In college I moved into a house with three veterinary students who couldn't cook. I mean, REALLY couldn't cook, instant coffee confounded them.
Fortunately, I could cook, I evenenjoy cooking, so a deal was struck that relieved me of almost all other chores, particularly cleaning up after meals.
One night one of them offered to cook, it struck terror in my heart.
He claimed he knew ONE recipe, and it was quite good, so he's cooking. He's even brought home all the ingredients. Ok, fine, his rebellious act of cooking something doesn't compel me to eat it.
He boiled a pound box of elbows, with just a little help on my part (umm...why don't you wait until the water boils before dumping those in? Turn the gas on, it will go faster, trust me.) He drained them and put them back in the pot and put the pot back on the flame (I raised an eyebrow.)
He poured in a pint container of light cream. He dumped in a stick (1/4lb) of butter.
As that warmed (now turn the gas *down*, trust me again, water is different than cream...) he cut up a pound box of Velveeta cheese and dumped it into the mixture.
Then, he scandalized me. He opened a large can of tomatoes, the kind you might use in a spaghetti sauce (although I doubt he knew there were tomatoes in such sauces, they were "spaghetti sauces", probably made of spaghetti as far as he knew.)
He dumped them in the pot and began stirring vigorously, sort of chopping the tomatoes as he stirred, breaking them up at any rate.
Umm...tomatoes and cream don't get along all that well...could I have a peek? Er, yes, you see..."Whaddya mean? It's PERFECT!" I considered teaching him the word "curdled", but I was sure it would go right past him. He heated it a bit more, stirring all the way, and brought his proud concoction to the table.
Against my better judgement, I tasted this admittedly pretty but mostly hopeless-looking mass that was in my plate.
It was quite good! Abandoning all good sense, I even told him so.
I suggested that next time he try stewed tomatoes, without trying to explain what "stewed" meant outside of bar-rooms. That variation was quite good also.
He had a name for this dish, damned if I can remember it. Panucci or something like that.
I suspect that what appealed to him about this recipe was that it neatly used up the entire contents of every box and can he had to buy. If you could manage to finish it, you wouldn't need to remember to put anything away or figure out what to do with half a box of elbow macaroni. To non-cooks, such things are major victories I suppose.
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 1996 20:14:51 0000 From: Allison Greene <argreene@...> MC-Recipe Digest V1 #129
From the MasterCook recipe list. Downloaded from Glen's MM Recipe Archive, .
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