Weekly Winner: Gussying up Garbage Meal

IMG_0747It’s a fact that things you grow up eating become comfort food as an adult.  But as we age, we find that sometimes our taste buds crave a more sophisticated, “adult” version of comfort food.  Take, for example mac and cheese.  No longer does the boxed stuff that I loved as a kid satisfy.  I need real cheese, “adult” cheese …. cheese with substance.  Cheese made out of, well ….. cheese!  But I digress.  Mac and cheese has nothing to do with this week’s winner.

This Sunday evening I found myself in the house by myself.  Dinner was going to be all mine.  The world was my oyster!  What did I want?  The possibilities were endless!!

Suddenly my thoughts turned to one of my favorite childhood dinners.  Garbage Meal.  Now I realize my mother is not going to be happy with this.  My mother is a fine cook.  While we were growing up she made lovely, well-thought-out dinners.  Meat, vegetable, some sort of starch.  All balanced and well-conceived.  However, when occasionally she was at a loss as to what to make, or schedules got crazy and nothing was put out to thaw she turned to “Garbage Meal”, and I was always very happy.

The original Garbage Meal consisted of:  hot dogs, bacon, onions, mushrooms and potatoes.  So does my version.  The difference lies solely with the time expended to make it and the ingredients found on hand.  Growing up it was always Oscar Meyer hot dogs, leftover boiled potatoes (I come from German heritage — there was almost always boiled potatoes) and usually (but not always) canned mushrooms.  If fresh were on hand (as they were at times) those were used.  Basically it is a grand “fry up” of a meal — put everything in a skillet, fry it us and et voila! Garbage Meal.

So on Sunday I took stock of what I had on hand:

House-smoked bacon from my favorite butcher

Hand-crafted hot dogs from my favorite butcher

One Yukon Gold potato


Porcini mushrooms from the Farmers’ Market

Oh, this was going to be good!  First step was to cube up the potato and roast it in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through.  Then the bacon – 2 thick slices fried up and removed and chopped up.  Then into the bacon fat went the sliced shallots, sliced hot dogs, sliced porcini and roasted potato.  When all of that got nice and golden, then the bacon went back in.

I settled into my favorite armchair with my plate and a nice glass of Malbec and was very, very happy.  Apparently sometimes it is good to grow up!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. yourothermotherhere
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 19:23:15

    This reminds me of a conglomeration my mom used to make when we were very young. It was mashed potatoes, onions, hamburger and corn all fried up together in a big cast iron skillet. My brothers would pound it out flat on their plates then make roads through it. And for some reason, we always dumped ketchup on it. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll have to make some soon. Definitely comfort food!


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