Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Dogg Is Home (p.47)

Childhood Day (patent pending) continues here at the Scribe & Mouse with a variation on another favorite from my youth - The Dogg Is Home, presented by Ray. Ray has a nephew (called, appropriately, Little Nephew- actual name Charley Smuckles) who is really into gangsta rap and is currently living in 17th Century Wales after having been shot by a blunderbuss at Roast Beef's wedding (I'm telling you, this comic is fantastic. How does a sentence like that not make you want to read it?). Anyway, Ray says in the recipe that he likes to make this for Little Nephew when he's been outside playing in the cold and that it's a "perfect dish for a little boy who is becoming a man." Not only do I find that line hilarious, it seems to fit me to a tee (no, not really), so let's get making this thing!
What kid doesn't love hot dog coins cut up into their macaroni and cheese? It's a classic, middle class kid dish (probably lower class, too...hell, why shouldn't rich kids enjoy it? There's nothing not to like!). This recipe goes a step further by adding in bacon and peas. I was apprehensive about the peas. When I was growing up, peas were pretty much the only food I wouldn't eat. That distaste carried over well into adulthood, and only recently have I started exploring the pea as an option for eating, and not just princess-sussing. Thankfully, the little frozen pellets (don't worry, they thaw and cook in the dish) were pretty much flavorless in the context of the dish. Crisis averted. The bacon, on the other hand, was a genius addition. This should go without saying; bacon pretty much makes everything better. That smoky, salty, cured meat made a simple dish feel classier than it actually was.

And now, a sidebar on turkey bacon. When I cook bacon, I expect to have enough grease left in the pan to cook some eggs or something. I used my non-stick skillet, since I didn't feel like getting out the fancy stuff to make a childhood dish, and the bacon still stuck quite a bit. When I finished, the pan was bone dry. Now, the flavor was still pretty good, but I have a hard time really referring to turkey bacon as true bacon. That is all. End sidebar.

This recipe concedes the fact that most of the cooking instructions for it are printed on the box of macaroni and cheese. I appreciated the candor. However, as you may have noticed in the picture, we opted not to buy the standard Kraft blue box of mac and cheese. We went with Velveeta (still a brand name, kids, it's ok) shells and cheese. I could say I did this because I am a grown up and don't need my food to be shaped like Spongebob, or that I prefer the convenience of a bag of pre-made cheese-like substance to a powdery mix to which I have to add milk and margarine. Both of those are true, but the real reason is that I grabbed the Kraft, noticed that it called for the margarine, realized I didn't have any at home, and didn't feel like going back a few aisles at the store to pick some up. Laziness informed this decision, and I'm not going to apologize for that.

The recipe instructs you, once the meal is done, to pour it into a casserole dish, cover it with foil, and put it in a turned off oven. Then, when people come over, you can take it out and pretend like you made something fancy. Well, it was just Melissa and I last night, and we sure don't stand on ceremony. Straight from the pot and into our bowls it went. We probably make shells and cheese as a "man, I don't feel like cooking" recipe more often than I care to admit. The simple addition of a couple of meats made me feel more like I was eating a real meal than when we just have the Velveeta-y pasta, and I was less embarrassed by it. We both agreed that it was a pretty satisfying "comfort food" type meal. We might have to keep hot dogs and bacon on hand for next time we need that easy Shells and Cheese fix.


1 comment:

  1. While I may have used hot dogs a time or two in your mac & cheese, I'm pretty sure I usually used tuna. And lord knows, I knew better than to add PEAS! Can't believe you did!