Freepers: Poisoning Our Troops

Everybody go hotel, Ro-tel, Holiday Inn…

Don’t tell anyone yet, but awhile back, we contributed a couple of recipes to an e-book that Kathy over here is doing to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Because really, doctors shouldn’t have to rent rooms in their houses to help make ends meet — it’s just a good cause.

And a question keeps coming up that I don’t know the answer to — it’s a real question and possibly hints at a Greater Truth behind the shadow-screen of politics and the everyday discourse that attends on it. It first came up here, with Amber Pawlik’s heart-sinking ghastronomy — her emetic ranch-dressing-and-Miracle-Whip pizza recipe, and the other horrors that she apparently makes and endangers her loved ones with.

So, why do wingnuts eat such terrible food? And does it make them bad people, or is it because they’re bad people? Michael Bérubé raises an important point when he says that such questions needn’t be either/or — that it’s possible, for instance, for the capering, blustering David Horowitz to be both stupid and dishonest. So it’s possible that Amber Pawlik loves nothing in this life but dairy fats, and also snickers into her hand when her boyfriends writhe on the bathroom floor in a spreading brown puddle. Who knows; not me.

SZ200_Ranch Dressing.jpg
Image via

But look what they’re doing now at the Freeper Canteen. Here’s what the Freeper Canteen is:

Showing support and boosting the morale of our military and our allies military and the family members of the above. Honoring those who have served before.

That’s right – the Canteen mission
Support the troops and all they do
They’ve given up so much
All for me and you

There are so many here
Who keep the aim sure and true
They support the troops
And have lots of fun too

We dance and play
And spin on our toes
A turn of phrase
A joke or some prose

All for the troops
Who visit and bask
Looking for a friend
A break from their task

And so on. It’s where they dance and spin and play with their toes, and it’s all about supporting the troops in that vague and meaningless way that the WingNet loves so well (= not body armor drives, but lots of postings of animated .gifs with flags and eagles and large buildings hit by airliners). And notably lacking in this gigantic daily message board is evidence of troops visiting. But hey. This time it’s a recipe contest. And have you ever went over a friend’s house to eat, and the food just aint no good? I mean, the macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mush, and the chicken it tastes like wood…

Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can Ro-Tel
1 package taco seasoning
1 package ranch dressing
4 cups water

1. Brown ground beef with onion; drain.
2. Drain pintos, kidneys, corn. Add to meat.
3. Drain tomatoes, Ro-Tel; add to meat. Add dry mixes.
4. Add water.
5. Simmer.

It’s the ranch dressing that seems to make this recipe so good. I’m making this tomorrow when I get home. It cooks up fast if you want it; it’s also ideal for a crockpot meal. Dump everything in and leave it on low all day!
20 posted on 02/15/2006 6:57:24 PM PST by Xenalyte (Can you count, suckas? I say the future is ours . . . if you can count.)
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What is it with wingnuts and packaged ranch dressing? They dump it in everything. But here’s the crux.

It cooks up fast if you want it; it’s also ideal for a crockpot meal.

It’s ideal for a crackpot meal. ‘Taco soup’ comes from a mindset where everything that tastes Mexican is basically ‘a taco,’ while everything that tastes Italian is basically ‘pizza.’ Tomato soup with oregano — ‘pizza soup.’ It makes sense if you’re a Freeper and the world is a small, simple place full of flags and eagles and exploding buildings and skulking liberals and such, and no joke: The provincial grocery stores in America are full of processed ‘pizza-flavor’ dongles made for people with a genuine weakness toward the theory that Italy is a country fed by portly men in chef’s hats spinning dough in the air while twiddling their little mustaches and exclaiming, “Mama mia” — and who also don’t fully understand that there’s a cross-platform thing called marinara sauce (as in, there’s a scientific name for it).

Same thing with Mexico and tacos. And what this recipe is, basically, is chili with extra water added to make it watery, plus the magic ingredient of packaged ranch dressing. They should just cook up the ranch dressing in a spoon and mainline it; there wouldn’t be all these extra steps. But wait, it’s a bitch-fight, and here’s the snapper:

To: Xenalyte

I have a recipe that is close to this that we just really like.

