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I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What's That Unusual Smell?

While spending time with my mother yesterday, looking at photo’s and reminiscing, my mother recalled a funny story. My mother also felt that it would be a great story to post on my blog……so here goes:

Almost 20 years ago at a family picnic where each person brought a dish to pass, my mother decided to make what she called her;” Garbage Macaroni”. Not the most enticing name for something that one would put in their mouth but despite the name it was always a big draw with family and friends. I think it should have just been called everything but the kitchen sink macaroni because she literally put in just about everything she had on hand into it. When finished this thing weighed a ton, my mother had to put it in one of those big foil turkey roaster pans. This macaroni contained all kinds of assorted meats, vegetables, seasonings not to mention a variety of cheeses, it really was delicious. You actually do not need anything else when serving this dish; it already has your meat, your veggie and your starch.
Now to the funny part, when the picnic ended and everyone was taking their care packages home my mother still had almost half a pan of her garbage macaroni left.
Since I was going through some lean times she asked if I would like to take the rest of it home, I immediately replied yes. This would have given me about a weeks worth of meals which would have helped me greatly, so my mother said good and proceeded to wrap it up for me. Due to its size and a shortage of saran wrap or foil my mother decided to tie it up in a garbage bag, I didn’t have far to go and I could repackage it when I got home. I was so excited when I got home, I got out my plastic containers and lined them up on the counter but as I started to remove the pan of macaroni from the garbage bag I smelled something oddly familiar. It smelled just like lemon dishwashing liquid the only problem was is that I didn’t use lemon scented dishwashing liquid. I stirred the macaroni and sniffed again and it still smelled, then I tasted it and it even tasted like some bad lemony something. I called my mother and said I don’t know what happened but there is no way I can use this macaroni as much as it kills me I am going to have to throw it all away. My mother couldn’t understand how that could have happened until she cleared out her bag from the picnic and pulled out the box of Lemon Potpourri Scented Garbage Bags……..giving her Garbage Macaroni a whole new meaning!

Harriet’s Garbage Macaroni (Ingredients and amounts can vary, depending on how many you are serving and what you have on hand).

1 lb. Italian sweet sausage (turkey sausage works great)
1/2 pound of sliced or chopped pepperoni, optional
1 pound of hamburger, optional
(Cubed up cooked ham also works nicely in this)
1 cup of ricotta cheese, optional (if using, just smear a little between layers)
3 green peppers, chopped2 onions, chopped
2 Large cloves of garlic, chopped1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce2 cups of water2 pounds of macaroni (any)
12 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese
12 oz. of cheddar1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of grated Romano

Remove sausage from casings and crumble. In large deep skillet or dutch oven, fry sausage until crumbly and (hamburger if using). Add green peppers, onions and garlic sauté for 5 minutes, do not drain. Stir in tomatoes, paste, sauce and water; simmer stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain. Cover bottom of deep roasting or lasagna pan (foil turkey roasting pan works great) with sauce. Layer macaroni, sauce/meat mixture and cheeses ending with the macaroni. Pour remaining sauce over. Sprinkle Parmesan and Romano cheese over top. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and brown.

photo/courtney_clove's/flickr

22 comments:

Lina said...

cute story! haha. garbage macaroni, interesting name for a dish...

Deborah Dowd said...

So funny... but what a shame. This sounds like something my family would love, and I always like recipes that have a story!

Julie said...

It's good hearty food Deborah...just omit the lemon scented garbage bag lol.

Julie said...

Thanks Lina, I always hated that she called it garbage macaroni but once you started eating it you really didn't care what it was called.

nazarina said...

Thank you for making me feel welcome on "Foodbuzz" by adding me as a friend! I came directly over to your blog and I love the humor in the garbage tale.It takes me back to my college days when I was so poor and always eagerly accepted any type of hand out especially food LOL!!! This dish looks so hearty !

Giddy Gastronome said...

Do you make any Polish dishes?

nazarina

Julie said...

Nazarina, I make a pretty mean stuffed cabbage and some really tasty pierogie.

Giddy Gastronome said...

Thanks Julie! I shall await your pierogi post. In the meantime I shall continue to enjoy your other dishes.

nicisme said...

Ha ha! Great story! I love reminiscing with my mom. Looks like a nice dish too.

Julie said...

Thank you, Nic

Troppo Siciliana said...

Garbage macaroni sounds delish (misleading name ha!) Yum, I'm Sicilian so anything macaroni is good! Here's another tasty pasta recipe that is super yummy and has that comfort feel! http://buzz.prevention.com/salmon-and-herb-penne/

Julie said...

Troppo Siciliana,thank you for stopping by and for the recipe link.

Rochelle R. said...

This sounds great minus the lemon scent:). I have almost all of these ingredients lingering in my freezer and cupboard. I am going to try it.

Julie said...

It really is delicious Rochelle it killed me to have to throw it all away.

pixen said...

LOL...what a lovely story and yummy pictures! I also love to mixed all sorts of left over ingredients in my Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Each time my family and friends said it tasted different each time yet it's really yummy... :-D I wished such scented garbage bags available in my country. I'm dreaming of 'Durian' scented bags!

Julie said...

Thanks Pixen, too funny about the durian scented garbage bags. I've yet to try durian but I've heard that it has an odor that resembles rotting onions which I guess would be the perfect scent for a garbage bag.

Jj said...

That is a wonderful story, thanks for sharing! Good idea of your mom to post it on your blog.

Oh and that recipe looks delicious, thanks!

Julie said...

You are welcome Jj, I am glad that you enjoyed the story. We still chuckle about it to this day.

Writing As I Eat said...

This recipe sounds yummy! And I love your description of how it got it's name!

One of my best cooking contest buddies lives in Rochester! Sounds like a great place to be a foodie. I have to get up there someday soon!

:-)

Julie said...

Thank you, Writing as I Eat. Rochester is a melting pot of food and culture.

Corinne said...

Oh no! What an awful thing... it's too bad she didn't find the bags before you threw it away... I hate wasting food.

Julie said...

Thanks for stopping by, Corinne.