Saturday, July 25, 2009

White Trash Food: The MotherLode!

I spent the weekend at my parents' house a couple of weeks ago, and it was great to relax and talk without the constant din of small children. After a while, though, I started to get restless because it was so quiet inside the house. My house hasn't seen quiet in 7 1/2 years.

So I decided to amuse myself by doing what any sane, normal adult would do: I snooped through my parents' shit.

Now before you get all schoolteacher on me, I will clarify that I didn't open Mom's brassiere drawer or riffle through the jewelry box. I am a snooper with principles. I only snoop through stuff that's in plain sight, like bookshelves, photo albums, magazine racks. In my mind, that's "open snooping," which I will only be going to maybe the 2nd ring of hell for. Totally worth it.

I got to snooping through the kitchen, and I spied something that almost made me do that Tom Cruise thing on Oprah's couch. It's that good.

I spied, with my little eyes, a cookbook. An extensive collection of recipes. From a North Dakota church/ladies club. Circa 1967 (first priniting:1963). I grabbed it, flipped through it, and then flipped out. White Trash Food Nirvana, friends and neighbors!

I got home, burst into hubby's study, waved the book around wildly, and let out a whoop. "Look! Look what mom let me borrow! Dude! It's the White Trash Motherlode! This shit is so good, you couldn't make it up. Listen: Hot Deviled Weiner Sandwich, Toasted Tuna Loaf, Peas Royale, Avocado Jello Mold! This is AWESOME!"

He turned around from the computer to face me and raised an eyebrow. "Only you would be that excited about this."

"Yeah, I know, but still! Listen to this! They even have a recipe for Homemade Head Cheese!"

"Are you trying to make me vomit so hard that my coffee comes through my nose?"

Hmmph. Killjoy. In my opinion this is a great historical relic! Casseroles-R-Us, if you will.

I giggled and snorted through the book and have decided that I am going to do a White Trash MotherLode recipe fortnightly.

We will start with an oddity that appears not once but twice in the book, submitted by different churchgoers. The recipe is for: African Chop Suey.

Okay, oddity #1: Chop Suey is not from Africa. It's probably not even from China, either, but Africa? Oddity #2: There's no ingredient that's remotely African in the recipe. Oddity #3: In Grand Forks North Dakota in the 60's, you couldn't throw a hunk of Krumkake in the street without hitting a Scandinavian. Never did see an African. Or a Chinese person, for that matter.

Still, that's what makes this so interesting to me. So without further ado, I give you:

African Chop Suey
serves about 8

1 1/2 lbs pork, cubed
1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 white rice
3 cups celery
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons soy sauce
5 cups boiling water

Brown pork in some butter very well. Remove from pan and add water, celery, onions, rice and soy sauce. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Add meat and put in a casserole dish in a 350 degree oven. Bake 1 hour covered and 45 minutes uncovered.

Note: I am assuming that you know that you try this at your own peril.

Look in 2 weeks for the next episode of White Trash Motherlode...


  1. I have a couple of these that were given to me ages ago. One is from the Ladies at the Salt Creek Baptist Church and there is a recipe for a Wiener Loaf.You grind up the hot dogs and form them into a meatloaf. ACK!

  2. LOL. This is hilarious! I love finding old cookbooks like this one. Your husband's repsonse cracked me up too.

  3. ooo did it taste good? I am excited - thanks for sharing -I look forward to the next one!!! What did the kids think?!

  4. PS I'm with you on the snooping front...

  5. You hit the jackpot there, girlie! Africa is not in America, right? It's just the rest of the world. So same difference if it is Africa, China or New Zealand. So did you make this?

  6. You guys are crazy! No way did I make this! I guess I should have clarified that White Trash MotherLode recipes are for amusement only. Unless any of you is daring enough to make them!

  7. So funny! I don't think you were blogging when I posted this but perhaps you might enjoy a retro-read... ;)

  8. Classic! I am now hanging out to see the next one. I wonder if your white trash recipes are more out there than Aussie ones...... I have a feeling they are ha,haa.
    African Chop Suey- that is just to good!

  9. so . .. it actually looks kind of healthy, so i will probably make it, b/c i need more casserole recipes!!

    but, avocado jello mold?


    whatever hot deviled weiner sandwich is, though, i am intrigued

  10. I live for books like this. My grandmother has a few of them and whenever I am at her house, I always feel like I have won the lottery when I get to read them for a bit.

    Oh, and your first featured recipe was a great one. Very African...especially given the soy sauce and all. :)


  11. I will see your African Chop Suey and raise you hamburger stuffed bread from Heavenly Delights: United Church of Woodhull cookbook circa 1989.

  12. Wait! I just found Persian Rice! Milk, rice, eggs, sugar oh and this must be the Persian add vanilla or nutmeg to taste.

  13. Wait. A. Minute.
    Toasted Tuna Loaf sounds MUCH worse than Tuna Casserole. I'm thinking the casserole might have to be promoted out of WT status...

  14. This post made me laugh and want to vomit at the same time because I'm pretty sure my mom made me eat that very same chop suey (but with a can of Chinese vegetables mixed in).

  15. Oh my god I'm laughing so hard I don't think the coffee will ever clear my sinuses.

    How you didn't make the Peas Royale I'll never know.

    And you know as well as I do, that there is no headcheese like homemade headcheese.

    (for the record, this post and ensuing comments are the worst remedy for nausea EVER.)

  16. Naptime, darling, never fear...recipe for Peas Royale is forthcoming. You won't miss a thing, believe me. But I do believe I will save homemade head cheese for the grand finale!

    Kestrel, I do believe we have White Trash Wars going on...gimme that Macaroni Pizza or die!!!

    And no, Gibby, tuna casserole is still WT food, but it isn't a medal contender like the toasted tuna loaf :)

    And I'm mad at all of you for not living close to me...I'm glad I found you but pissed that you can't have a beer in my backyard.

  17. Kestrel, I need that recipe for my Persian friend, who makes the world's most amazing rice -- she will love that!

  18. I sure hope it also includes the proper way to fry up cold slices of Malt-o-Meal.

  19. Miss Thystle,

    Thanks for stopping by! Fried Malt-o-Meal sounds almost too much to bear! I hope that little bit of yuck wasn't part of your childhood?

  20. It had an index? I still have some of those cookbooks. I thought everything was just called "hot dish."

    Hey--want a good recipe for livermush?

  21. I didn't see this tradition until now. Perhaps the ladies were being progressive: since Chop Suey is really an American invention, and literally means "mixing up leftovers or whathaveyou", they were reclaiming the dish for the American heartland? And calling it "African" is just a way to highlight the fact that the location in the name signifies nothing? See? Progressive! Way ahead of their times!