Posted by: Erica Retrochef | August 28, 2008


During my random search for retro recipes to inflict on the kids treat my family to, Lidian of Kitchen Retro posted one that looked like a real fiasco winner:

The name promised a fast, exotically foreign, zippy and fun dish.

Then I read the ingredients.

1/4 cup bacon drippings [This is where I should have just stopped.]
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium green pepper, diced
1-1/2 cups Minute Rice (TM)
1-3/4 cups hot water
2 cans Hunts Tomato Sauce (TM)
1 teaspoon salt….Dash of pepper
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (optional)

The teaspoon of mustard is optional, just in case you might find this too spicy! Urgh… But, through a lack of common sense and self-preservation, I felt committed.

I tend to violate these brand-created recipes at will, sticking to the “spirit” while adjusting the ingredients. If there is any way to make this even vaguely edible, I’ll be attempting it. For example, Minute Rice is stupid. If you can’t boil rice in water, you shouldn’t be trying anything harder than peanut butter sandwiches. Similarly, I’m not using 1/4 cup of bacon drippings (shouldn’t I be recycling this for bombs, anyway?) because that’s disgusting. I decided to live dangerously and use a heaping teaspoon of mustard.
The Ingredients

It starts off well — onions, green pepper, and rice look pretty tasty. Then I added the tomato sauce, and it ended up looking like an accident scene out of a Sid Davis driver’s ed film. (Commentary on Kitchen Retro about this ad-recipe concentrated on the unappealing visual — the food photographer should have been fired for making a dish look that bad. In actuality, we should be heaping praise on the poor guy for making it look as good as he did.)

Mixing in Sauce

This is your brain on Spanish Rice Pronto

Even with 2 teaspoons of mustard, it’s bland — no surprise, since you’ve ended up with a bowlful of tomato sauce with small bits of other stuff in it occasionally. And it makes a huge bowlful, meaning I have plenty of Spanish Rice Pronto for leftovers. One mitigating factor is that I got to picture 1950’s Housewife being told by her husband that he was bringing home an important client for dinner, and he was from Spain so could she please try to come up with something Spanish? And then this bullshit would be served. EPIC FAIL! HA HA!

Rice and Tomato Sauce


  1. Your does look better than the stuff in that ad (which I am sending along to you now)!

  2. Man, you shouldn’t have skipped the drippin’s. That would have MADE the dish.

    I would eat that.

  3. ok, just noticed that I added an apostrophe to drippins for no apparent reason. Also? After reading your about page, I get why you skipped the pork.

  4. My parents hoard their bacon fat (and they eat a fair amount of bacon). They never used as much as they produced, even though they used it with everything they fried. My mother was aghast when she was at our house, planning to cook something, and asked, “Where do you keep your bacon grease,” only to be told that we had none.

  5. Even if I wasn’t kosher (and I’m only casually kosher), 1/4 cup bacon fat is just too much. I did use chicken fat (I rendered chicken fat! I am awesome!) — about 2 tablespoons, not 1/4 cup, and it was still pretty greasy.

    Until I drowned it all in tomato sauce, at least.

    If you want to try it yourself, use half the sauce and add some southwestern spices to jazz it up. Then, it might be pretty darn good 🙂

  6. Hahahaha I laughed at your last few sentences! hhaha

  7. My mom made a Spanish Rice that looked very similar to this, but I’m pretty sure she used ketchup. It was never my favorite… but it was better than her Mexican Salad — made with Catalina dressing… (My mom was an 80’s housewife)

  8. […] our experience with “Spanish Rice Pronto,” which was just rice drowning in tomato sauce, I am heavily skeptical of any vintage recipe […]

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