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Don't you just hate it when you come down with a cold so nasty that you want to just lay in bed for days on end? Your head is throbbing, your nose is flowing, and you're hacking up random green monsters. The last thing you want to do is cook dinner, right?
On Friday evening, after retiring to bed around 1 PM, I actually gathered up the strength to throw together a meal for my family. Admirable, huh? A few weeks prior, I had made a version of Beef Stroganoff that my friend Hampton had shared with me. According to my recollection, it was a fairly simple recipe to make, and the whole family apparently enjoyed it.
Now, I don't know if I remembered the recipe incorrectly, or if it was the substitution for ground turkey instead of ground beef, or if it was the cooking time, or what. I don't really know where I went wrong. But, when the meal was finished, the product closely resembled cat puke. Yes, really. It was a gray, chunky mess. Not quite runny, but definitely moist. The best part was that I served it up over egg noodles, which make everything better. So, we had cat puke on noodles. Yum-o.
The worst part of the meal was that I felt so poor I didn't even notice. My husband didn't say much about this dish, other than making an interesting little squeak when I told him, in a proud sort-of way, that I had added A-1 this time. A-1! That makes everything taste delicious! Except, maybe, things resembling cat vomit. But, I still didn't get it. I put lots of salt and pepper on my meal, after remembering that I had forgotten to season, and ate it up. My daughter poked at hers. My husband looked a little green. But, it was good. I had fixed a lovely meal, despite the rivers of neon slime running from my nose.
The next morning, I got up after a pretty decent night's sleep. What did I find on the stove? Definitely not the gourmet home meal that I envisioned myself preparing in the midst of illness. Nope, I found a frying pan full of cat puke, and we don't have a cat. You know how most things, if left out overnight, will get crusty and stick to the pan? Not this. Though the top looked funky and a little dried out, the bottom was just as moist as the day it was hacked up. All I had to do was tilt the pan over the trashcan and, plop! Out it slid, leaving a gooey, gray trail in its path. That's when I first realized that the lovely meal I created looked more like something the cat coughed up on her deathbed. Slimy, chunky, gray vomit. Oh, the memories.
Later in the day, I apologized to John for feeding him the mess. "That's okay," he said. "It was more like gruel." Gruel! Oh dear. Gruel. Well, that's only slightly less flattering than cake puke. Gruel is the food of old ladies and ogres. Maybe a prisoner or two. My poor family. I fed them gruel.
Wouldn't you know, at 4:30 that afternoon, John was kindly in the kitchen preparing dinner. I guess he didn't want to chance it. We ate macaroni and cheese and corn dogs that night. After the previous evening's meal, it felt like we were in a five-star restaurant in the city. Nitrates on a stick... yummy.
One can of cream of mushroom soup
2/3 pound of ground turkey
A shot of A-1 sauce
Brown ground turkey. Add canned soup and A-1, stir. Cook over low heat until you get bored. Serve over cooked egg noodles. Pinch nose while eating.
**This is not the recipe that Hampton shared with me. It is, however, my sickie-recollection of it.