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Electric Sugar
May 24, 2004

Central eye projects a 150-ft hope cone.



Clapping Larry

When we were growing up, my dad had a hot dish comfort food that he really enjoyed. The rest of us hated it. HATED it. We tell stories on it and people are generally aghast at this bland casserole. I'd like to find out if there is anything similar that anyone else has experienced, because grandma is dead and can't tell me where the idea for this thing came from.

The "one dish meal" is a layered casserole. The bottom layer is chunks of boiled potato. The next layer is browned hamburger. The meat is topped with cooked elbow macaroni, then diced canned tomatoes. The whole thing is then covered with a layer of Wheaties or Wheat Chex, and it's baked until warm throughout. Serve with a side of ketchup. (there are no spices. There are no onions. There is nothing else.)

The reasoning: this order makes the hamburger grease go through the potatoes, and the tomatoes' juice go through everything except the Wheaties -- and the top stays dry and crunchy but keeps it rest from drying out. The bottom 2 layers each are thicker than the macaroni, and the tomatoes just cover the macaroni, and Wheaties just protect the tomatoes.

Has anyone ever heard of anything like this? Where does this thing even come from? Most "hamburger hot dish" recipes I've found have onions, tomatoes, some form of seasoning, and they are often mixed together and not in these ordered layers.

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Casu Marzu
Oct 20, 2008



There's a million and a half variations on a layered beef casserole laying around in church cookbooks since the advent of church cookbooks.

The modern versions prob first came around in the late 1940s or 1950s, the origin is probably shepherds/cottage pie.

Yours sounds like an egregiously bland version.

Electric Sugar
May 24, 2004

Central eye projects a 150-ft hope cone.



Clapping Larry

Casu Marzu posted:

Yours sounds like an egregiously bland version.

Oh, trust me, I'm totally in agreement with you here. My siblings and I will never make it and never eat it again if we can help it.

I'm honestly just curious if this is the cheapening of a church cookbook recipe, as you've noted (there are lots of similar recipes, all of which are more interesting/tasty than this one) or if there's some proto-casserole that someone else has suffered.

Autistic Edgy Guy
Jan 21, 2017

screaming at bare ass

I grew up with a macaroni/tomato/hamburger hot dish, topped with mozzarella and sometimes included mushrooms. No potatoes, Wheaties and certainly no ketchup involved...guess the version I had tasted closer to a baked ziti, perhaps?

Closer to the nasty end, maybe, is a tuna noodle casserole that I still resort to in times of apathy:

16oz tuna
2 cans Campbell's cream of mushroom
Small can of peas
Garlic and onion seasoning
16oz Cooked pasta, I always do spirals
Monterey jack, maybe mozzarella, Colby, any pairing.

Basically just stir everything together, transfer to the dish, top with some more cheese and either bread crumbs or crushed potato chips, throw it in the oven.

And then there is the crossover, stuff like this:
https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes...-taco-casserole

WhatEvil
Jun 6, 2004

Can't get no luck.


Soiled Meat

Isn't it just generic poor people food? Not meant as an insult or whatever. Sounds like something invented when people don't have much and/or can't cook and just throw everything they can afford into a pot to make the least objectionable thing?

Submarine Sandpaper
May 27, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT HOW I GHOULISHLY CELEBRATE THE DEATH OF CHILDREN TO TEACH THEIR PARENTS "A LESSON"


less poor people and more trendy post war/great depression.

Dead Of Winter
Dec 17, 2003

It's morning again in America.

The ground beef/macaroni/tomato combination was often called things like "American goulash" or "American chop suey." The potatoes and Chex were likely little more than someone's personal stamp on the dish, such as it is.

Beyond that, it's probably impossible (and impossibly pointless) to try and establish some kind of genealogy for a dish like this, beyond "mid-20th century convenience food." Most of the convenience foods we take for granted today were new and trendy throughout the 20s/30s through the 70s, so this type of stuff was ubiquitous throughout that era, regardless of income level.

Most of these convenience-food recipes are simple enough that there's probably as many variations as there are people who actually made these dishes.

WhatEvil
Jun 6, 2004

Can't get no luck.


Soiled Meat

Dead Of Winter posted:

Most of these convenience-food recipes are simple enough that there's probably as many variations as there are people who actually made these dishes.

That's mostly what I was trying to get at. I doubt it's a recipe that was passed around and more likely someone's own weird variation on something that they made once, liked, and kept making because it was easy.

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Electric Sugar
May 24, 2004

Central eye projects a 150-ft hope cone.



Clapping Larry

Dead Of Winter posted:

The ground beef/macaroni/tomato combination was often called things like "American goulash" or "American chop suey." The potatoes and Chex were likely little more than someone's personal stamp on the dish, such as it is.

This was super helpful - by using these names as a baseline, what it seems like I may have is a layered combination of American Chop Suey (tomato/pasta/meat) and Potato Bargain (meat/potato) with Wheaties added at some point for flourish, or because that's just what they had available.

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