Monday, March 30, 2009

Cooking like it's 1972.

Photo by Patrick Q.

I've been trying to be better about cooking.  I don't really like to cook because there is just too much guesswork involved, even when following a recipe.  Baking is what I've always preferred.  I love mixing up stuff in my pink Kitchen-aid and then putting it into the oven and waiting for it to be done.  

Cooking is too involved.  I don't like keeping an eye on things because that never seems to work out for me and inevitably something is overcooked.  Alex refers to the first (and one of only a few) breakfast I cooked for him as "eggs with bacon and toast shards."  

But even though I dislike cooking, I realize that Alex cannot cook every night, we cannot eat out every night, and cereal doesn't necessarily count as prepping dinner.  My grandmother cooked amazing Mexican food and always knew exactly how much of this and that and never followed a recipe.  My mom learned that from her and so we never really had a recipe collection to follow. 

Alex's mom, on the other hand, did use recipes and she recently gave him one of her favorite cookbooks, a vintage Betty Crocker cookbook.  The recipes in it are so 1970s and so are the pictures.  You can make all sorts of red meat based dishes, fondues, and every baked good lists shortening as its first ingredient. 

One of my favorite recipes to cook (or for Alex to cook for us) is Tuna-Noodle Casserole.  A very easy, low-maintenance dish that is so good.   

Here's the recipe as published in our 1972 version of Betty Crocker's Cookbook:

A deluxe dish for family or feting.

8 ounces noodles
2 cans (7 ounces each) tuna, well drained
1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream (12 ounces)
3/4 cup milk
1 can (3 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 350.  Cook noodles.  Return drained noodles to kettle; stir in tuna, sour cream, milk, mushrooms, salt and pepper.  Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole.
Mix bread crumbs, cheese and butter; sprinkle over casserole.  If desired, sprinkle paprika over breadcrumb mixture.  Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.

6 to 8 servings.


  1. I know how you feel about cooking. I love cooking, but I'm always stressed out during the process thinking that I'm not putting enough of this or that. Baking all the way!

    FONDUE! Scott's mom gave me a fondue pot for Christmas. We will fondue with a recipe from that book one day.

  2. ACK! The family recipe is no longer secure.