A few fellow retro recipe enthusiasts decided to hold a virtual potluck, swapping recipes from our extensive collections. The theme, “church cookbooks,” meant we’d be getting home-tested recipes that community members felt were worthy of sharing with their neighbors. And, through luck of the draw, I got “Lazy Brides Dish,” from the 1958 “Out of Alaska’s Kitchens,” Collected And Compiled by Alaska Crippled Children’s Association.
I liked the name — heck, I’ll confess to being a lazy bride occasionally. I might even confess to being a lazy bride often, if we’re going to concentrate specifically on how much time I spend in the kitchen regularly. I especially like being lazy if I can still get a decent meal out of it, which is just a win-win scenario. Heck, one of my most popular potluck recipes is something called “dump cake,” which consists of dumping a can of cherry pie filling with a can of pineapple, mixing, then dumping on a box of yellow cake mix and dumping on some pats of butter (are you seeing where the name comes from?) and baking the whole mess. And Lazy Bride’s Dish just looked like that — dump things in a pan, bake, eat!
But then I really read through it… particularly the ingredient list.
LAZY BRIDES DISH
1 can tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can lima beans
1 can mushrooms
1 can spaghetti with tomato sauce
1/2 lb. bacon diced and browned
1/2 lb. boiled ham diced
2 tbls. flour mixed with juice of tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Mix and bake half an hour at 350 degrees.
What I actually found funniest about this was that, in addition to my gut reaction of “that looks un-tasty,” the list of ingredients struck me as pretty cumbersome. If I’m allegedly a lazy bride, do I really spend a lot of time fussing at the grocery store, or do I just buy 10 cans of spaghetti?
And now I have to dice and brown bacon. The cookbook authors and I may have different standards for “lazy.”
I guess it’s possible to find pre-diced ham, so maybe I was just making work for myself by dicing a ham steak.
The, um, sauce… Well, let’s just say whisking flour and tomato juice make a nice, goopy pink sauce.
The meats, sauce, and (well-drained) vegetables were then all dumped together in a large casserole dish. I have to admit, it’s really colorful. I also have to admit, I think those lima beans are laughing at me.
It emerged from the oven looking exactly like it did before being put in the oven. (And that tomato-flour sauce didn’t thicken it, not one little bit…)
I was surprised that this was edible.
I was shocked to find it enjoyable.
Even Middle Son, who claims to hate mushrooms and corn, cleaned his plate of everything except the lima beans. This child hates anything that isn’t bacon, and he ate this (carefully picking out every last bit of “real food” from around and under the lima beans). I frankly have no idea why it tasted good — although my best guess is that we bought some fairly high-quality canned vegetables, which made a big difference. But it was a well-balanced meal, and ended up being filling. Unlike many leftovers, which languish in the nether regions of the fridge until well-covered in mold, the extra servings of Lazy Bride’s Dish had vanished within two days. It was even better after being rewarmed.
I might have to be lazy more often.
The Lazy Bride’s Dish was sent to me by Ruth of Mid-Century Menu, who had to cook up some Sausage Apple Rice Casserole. See what other dishes came to our potluck: at 1972: The Retro WW Experiment, Caker Cooking, and Cock-a-Doodle Casserole at Dinner is Served 1972.