Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In the Beginning, There was Slop-n-Goulash...

…and it was good. Very good!

When my husband and I got married in 1986, I had led a sheltered life in the ways of the culinary arts. I am an only child and my mother was a stay-at-home-mom, so she did all the cooking. I never had reason to cook. Mom made all the traditional “Mom Meals” like meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasts, beef stew, and of course, chili. (Since this is my first real blog post, you can’t know this unless you know me in real life, but I could probably eat chili every day. Not just any chili though – I don’t like ALL chili. I am a chili snob, but that’s another blog post…stay tuned.)

So back to 1986 and our marriage. We married young. I was 21 and my husband, 20 when we tied the knot. (and yes, he did drink alcohol at our wedding if that’s what you’re wondering.) We didn’t go on a honeymoon because we decided to use the money we’d have spent fixing up our apartment instead. I think back and wonder what in the world it was "fixed up"???

I honestly cannot tell you what we ate those first few days of marriage. Probably leftover homemade mostaccioli from the wedding, along with some deli meat sandwiches. Once the “newlywed starter set of food” was depleted, I started calling my mom – and calling her often. “How do you make…?” or if I could figure the basics out myself, “How long do you bake…?”, or "How do I know if it's done?" I’d ask her to write it down and make it so simple an idiot could follow it. And she did. She’d be so specific, that her recipe for Salmon Croquettes started with “Open can, drain” (I know – funny huh? But now that she’s gone, to have that in her own handwriting is priceless. I smile every time I see it, although my husband makes them now - and that, too is another blog post for the future.) Whatever the case, we didn’t starve.

Then came the infamous (okay, infamous in our family now – 25 years later) “Slop-n-Goulash”. I don’t recall what made me try making it. I think I just bought what was then Lipton (now Knorr’s) beef flavored noodle packets to make for us. On the back was a recipe which is now called Western Skillet Pasta on Knorr’s website. (http://www.knorr.com/Recipes/6953/1/Western-Skillet-Pasta.aspx) I don’t remember what it was named on the back of the Lipton packet back then. But it looked easy for a novice cook like me, so I tried it and it WAS easy. And an added bonus/surprise, it tasted really good, too. My husband, coming back for seconds, tells me, “I’m going back for more Slop-n-Goulash”. I cannot tell you how proud I was to have my first REAL recipe be christened with a name that included the word SLOP.

The funny part is that it was the highest compliment from my husband. And the rest is history…

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