Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dinner of Childhood Memories

When I was a tyke, we spent 3 years in the States when my father was going to Ohio State University. One of the things I remember most clearly about our time in Columbus, were some of the American-style meals The Mums would whip up for us on the weekend. Those memories still fill me with comfort and warm fuzzy feelings.

The Mums is a pretty spectacular mother. When we moved back to St. John's after being in Columbus, she dealt with mondo eating weirdness from all of us: my father only wanted traditional Newfoundland food (jigg's dinner, fish and brewis, etc. etc.). In fact, the thought of eating pasta, rice, or any sort of international or spicy cuisine would cause my father to burst into an anxiety ridden sweat. My brother Paully had a rather limited palette and would only eat about 5 things: beef, potatoes, pasta, bread and sweets. Anything spicy or green (unless it were a frozen pea) would cause him to become apoplectic. Meanwhile, my mother and I liked trying different things like homemade curry, moussaka, and tofu. When we moved back to St. John's after our time in the States, my mother not only held down a full time job, but she frequently came home and cooked three (yup you read correctly - that is 3) DIFFERENT suppers. Is it any wonder that the prospect of cooking now fills her with less than enthusiasm?

So on Saturday, after we had done our errands, gone to see a fantastic new play called "The Edward Curtis Project", we both decided we had a hankerin' for something neither of us had eaten in decades: Sloppy Joes. Mister Man had recently seen an episode of Tyler's Ultimate on The Food Network that featured exactly that. And while we weren't able to get ground turkey, we made them with ultra lean ground beef. And you know what? They were JUST as delicious as I remembered them to be. The only thing missing from this meal was Tang and a Space Food Stick or Shake-A-Puddin' for dessert. Oh - and an episode of Sonny and Cher on the television set..... oh - and we wouldn't have had beer back then either. We'd probably be drinking a glass of delicious, cold homo milk. And following supper, we wouldn't have cracked into a game of cribbage, we'd probably roll up our sleeves and dived into a game of OPERATION.

Sloppy Joes (a la Tyler's Ultimate)
(this recipe feeds a bunch of hungry folks - we cut the recipe waaaaaay back, but if you need to feed the masses, here's the full meal deal)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 12 soft rolls


Set a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Add onions and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add ground turkey, season well with salt and pepper and brown well all over, breaking it up with a wooden spoon - about 7 to 10 minutes. Add ketchup, mustard, cayenne, brown sugar and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

May you enjoy this flash from the past as much as we did.

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