Although there was that lunch I had where I microwaved a package of Seeds of Change brown rice and topped it with a can of sardines, mashed it all up and stirred in green Tabasco sauce and lemon juice when there were no leftovers from supper the night before. I got it down.
Canned sardines--that ever-present help in slight emergencies and when the imagination runs low.
The Bed-Book of Eating and Dining (1943)
I agree with my hero most of the time. I use the best canned sardines I can find in an Orzo Sardine Salad, Rotini and Sardine Pasta Salad, in cream cheese spreads, and with Trader Joe's wonderful Garlic Basil Linguini with capers, scallions, chicken broth and herbs. And I love grilled fresh sardines. But I hope never to repeat that one quick lunch.
Richardson is my man from the early mid-century and I remembered he had a frugal recipe called Swim, By Golly that called for macaroni and ground beef--or hamburg steak as he called it. I loved the By Golly part of the name because I grew up saying it and one day in 5th grade got reprimanded for it by my teacher. Major blush that I still remember.
The Swim, By Golly looked nice when I dished it up for supper with some steamed broccoli and Bridgeford rolls.
The only clues Richardson had given me for his red-haired Texas sister's Swim, By Golly was:
Hamburg steak cooked with a rich and spicy sauce served on a big round platter on a bed of macaroni. It is, as you can readily appreciate, a simple dish, inexpensive and filling."
A Small House and A Large Garden (1924)
I chopped an onion and garlic and sautéed it in olive oil, added 1 pound of lean ground beef and browned it.
I added salt and pepper, cumin, and oregano, red pepper flakes, a can of Muir Glenn fire roasted crushed tomatoes and cooked it for 10 minutes, then added some Worcestershire sauce, a dollop of Calabrian Chilies in Oil, beef stock, red wine and minced parsley and let it simmer about an hour. I cooked the macaroni (the whole box, big mistake) and stirred it in with some of the pasta water.
It should have at least been okay, but it wasn't. We were hungry so ate it and I saved the leftovers for lunch the next day, thinking it would improve with age. It didn't and by then the macaroni had absorbed even more liquid and felt like giant pasta shells in my mouth. Trash can time.
Richardson, I know you were Editor-in-Chief of House & Garden magazine for half a century and had impeccable taste in house and garden and wine, and every other recipe of yours that I've tried was delicious--not to mention that I simply adore you--but this recipe is not a keeper.
My dear small group of readers of Across the Way, have all your meals during this time at home been yummy or have you had any failures? It's okay if you tell me all your meals have been award-winning.
You won't be able to see me crying here.