A Virtual Bouquet for Memorial Day
Memorial Day, a perfect time to remember...and here's one of my favorite memories and the recipe that came from it!
My mom was raised during the Great Depression by her British-born mom. So growing up, I got used to many of her recipes being from cheap ingredients. And quick and easy to prepare, as my mom worked full time and then some in our art gallery, the first in Sun Valley. Slumgullion, the Scots-Irish word for mixed up leftovers, was my mom’s favorite dish to prepare, despite inedible disaster often being a result. She hated to “waste” food, no matter what the state the food happened to be in, including that of waste. This is why my dad always said that nothing ever came out of our refrigerator unless it crawled out on its own. In self defense, I learned very early on how to cook and bake. Nowadays I often thank Mom for her terrible cooking.
One of the things I learned early on is that there are several ways to make slumgullion without it tasting (and immediately being) garbage. If you just follow a few simple rules then you might find yourself making a delicious slumgullion often and well! And saving food, time and money!
Dear Readers, what are your Memorial Day memories?
Think of like with like and ingredients you'd use together in dishes. For example, I often take leftover chili (steak, chili sauce, and tomatoes), leftover Mexican casserole (hamburger, corn, chilies and carrots) and leftover pasta and combine. I promise it’s yummy, although may look odd...as illustrated above.
If you have a lot of one leftover and a little of another, but not quite enough to make a meal, consider another item that would combine well with your ingredients. I might add beans or some spaghetti squash to the recipe above. Or add a side dish too, a salad perhaps.
Avoid mixing too strong of flavors, sweets and sours, for example. If my character from my Starke Dead mystery series, Aunt Maddie, was making the chili/Mexican/pasta slumgullion above, she'd add apple pie! Okay, an extreme example, but Aunt Maddie is pretty extreme herself. Also avoid too many different added spices. Both these mistakes will make the food taste strange and murky and possibly not like food at all.
If you have "simple" leftovers, such as cooked vegetables and chicken, consider which spices to use and try different ones for a "refreshed" dish. (I might use coriander, thyme and pepper for the vegetables and chicken, for example.)
Avoid mixing tomatoes, vinegar or lemon juice with peas, green beans and/or broccoli as the green vegetables will turn brown and bitter.
One last trick: You can always pour gravy over everything, yum, or use the gravy as a base for a refreshed slumgullion soup, yum!
Readers, questions, suggestions, tales of culinary disaster?
A flyer for a booksigning of Family Recipes from the Snake River Plain, which includes my slumguillion recipe and other great recipes from great cooks, fry sauce, dream cake, zucchini rounds, but you can get a copy today here! Enjoy!