Cold War Cuisine

Every day there seems to be a new dietary movement. Just when I grasped what veganism  was the cult shifted to being localvores. Then there was freeganism. Of all the -isms, that one might be the closest to my value system. After all, free food is my favorite type of food.

Today I read this humorous explanation of the latest diets and their differences.

As part of my Sunday ritual, I went to mass this morning.

Bachelor Tip: The more you go, the less the Holy water burns.

There is a Mariano’s near my church, which allows me to kill two birds with one stone (possibly a bible reference). I’m not sure if it’s the monochromatic uniform of the employees that reminds me of Pleasantville (a film I haven’t seen) or the piano man playing tunes while I do laps around the store. Nevertheless, time is irrelevant once I enter the sliding doors. Shopping on Sunday sets me up for the week. In my years on this earth I’ve mastered the art of buying a week’s worth of food. I go through milk and bread in one week. If one of these cycles gets off a few days I fear for the consequences.

I loaded up on meat and was unable to find wonton wrappers to make ravioli. The cooking show (The Kitchen) that gave this tip made it seem like there was an entire freezer case of wonton wrappers. If you take one thing from this post, it’s that wonton wrappers, nor any ingredient from a TV show or cooking magazine, is readily available. Blasphemers!

Without the wrappers, my plan of ravioli was shot. Onto plan b.

I ended up taking a stab at my favorite dish. One that I’ve never made. Beef Stroganoff.

While all the rage is paleo, local, and/or food you found on your nature walk, this meal is the poster child for Cold War Cuisine. Almost all the recipes called for nearly a stick of butter. I’m not a nutritionist, but I’m confident that while that amount of butter may please Paula Deen, it won’t please your physician (or cardiologist if you’re older than 60).

But for a Sunday night supper an occasional indulgence won’t kill you. Or maybe it will.

I’ve had several variations of strogo in my lifetime. Some are the more time-intensive preparations. Others utilized a slow cooker and condensed soup. Both are good, but my preference is for the real deal.

To the kitchen!

beef, paleo, stroganoff, allrecipes, recipe, dinner

For my first attempt, the result wasn’t bad. Here’s a link to the one I made tonight from It wasn’t nearly as good as my grandma’s. So I had only one option tonight: call my gram and get the scoop.

Here are her tips:

  1. Cut the meat very thin, about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick
  2. Pound the meat to tenderize it.
  3. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Then dredge the beef.
  4. Melt butter over medium/low heat in your pan, then soften 1 big onion (diced). After cooking for 4-5 minutes, transfer the softened, translucent onion to a bowl.
  5. Add more butter to your pan and brown the steak. After the steak is browned on all sides, transfer to the bowl with your onions. Add a bit of wine or water to deglaze your pan.
  6. Add a can of cream of chicken soup and some water. The recipe called for beef stock. This didn’t add a ton of flavor to the dish.
  7. Slice button mushrooms and add to the pot.
  8. You have to cook it for at least 90 minutes.
  9. Finish the dish with sour cream.

Before contacting my grandma, I was texting my friend who is Russian. I like to crowdsource cooking advice.

A Russian Mother’s Tip: Marinating meat in sour cream will aid in tenderizing the steak.

After a meal this rich, I think I’ll have to start on a minimalist diet tomorrow. Any recommendations?


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