Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Here's a Terrible Childhood Memory

As I've said many times in this space, I love my mom.

She put up with a lot.
My mom taught me so many things. She taught me to read, to cook, to do cross-stitch, to be goofy and to be strong. And she unintentionally taught me certain things that I didn't want to repeat with my own child.

Listen up: All good mothers make mistakes so that their children will grow up to be even better parents than they were.

Pro tip: Try to avoid driving your kids
into therapy. Other than that, it's OK
not to be perfect.
My mom taught me that the more creative you get to try to stretch your food budget, the more likely you are to foist truly terrible meals upon your family.

Tonight's case in point: Texas hash.

I've already devoted an entire post to Polish chop suey. This is a concoction of kluski noodles, Polish sausage, cream of mushroom soup, and demon bile that my mom periodically set upon the dinner table when I was growing up. It had the advantage of being cheap to make for a family and...just kidding, it had no other advantages, apart from enabling me to be a skinny kid until puberty introduced me to the concept of binge eating.

Behold, the genesis of all my eating disorders.
But Polish chop suey was by no means the only repugnant dish my mother (whom I love very, very much) prepared for her family.

There was also Texas hash.

Not - I repeat, not - hashish.
Years before my family moved from Wisconsin to Texas, my mom made us Texas hash.

It was a casserole, of course. It was made from inexpensive ingredients, yes. It fed all five of us, probably with leftovers, check.

It was fricking vile.

As I recall, it was made with ground beef, rice, big goddamn slices of onion, and like tomatoes or tomato paste or some shit.

And served in this. Exactly this.
Lord, how I hated Texas hash. HATED it. Loved my mom, loved that we had dinner together every night. HATED this shit. It tasted like tomatoes (hate), onions (hate), and desperation (oh yeah, hate). On Texas hash nights, I went to bed hungry, or else prayed that it was a popcorn night so that I could fill my belly.

I have never had to feed a family of five on a single income during a decade of high inflation. So I am not judging my wonderful mother for making Texas hash, which had the advantages of being cheap, filling, and easily re-heatable.

But I will let ISIL take over America before I voluntarily eat that shit again.

Got it?


Recipe here if you're a freaking sadomasochist.

I love my mom. I hate Texas hash.

Remember that.


  1. So no Texas Bacon Hash at Baconfestapalooza? Got it. My mother raised 15 kids and did a lot of the same stuff as your mom. Garbage Stew was her way of using up all the leftovers from the week. It was horrid. She is a wonderful, caring person, and a pretty rad cook. HATED Garbage Stew.

    Maybe that's why I'm so reluctant to eat any type of leftovers even now.

  2. The truth of the matter is, I cannot think of a single dish growing up that either Dad or Mom cooked that I didn't love (says the permanently chubby woman). Now, my husband refuses to eat tuna and noodles together because he considers that "poverty food" and he ate it a lot growing up. It's a shame because my tuna casserole is a force to be reckoned with. The secret ingredient is cheese.

  3. Except for the tomatoes - which I despise - Texas hash sounds pretty damn good.

    ...bear in mind that this is the guy who often eats right from the pan in which he cooks, and whose culinary skills are appreciated only by Nero and Juno. No, not even Jessie likes my cooking!

    ...big deal, she's still got to eat it.

  4. This reassures me I'm not the only one whose mother considered cream of mushroom soup a food group unto itself. In fact Campbell's had (and I think still has) a program where you could send them the labels and they'd give your child's school money or something.

    My grade school had an entire wing named after my mother.

  5. My dad *loved* Spam. You'd think that an Army stint during WWII would have cured him of that, but no. He made "his famous Irish spaghetti" with Spatini (packet of MSG and "spices"), canned tomato sauce and Spam. And he's been gone for 5 years -- would I eat that stuff with him if I could? Damn straight.


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