Nom nom nom
A few years into university I discovered, much to my surprise, that I loved cooking. Jim and his mother inspired me to turn my love of consuming delicious food into a deep appreciation for the love you can show family and friends via the preparation of an awesome meal.
Although my own family had ceased eating together years before, it turns out that I'd internalized more of those beloved meals than I'd ever have guessed. I picked up some new favorites, not to mention technical skills, from Jim's family via constant kitchen osmosis. Cook's Illustrated won me over with their nerdy, lab report style, recipes. As blogs became more and more A Thing, I found several that nailed my particular tastes time and time again. And over time, I learned that I can make up a mean pasta, soup, hash, or casserole using just my brain and whatever is in our CSA box.
Jeff and I bonded for years over weekly, then near-daily cooking sessions. I can't handle touching dry goods like flour, but it turns out he likes to bake; he doesn't particularly like having to think up meals, but enthusiastically pitches in on whatever I come up with. We perfected a pair dance in the kitchen, only to have to figure out all over again how to cook solo when our son was born and we needed to make sure he didn't combust. We can't wait to teach him how to cook with us.
The kitchen is the heart and soul of our house.
Bologna Slop: the Barrick/Churchill family favorite
Original recipe courtesy of my late Grandmama Marilyn, name courtesy my dearly departed Grandpa Chuck, and contents adapted over the years to our tastes. Bologna slop never fails to freak other people out, but it's basically just chili made with fried bologna instead of ground beef. It's unusual in our repertoire in that it requires essentially zero fresh ingredients, but that makes it perfect for Jeff to easily throw together to comfort me if I've had an awful day.
- 1 lb beef bologna chopped in 1" pieces
- 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 medium-large can diced green chiles
- 1 small can diced jalapeños
- Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Fry bologna in deep 12" skillet, with chili powder, until browned (best to do in batches)
- Pour off ~1/2 the liquid in the tomatoes, then add remaining liquid and tomatoes to skillet along with chiles and jalapenos
- Use large spoon to break tomatoes into quarters
- Shake in plenty more chili powder and the cumin
- Stir well
- Cover partially and simmer for as long as you can stand, stirring occasionally
- Can be eaten as soon as everything's heated through and the liquid is reduced to your liking, but the longer it simmers, the better it will be (it is also one of those things that nearly tastes better as leftovers)
- Serving with buttered whole wheat sandwich bread is family tradition (after all these years, we still refer to this bread as "Roman Meal" even though that brand hasn't actually been available for who knows how long)
- This single batch as written makes enough for 2 adults with a lunch left over, or 2 adults and a ravenous baby without much left over; as the wee one becomes less wee, we'll probably move to the double batch that I grew up with
- If making for people sensitive to spice, skip the jalapeños; my mother used to cut hers with ketchup, too, and my father used to sometimes add a pinch of sugar before simmering
- I have great nostalgia for the thick-cut bologna you could find when I was a kid; the normal stuff available now is acceptable, but is easier to burn when frying due to its thinness