Sunday, December 12, 2010

Texas the Beautiful: Disgusting Recipes from the Lone Star State

While doing some cleaning in the basement of our new place, my girlfriend discovered an old book. Now if movies have taught me anything, it's that her next step should be to skip school, find an attic somewhere and read the book from cover to cover out loud, and eventually a giant flying cocker spaniel will come pick her up and allow her to terrorize her enemies.
Today he's mostly used by the Army to gun down Al Qaeda operatives
Well, we tried that and it didn't work, because as it turns out, it's not a fantasy novel but a cookbook. Specifically, a cookbook printed in 1986 called Texas The Beautiful Cookbook. Written by an Australian (wtf?), it contains over 400 recipes that are supposedly authentic Texas cuisine, including many immigrant-influenced dishes. So I decided to flip through it and see what kind of fare it had to offer. I'll say this: about 85% of the recipes in this book look pretty delicious. It has some classic staples that I've been eating since I was a kid, including jalapeno cornbread, bread pudding, frito pie, fried chicken, and fried catfish.

And then there are the other 15%. These are the recipes that make you stop and go "wait, what?" The kind of recipes that make people from Texas look like a bunch of inbred backwoods hillbillies who eat whatever they can dredge up from the nearest mudhole. Basically, the kind of recipes that are good to blog about. So below, I've reprinted some of the most confusing, disgusting, or just plain bizarre recipes, for your amusement and, if you're brave enough, your enjoyment, along with some pictures found in the book. Bon appetite, y'all.

Fricassee of Armadillo

1 armadillo (about 4 lb dressed)
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup milk

Disjoint armadillo as you would a chicken (wtf?). Dredge in flour, salt and pepper. Brown in oil. Remove from pan and pour off oil. Return meat to pan, ad milk, cover and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Serves 4-6.

The cattle rustlers of western lore have been replaced by the modern turkey wrangler.

East Texas Stew

2-3 squirrels
Wine or salt water to cover
2 1/2 quarts water
2 tbsp salt
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
3 cups canned tomatoes
3 medium potatoes, chopped
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3 carrots, chopped

Cut cleaned, prepared squirrels into serving pieces. Marinate in wine or salt water overnight. Drain, place in large pot and add water, salt, celery, onion, tomatoes, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, pepper, oil, jalapeno and carrots. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until meat is tender, 4-5 hours. Serves 6.
You see that right there? That's grade A squirrel meat. Won't find that in Oklahoma.

Shrimp Mold

1 (10 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
3 (3 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups cooked, peeled shrimp, cut up
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 pinch garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Heat soup and dissolve cheese in it. Soak gelatin in cold water, dissove in hot cheese mixture. Cool about 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Pour in 2-quart oiled fish mold, chill. To unmold, run a knife blade around edge and dip mold  quickly in hot water. Invert on a serving plate. Serve with unsalted crackers. Serves 10-12. 

(I almost vomited when I thought about eating that. Seriously.)
A) what is this doing in a cookbook, B) why are the dancers on ladders?

Peanut Butter And Bacon Sandwiches
(I know you're reading that and thinking "damn, that sounds awesome!" but trust me, it gets worse)

2 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp mayonnaise (yeah, I told you it gets worse)
1 tbsp finely chopped sweet pickles
4 lettuce leaves
Freshly ground pepper
8 slices buttered rye bread

Combine bacon, peanut butter, mayonnaise, pickle and pepper to taste (to taste what? Satan's anus?). Spread filling on 4 slices of bread, top with a lettuce leaf, and then remaining slices. Makes 4 sandwiches (meaning you can get 4 meals out of this recipe, since if you're eating this you obviously have no friends or family).
Yeah, your chili looks delicious, but get your damn boot off the table. That's disgusting dude.

Orange Flip

1 orange, peeled and sectioned
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
pinch of sugar

Place all in a blender and blend until combined. Serves 2-3. (dear god, why would you want to drink a raw egg unless you are training to fight Apollo Creed?)

Queen of Puddings
(I included this one not because it sounds inherently disgusting, but because of the odd title. I didn't realize puddings had a monarchic system of governance.)

2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups soft white breadcrumbs
3 eggs
3 tbsp raspberry or other berry jam

Heat milk just to boiling point and stir in butter, lemon rind, and 2 tbsp of the sugar. Pour this over the breadcrumbs and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Separate the eggs, beat yolks, and stir into breadcrumb mixture. Spoon into a greased 4-5 cup casserole or individual ovenproof dishes, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-30 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and spread jam over top of pudding. Whip egg whites until they hold firm peaks, beat in the remaining sugar little by little to form a stiff, glossy meringue. Spread the meringue over pudding, swirling it into peaks on top. Return to over for 10 minutes, or until tipped with gold. Serve warm or cold, plain or with cream. Serves 4-6.

The King of Puddings approves of this recipe.
I'll leave you to your now undoubtedly watering mouth. If you want to pick up the Texas the Beautiful Cookbook, its current incarnation is available at Amazon.com here.


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