay. Nailed it. You have your hamburger recipe. It’s time to move on.”
Couple weeks back, I said to you crazy kids, “food me.” (That is not meant to sound salacious, in a R-rated movie on FX or AMC where they replaced all instances of the word ‘fuck’ with ‘food,’ as in, ‘Yippie-Kay-Ay, Motherfooder way.) I said, with my family growing by one here in the next few months, it’s going to be important to have a bunch of recipes nailed down to my preferences rather than be some kind of home cook gourmet dilettante prancing around the kitchen with a bottle of liquid nitrogen and a mortician’s rubber apron. Though, to be clear, I look fucking hot in a rubber apron.
I said, “Hey, I need to figure out this family’s culinary canon.” Just as everyone has family recipes — “This is Grammaw’s Barbecue Tree Grub Salsa! With picante horse scrotum!” — I too want to start getting down the so-called ultimate versions of certain recipes for here in Der Wendighaus before the heir to Der Wendighaus shows up and pitches a spanner into the gears.
You folks leapt to the fore.
You threw a major mega-awesome heapful of recipes into the pot.
But no, I’m not done.
I still need more. More. MOAR.
(Hey, sorry. I’m needy. Deal with it.)
Here’s the deal, then. I’ve nailed down a bunch of recipes now that I’m pretty comfortable with. I’ve got burgers down. I’m good with mac and cheese, papaya salad, prime rib, chili, sloppy Joes. I can make eggs that’ll jump up off the plate and kick your teeth in. I’ve got a canon forming.
But, as noted, I need more.
I’m looking to nail down recipes for the following (in no particular order):
- Fried chicken.
- Beef stew.
- Mashed potatoes.
- Potato salad.
- Spaghetti sauce.
- Chicken and dumplings.
- Chocolate chip cookies.
- Chicken noodle soup.
- Korma (chicken, lamb, whatever).
- Thai curry (red, yellow, green, whatever).
I’m not necessarily asking for recipes. Should you have a recipe for one or several of these that you care to share, suh-weet. Feel free to drop into comments, point me to a link, or even write it to me via email. But what I’m also looking for is just… any little tidbits of information you have about these dishes that you feel is critical. An ingredient, maybe — “I thicken my mashed potatoes with an eyedropper full of milk from a witch’s nipple.” A technique, perhaps. “I bake my brownies in a used jockstrap to give them that humid, swampy stink of a football player’s salty nether-quarters. Can you say Umami?”
See, you gotta understand, I’m not trying to make my mother’s recipes. I’m not trying to make your recipes. I’m trying to make my recipes. I grab from here, I steal from there, and I experiment until I get the recipe I want. Then, I laser-engrave it into my brain. With an actual laser. It hurts a lot. I think I damaged my cerebral cortex. Whenever the dishwasher kicks on, I pee myself and do a little dance. Damn lasers.
Oh! If you want that burger recipe, it’s taken mostly from the Weber grill app. It’s pretty easy:
Pound and a half of 80/20 ground beef. Mix in a li’l dollop of ketchup, mustard, Worchestershire sauce, Frank’s hot sauce. Mix in a dash of salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, thyme. Form into patties. Divot with a spoon. Cook on the grill for four minutes per side, toward the very end, pile on top a little cairn of grated Gouda cheese, let melt with the grill closed. Made the juiciest, most flavorful burger I’ve ever made.
It is the bee’s tits, that burger.
If you add anything into the culinary canon of the Wendighaus cookbook, whether it’s a recipe, an ingredient, a tip, a trick, a marriage proposal, a hate-filled rant, or a doodle of a pair of boobies, I’ll take it and offer a quivering Jell-O mold of gratitude.