(Thwonk-thwonk-thwonk of a knife chopping vegetables)
And if you’re getting out the flour, be sure to put on an apron.
(Beep) Unintelligible language followed by “I enjoy watching the wolf and the snake.”
Now keep adding it into the yeast mixture until it’s too stiff to use a spoon, then dump it onto the counter.
(The the sizzle of gently frying onions and celery.)
(Beep) unintelligible language, responded by Do you like the ceiling?
(a tinny voice from the mobile phone) you mean like this?
(The voice of Lyse Doucet from the TV in the next room assures us that the news is terrible, because she is always at the front line of any fresh disaster.)
Yes – work it until the dough all clings together. Kneading is the fun part of the process.
The growl of crushing cornflakes.
(Beep) Unintelligible language, followed by Do you want a goat?
Every kitchen has its own sounds when it’s meal-prep time. I was only half listening to the routine noises around me as I made a casserole – California daughter, blissfully in our kitchen here in England – was learning Welsh by Duolingo, meanwhile teaching her daughter back home how to make bread via WhatsApp. I was halfway through the diced cheese when I realized that something beautifully momentous was taking place, right here, among the extremely ordinary food making sounds. I almost missed its importance, but I of all people should have been aware of the beautiful door of potential now opening for my grand daughter, and for me. Right here in our kitchen a third generation of bread makers was being born. As I slid the casserole into the oven I said a silent prayer of thanks. The dynasty was continuing.
Celery and Ham Casserole
This is the casserole I was making while the life-changing miracle took place around me. The original recipe comes from the sexist Betty Crocker’s Working Woman’s Cookbook (1982) . I made a few tweaks and additions. It’s is begging to be tweaked again, so go for it!
Ingredients: onion, flaked almonds, butter/marg/oil, a tin of condensed chicken/mushroom soup, milk, cooked smoked ham, celery (of course), apple, pear, cheese, dried dill.
Oven – moderate, around 350F or so.
Shave and chop three juicy stalks of celery. Finely chop an onion. Melt two tablespoons butter/marg/or oil in a pan and fry gently until soft but not browned. In a lightly greased casserole dish, empty out a tin of condensed chicken or mushroom soup. * Add half a tin of milk. Mix well. Deposit 2 – 3 cups of cut-up fully cooked smoked ham, and about a cup of cubed cheese. Stir in the sauteed vegetables, a peeled, cored, and diced apple, and pear also peeled, cored and diced. Mix well.
When you’re ready to bake, crush 3 cups cornflakes, and add ½ cup flaked almonds. Pour over these 2 tablespoons melted butter/marg/oil and 1/2 teaspoon dried dill. Mix and use as a topping for the casserole.
Bake 50 minutes.
*For the condensed soup, substitute a white sauce made with 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons butter/oil/marg, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp. powdered mustard, ½ tsp paprika, and enough milk to make a thick sauce. Stir while it cooks.
Tweaks: curry powder?? Sliced water chestnuts?? Turn it into a Vegan dish or a fish dish – how?? What else? Add your thoughts to the Comments section of the blog, for all to see and experiment. THANK YOU, lovely cooks!