Two recipes of Which My Father Disapproved
Jennie Ver Steeg,   Northern Illinois University
In 1958, my aunt Marcene (of last month's White Trash Stroganoff fame)
married the most exotic type the Ver Steeg family had ever encountered,
her fellow Arthur Murray instructor boyfriend, Frank Monsoor, not
merely Lebanese but from Wisconsin. After the shock wore off, and we
found the way to Wisconsin on a map (imagine--they were right on top of
us all this time), my small family began visiting his exotic clan every
summer, where I learned that some people have ice cream all the time,
some people get to have pop with dinner even if it isn't a holiday, and
it is not a very good idea to powder stuffed toys. But I digress.
While Aunt Marcene was and is a good cook--witness stroganoff--there
were some dishes that filled our little clan with alarm, particularly
my dad, whose list of ThingsThat Are Not Done to Food was even longer
than my own: meat and vegetables can only be in the same dish if in a
red sauce, nothing sweet should ever get near meat, if you have calf's
liver, you must also have cottage cheese...These and other rules made
eating at the Monsoors a challenge. Frank's taco recipe, which called
for grated carrots, mashed potatoes, and frying the tortillas in Wesson
oil comes to mind, or the concoction that so horrified me I can still
recite it: cubed ham, one part Cheese Whiz to one part mayo, spread on
hamburger buns, broil. My cousin Laura was mystified, not five years
ago, when I told her how much I hated those. "I make them now," she
murmured, pity mingled with numb disbelief.
At any rate, there were two dishes my father liked, in spite of
himself--until....Until...he saw the recipes.
I should mention I am taking this from a church cookbook from 1974, in
which Marc offered up the recipe.
4 slices bread, cut in ½ " cubes
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 ½ t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
2 lbs. ground beef
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. sage
Soak bread in milk, add eggs, onion, sage, pepper and Worcestershire
sauce. Beat with rotary beater. Pour salt over meat and mix with hands.
Add bread and seasoning mixture to meat, mix well. Bake at 350 degrees
for 60-70 minutes.
"This is not only delicious, it slices beautifully!" it says here.
It seems inoffensive enough to me--even bland--but my father knew what
was wrong with it: too much moisture. The damn thing was soup. It was
meatloaf shake. What a damn mess. He made such a fuss and carried the
gag to such extremes that for years the immediate family brought straws
to dinner at Aunt Marcene's pulled them out and said hopefully, "Are we
having meatloaf?" You try it. See what it does.
The second dish has two strikes against it, or maybe three: funny name,
cinnamon, raw meat. The shame of it all is that Dad liked it, he
really, really liked it....till he saw the recipe and discovered he had
been duped into eating cinnamon and meat, sweet and meat, all mushed up
together. What a hard life lesson! (After all, this is a man who talked
for years, with curled lip, about my Aunt Marcene's babysitter's
spaghetti sauce with dreaded anise in it. Anise is in licorice. He
rested his case.) We all love it now.
2 lbs. lean ground lamb
1 large onion, ground
½ c. cold water
1 ½ c. finely cracked wheat
Rinse wheat in pan of water. Drain water from wheat by cupping hands
and squeezing out the moisture. Add to the wheat the meat, onions, salt
and pepper. Grind all ingredients together twice. (If a grinder is not
available, knead all ingredients together well. After grinding or
kneading, add ½ c. cold water to soften, and knead again. Melted
butter, spooned over kibby when ready to serve, is a tasty addition. It
is usually served like a round cake and can be served on a regular
dinner plate, and cut any way you wish.
Baked Kibby (to be used with raw kibby recipe--totaling 3 lbs. of meat
1 T. butter
½ c. pine nuts
1 lb. ground lamb
cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste
Grease a 10' by 14' baking pan with rendered butter. Dip hand in water
and spread half of raw kibby smoothly over bottom of the pan. Simmer
the extra pound of lamb in butter. Add cinnamon, salt, pepper, and mix.
Brown pine nuts in butter, and add to simmered meat. Spread the meat
and nut mixture evenly over the layer of kibby in the pan. Spread the
remaining raw kibby over the top and smooth surface. Score in
triangles. Loosen edges. Pour 1 c. rendered butter over top, bake in
moderate oven at 350 degrees approx. 25 minutes. Then place under
broiler till top is golden. Serves 8-10.
Next month: How to Fool My Grandfather