This story will fully come together in a day or two when the Digi Bros episode comes out during which The Davoo asks me when I’ll learn to cook–for now, I present the attempts:
As of Thanksgiving, I resolved that I would learn how to cook well enough by next year’s Thanksgiving that I can cook the dinner myself. I started yesterday.
So my mom had a cookbook laying around called The Best Recipes, which takes recipes that are listed on the sides of the cans and boxes of foods and lists them all. It’s an enormous book which and least 10 years old, which was perhaps worth consideration.
The first appetizer which caught my eye was meant to use Underwood roast beef spread–which is a product that I was convinced didn’t exist, but my mom assured me that it did.
I was right.
The recipe called for Roast Beef spread (nonexistent), Melba Rounds (my dad and I couldn’t find these at the store–we were probably looking in the wrong section, as we thought they’d be with the crackers), grated onions, and grated cheddar cheese.
Since the roast beef didn’t exist, I got some Underwood deviled ham spread instead. Since we couldn’t find the Melba rounds, we went with saltine rounds. We had cheddar and pepperjack combo cheese, which is the same difference. As follows:
They looked like an absolute mess put together, and I’m sure I used more onion than I was supposed to, though as an onion lover this didn’t bother me.
They didn’t come out as terrible as I expected, but it was very clear that you do NOT cook saltine crackers in the oven, even for only 3 minutes. Once my mom told us what Melba rounds are like, we got a sense of why they were needed, and why we didn’t find them in the cracker isle. Between me, Vic, and my cousin, we were able to stomach a little more than half the plate. This meal was clearly never meant to happen this way, and while I think that it could’ve been improved a lot with Melba rounds and less onions, I don’t think it’s worth doing again, considering the main ingredient no longer exists.
My mom was telling me about a legendary cookbook known as the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, which has a red and white checkerboard pattern and “was in every woman’s kitchen back in the day.” My mom’s copy had been left behind in a cross-country move when I was little. When we were at my grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, my mom found a copy of it in her bathroom, and my grandma let me keep it.
Going right to the appetizers section once again, this time I decided to try some ham-stuffed mushrooms. This was a more complex recipe and ran me a fairly high price because we didn’t own most of the ingredients–but at least I pretty much got all the correct ones. I had to get a lot of smaller mushrooms than the size I would’ve liked because the store I went to only had like two large mushrooms in stock; but overall, this was correct.
It consists of chopped up green onions and mushroom stems cooked with butter, then mixed with flour, grated Parmesan cheese, Savory (this is a type of seasoning which seems to have fallen out of style? My mom hadn’t heard of it, and the bottle I bought was the only one of its kind at the store I went to), white wine, diced ham, and water. Topped with bread crumbs, for which I used the Panko we had around.
I definitely put a bit too much of the wine and water into my mixture, because I’m stupid and I don’t fully grasp how little a tablespoon is. It still looked potentially okay.
This was far more edible than the previous attempt–I’d even call it food. I could tell that the taste had been diluted a bit by all the water I put in, but it still came out with a fairly complex and rich taste. The recipe had specifically been for 24 mushrooms (I had 21), which was way too many to cook for just myself and Vic. He only ate a few since he was going to lunch with Hope, so I tried my damndest to eat the rest myself. I still have like 5 left (I guess I ate like 11?) so I’ll find out if they’re any good cold/reheated. Overall, I’d consider this to be a success as an appetizer, if not close to a resounding one. I also have learned that this dish is probably an appetizer because ten fucking mushrooms really starts to weigh heavy on your stomach.