If God had intended us to follow recipes,
He wouldn't have given us grandmothers.
BBQ Meatballs, Ruthie's Mac'n Cheese, and Mashed Potatoes
This post is a shout-out to all of my midwestern comrades, especially those who live away from home! We all have those moments where only food can make us feel better. Where do we turn? Comfort food. I find it so interesting that different regions have different comfort food. Some places slather it with green chile (ahem, Colorado), others put pasta above all else and still others produce these delicious things called cheesesteaks. Yum, yum, yum. But when you're from Iowa, comfort food has its own special meaning.
When I cook comfort food, I think of my grandmothers. Angel Ruthie and Dottie, with their constant presence in the kitchen. Ready for hugs at the door, pots on the stove and oven hot, aromas wafting through the house, and a spoon ready to give a taste if needed (which it always was). I can hardly conjur up any other memories that make me feel like this recipe - comforted.
Lucky for me, this tradition was passed on to my mother (who also gave me this recipe as well as my love for meat). We comfort each other in many ways in my family. Hugs, laughter, jumping out from a dark corner...you know, the usual. But food is a big one. We always ate as a family growing up and this has continued into adulthood. Time to share our days and catch up on how everyone is doing. The bonding time has been invaluable...thanks mom and dad. Every birthday we got to pick our favorite meal to have mom cook for us. At Christmas, we practically have a fight to the death to decide what the meal is going to be (it's always blow-ups...recipe to come).
So for those of you who find yourself missing home every once in awhile, this meal is for you. Add a PBR. I did.
1 1/2 lb ground beef
3/4 cup rolled oats (Quaker Oats)
1 tbsp onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup milk
flour to dredge
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
Combine meat, oats, onion, salt, pepper, and milk.
Form into small balls. Roll in flour.
Brown in oil in heavy skillet or electric fry pan set at 360 degrees. Cover with bbq sauce and turn heat to low and simmer until done.
Ruthie's Mac'n Cheese
2 cups macaroni, cooked according to directions
6-8 oz Velveeta
1/4-1/2 cup of milk
1/2 stick of butter
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
Add Velveeta, butter and milk to noodles until combined. Add garlic and onion powder little by little, tasting until you can identify the flavors through the cheesey Velveeta deliciousness. Once the flavor is good for you add a dash of salt and pepper and you're ready to go. This was always a favorite, if not THE favorite, of the grandkids growing up. Ruth Menefee made the best mac'n cheese around.
This time, the mashed potatoes were not homemade. I'm not ashamed! I put a lot of work and love into the other two dishes. I was so stuffed after I ate this meal that I could barely move, but isn't that what comfort food is for?
Doesn't this just say it all? I love all my grandparents so much and miss the ones that aren't here every day.
A child needs a grandparent, anybody's grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world. ~Charles and Ann Morse