In honor of last week’s Mad Men premiere and the much anticipated launch of Jersey Shore’s second season, I thought I’d take a moment to ponder which particular foodstuffs would go best with each show.
I’ll start with the much-lauded Mad Men.
I was lucky that the Next Food Network Star included modern twists on ’60s favorites the week *before* last, making it very easy for me to (eww…gross!) regurgitate them this week.
I’m not actually very good at cooking without a recipe (It’s the baker in me?) — Reason #2 I will probably never be on the show. Instead, I found some recently updated versions of these classics, thanks to Epicurious and the Food Network (mostly).
- Tuna Noodle Casserole — I actually made this recipe once when I was hankering for comfort food. It seemed the most interesting spin with the mushrooms and the sherry and whatnot. It was good…but I haven’t made it since (and I’ve had half a bag of egg noodles in my cupboard, patiently waiting for the day I feel nostalgic enough to try it again…).
- In general, I am wary of Rachael Ray recipes — I feel like they’re too bland for the required effort and if you really want something “easy,” you might as well really go hog wild and just microwave something (or order in). But…her Retro-Metro Fancy Tuna Casserole sounds okay. And I wonder what using actual tuna steaks would do to a tired-out casserole recipe. Jazz it up? Or would the steaks be lost in the faux-mushroom-soup sauce? That’s basically what Brianna did in that particular episode…but, then again, — spoiler alert — she got the ol’ heave-ho.
- I feel basically the same way about Martha’s recipes, but her Mediterranean Tuna Casserole sounds like it has potential. I don’t know what makes it Mediterranean though — seems like you’d need to add capers and/or olives or something.
Pigs in a Blanket
First off, I am astounded by the variety of names in the Wikipedia entry. Who knew?
- And…speaking of Martha, I think her partner Emeril has some interesting pig/blanket recipes with his Kicked Up Pigs in a Blanket and Pigs in a Blanket with Emeril’s Chicken and Apple Sausage.
- I think Salmon Pigs in a Blanket probably deserves a chance, but I’m not sure I’d give it one. Although the Italian Pigs in a Blanket sounds alright and the Pigs in a Haystack seems like a suitable modern spin.
- If I was going to make it, I’d probably want the most basic Pigs in a Blanket with Curried Ketchup. It’s just hot dogs and puff pastry…which I think is all you need. I’m not sure I’d even brush with cream or add poppy seeds.
I confess I didn’t actually know what lobster thermidor was before that fateful Food Network Star episode. I mean, I’d heard of it…but I didn’t know anything about what actually went into it. And…now that I do, I gotta say it sounds pretty gross — egg yolks and cognac?? — and I’m not sure why Tom picked it.
- I’m also not sure if it’s a recipe that has stood the test of time. Gourmet only has one recipe for it…and it’s from 1940.
- Emeril has his own version — and it got really good reviews…(although I had to Google “bouquet garni,” so I feel like perhaps I am too ignorant to make it).
- And…believe it or not, Oprah has a recipe, too…although it’s only because she, too, jumped on the Julia Child bandwagon last year. (Although I guess I have to give her props for not reprinting the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe that was absolutely everywhere…)
I won’t spend too much time here as I have made no secret about my hatred for eggs…and I would never in a million years devil them.
- But, at the same time, I know that not everyone feels the way I do…so I guess you should know that there are lots of recipes to choose from. If I *had* to make them — like, someone put a gun to my head and said, “Make deviled eggs!” — I would do Chipotle Deviled Eggs as I can only hope the chipotle would drown out all the egg. But, goodness me, there are plenty of others, too: Crab-Stuffed Deviled Eggs, Garam Masala Deviled Eggs, Deviled Eggs with Capers and Tarragon, Four-Pepper Deviled Eggs, BLT Deviled Eggs, and — last, but not least — Southwestern Deviled Eggs.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
I actually remember eating this as a kid — I think my grandmother made it. Which makes sense. I don’t think there’s much modern or new about these recipes though — just plain cake. Which is maybe as it should be?
- Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. (I’ve never actually cut a fresh pineapple before. Isn’t that scandalous?)
- Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. (I think this one gets my vote.)
- Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.
Okay…got that out of your system? Ready for pickles and Ron-Ron Juice?
I am officially thrilled that Snooki discovered fried pickles while driving through Savannah, Georgia en route to Miami in Episode 1. (I’m a little sad that they let one guy represent all of Georgia and dismissed him as a giant hick, but…that’s a post for another day.)
You may recall I once wrote a heavily edited story about fried pickles that made me sound like a complete ditz. I won’t link to it here as I was completely aghast by what the editor did in trying to assume my voice, but…let’s leave it at this: fried pickles are kind of amazing. (Snooki said it was a life-changing experience that put pickles on a whole other level! She’s not far off.)
Other than their family dinner nights, I imagine the cast of Jersey Shore has better things to do than find good food. (Didn’t J-Woww buy ham at a late-night grocery store and eat it in the confessional room to avoid cheating on her boyfriend once?) So…it’s kind of a short list. And then there’s the whole issue that only one of them is actually from Jersey anyway…so it really should be a post about New York and Rhode Island food?
But…my new ball and chain is from Jersey…so, in his honor, I’ll share all that I know about Jersey food — most of which I have learned from him — should Sami want to seek solace in empty calories or something as she embraces singlehood in MIA.
1. Diners. Jersey is famous for diners. So…typical diner food.
2. Taylor ham. I tried to call this “pork roll” and was corrected. He also thinks it’s fascinating that, like Kleenex, Taylor is a brand name that has come to represent the product itself. And you have to eat it in some sort of sandwich form?
3. Gravy fries. (There’s a bar near me that calls them “Disco fries.” I think this is a substantially more fun name.)
4. Clams? Or is that just my warped memory of Sam Sifton’s piece?
And…there you have it.