It’s been a while, and I have missed this. I’m not going to commit to it on a weekly programme again, sadly, those days of time and fun have passed into the night with the advent of career and kids needing my time on the weekends. However, I’m pleased and proud to present a simple, tasty meal from a highly unexpected source, and a darn good read that fits the meal well.
Widowmakers is set in WWII, which always makes me a happy reader, and it’s fantasy, but not so fantastic you won’t get into the details of airplanes and bored soldiers doing what they have done since time immemorial. The First Reader enjoyed this book as well, and wanted to know if there are more (not yet?). If you want gremlins, tanks, planes, and a rogue group of rough and ready men sent to do the impossible, pick up the book! Also, it’s very reasonably priced and in KU.
When I talked to Roberts (I can’t call him William. It’s far too formal for him. Roberts is more natural to me in this setting for some reason) about his idea for a meal to go with the book, he initially suggested I not cook at all. Just buy a chili mac MRE!
Heh. Well, I did that. And then I found the USMC mess recipe for chili mac. As I commented to my First Reader, and to Roberts, I have eaten MREs, and even C-rats, although I never served. But years in the CAP and being a military brat open you up to some, ah, odd experiences. C-rat fruitcake in a tin was pretty darn good, as I recall through the mists of time. Crackers in MREs? Could be used as e-tools in emergency. But I digress. I was dubious about the edibility of the chili mac. That, and for some reason I got it into my head that there would be cheese involved.
This is a muchly-scaled down recipe, and abnormally for me, I stayed fairly close to the recipe I’d found, trying to capture that something remembered by the GI in my house, at least. His assessment? “About right,” added salt. “Yep, that’s it.”
I was asking the First Reader about plating. He looked at me funny. “Well, in the mess you get these divided trays…” Not what I meant. Besides, I haven’t got those and am not inclined to acquire them for a recipe, even though, yes, I have bought stuff for presentation in the past! Now, what did you get with it? I wanted to serve it with some grated cheese, a little sour cream, maybe salsa… “You got it plain. No GI ever got all that stuff.”
So I photographed his bowl, and mine. Then he put all that stuff on his and ate it, because it’s good that way. This made a very nice, filling meal and it’s definitely comfort food. The Johnny Chapman sorghum hard cider paired very nicely with it, having a tart bite to cut through the spice and richness of the meal. I wound up not opening the MRE. It’s stashed in the pantry. I’m not sure what to do with it! The Little Man will probably claim it for camping, actually. They work well for trail food, it’s what they were designed for, after all.