That Went Well


Irene's Omelet

Tell your family you are making an omelet and you can share it with one person. Watch them fuss over you and try to get the right pan, counting out three eggs, etc. You get another egg, break all four into a bowl and whisk them around with a fork. Turn on the stove and put your pan on a burner and put as much butter as you can get away with in the pan. When it sizzles, pour your eggs in and turn the heat down a bit. Add some salt. If you want, add cheese that you have cut up. Smile at all the family giving you helpful advice. They know nothing. Relax.

Watch your family looking nervously at your omelet as you go sit down and look at a catalog and turn down pages of things you like. Listen to your family try to get you to stand watch over your omelet. Tell them it is your omelet and you'll be along soon.

After a while, whatever while suits you, get up and stroll over to the stove, place your spatula under the eggs and sort of flip the whole thing over. If it only works a little bit, this is fine, as they will taste good no matter what it looks like.

Walk around, turn on the television and channel surf a little, and then, as your family starts to talk about burning things, go back and turn the oven off and cut the omelet in half and give the other half to the person who has hassled you the least.

Then say you can't do the dishes because you were the cook. Sit down with your TV show and your catalog, and enjoy. Salt to taste. If no one is looking, add more butter on top. It's good that way. Let the others cook their own omelets, since they think they know so much.

Bammy's Swiss Steak

Take any pot roast - chuck, 7-bone, whatever's handy, and coat it in mustard (just yellow regular mustard). Now dip that in flour, salt and pepper, and brown it gently - not on high or the coating falls off - on both sides, in a pan you can later stick into the oven. Now layer fresh tomatoes over the top, and a sliced onion or two as well. Salt and pepper it again, and pour about a cup of beef broth over the top, lifting it up so the broth goes under the roast to prevent burning and sticking. Cover it and put it in a 325 degree oven for at least three hours, maybe four, depending on your day......check every hour or so to see if it's absorbed too much broth, and then add some water underneath the roast again. Don't worry if the coating comes off, or if you have to keep putting water or broth in to keep it will still taste heavenly. About an hour before you're ready to serve it, you can add some new potatoes, unpeeled, and cover it again.

It makes a whole meal, along with maybe a green salad, and you don't need to cook anything more. My great grandmother (Bammy's mom) Isabelle Armstrong, served it to about thirty men at Mill D in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the late 1860's and early '70's. She is the heroine of one of my future books.

Pickled Pigs Feet

Just go to your grocery store. They're still on the shelf. You open them and try them, hot or cold. If this is making you ill to think of, that's okay. They're not for everyone.

Mom's Superb Spaghetti

A half pount of bacon
2 lbs. ground beef
2 onions
2 large cans diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato soup
4 cloves of garlic, or much more, if you like
1or 2 Tablespoons sugar
Zest of a lemon (the peel, scraped thin)

Brown your bacon, onion, and ground beef all together for at least ten minutes until all is cooked. Then add garlic and cook a bit more, but don't brown the garlic. Add all the other ingredients, stir, and simmer on low heat for at least an hour to let the flavors blend. Keep stirring every once in a while to make sure it doesn't stick and burn on the bottom of the pan. Serve over spaghetti with parmesan cheese.

Mrs. Sullivan's Spaghetti

Boil your spaghetti, drain it, open a couple of cans of tomato soup, throw it over it, call the kids to come sit down and say grace. That's it.

Baby Spaghetti

While your noodles cook, melt a large cube of Velveeta cheese in a pan along with a can of tomato soup. Add pieces of cooked bacon. Pour over noodles. Usually, any kid will love it and it makes Franco American look quite sad, really.