2lbs ground beef, crumbled and browned
2 cans Original Ranch style Beans
2 cans Campbells Minestrone Soup
2 cans Rotel
1 can Chicken Broth

dump it all in,,uuummmmmmmmmmmm:)


574 posted on 02/16/2006 5:59:28 AM PST by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain (Never under estimate the power of stupid people in a large group:)
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Oh, snap! She uses two pounds of ground beef. That’s double the pounds of ground beef right there. I wonder if there’s a way to top even this recipe…? Wait, THREE pounds of ground beef; I’ll get to work on that immediately. But notice the Ro-Tel again — that’s a canned tomato-pepper thing that’s made of tacos (because it’s ‘Mexican’) — and also note the simple Christian faith in believing that opening a bunch of cans of stuff and mixing it together equals cooking.

“So you say, ‘that’s it; I got to leave this place;
I dont care what these people think,
I’m just sittin’ here makin myself nauseous,
With this ugly food that stinks.’
So you bust out the door while it’s still closed,
Still sick from the food you ate,
And then you run to the store for quick relief,
From a bottle of Ka-o-pectate…”

I want to interject here that the recipes we sent to Kathy were super-simple and inexpensive, and each demands less than 15 minutes of time, total. We’re not all like, shaving frickin’ truffles here or anything — you just start with good ingredients and treat them well, and good food results. But there’s the Freeper dinner bell again, and that means more Ro-Tel, ‘ranch-style’ things, and Cream-of-X soups:


Awesome MS.B! Love to share some recipes, and here’s a favorite!


1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 pt. sour cream
2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 c. cooked chicken
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
12 corn tortillas, cut into sm. pieces
1 can chicken broth

Soak tortilla pieces in chicken broth. Combine mushroom soup, chicken soup, Rotel tomatoes, cooked chicken, onion and green pepper. In large baking dish layer soup mixture, tortillas, sour cream, and cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6.

To: laurenmarlowe

Thank you Lauren!
(and a *HUG*)

49 posted on 02/15/2006 7:08:26 PM PST by MS.BEHAVIN (Women who behave rarely make history)
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Right, just dump it all in there. There are actual fresh vegetables in this one, and soaking the tortilla pieces pretty much counts as ‘prep’ (along with actually chopping the onion and green pepper), so it at least waves in the general direction of cooking. This next one is never going to make it because even though it follows the rule of blopping stuff together, it doesn’t have nearly enough ground beef:


Fry 1 1/2lbs lean ground beef w/garlic salt, chilli powder, then drain
Use large pot, add several cans tomato sauce and tomato juice to thin it (like it not too thick)
Add sliced mushrooms, more chillipowder
Add browned ground beef, cook for a while longer
Boil spagetti, mix it all together

Add parmesan cheese on finished product. Eat it with tortilas or garlic bread. You can add spagetti to any chilli, but I find it works better with thin sauced chilli.
113 posted on 02/15/2006 7:34:58 PM PST by umgud (uncompassionate conservative)
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For extra deliciousness, add more ground beef, Campbell’s cream-of-mushroom soup, a layer of Tater Tots, and some hot dogs.

Chili-spaghetti hybrid: Purina Drunk Chow.

Now, this is true: My dad claims to have invented chili-mac, and he’s been proven right about so many wacky claims like that over the years that I almost believe him. Myself, I invented the Everything Bagel while working as a teenage bagel-baker in a bagel place. Somebody else probably invented it independently, but at the time, no such thing had ever been heard of in the bagel community, until one morning when I went totally wild and damn-the-torpedoes and put all the stuff at once on a batch of bagels — which debuted to a stunned and suspicious, but intrigued clientele, sometime probably in the winter of 1987. I’d like to say as a food-inventor coming from an alleged line of food-inventors that putting chili together with spaghetti is a kind of notion that seems super-excellent when you’re drunk, otherwise not so much — and maybe some people make it all the time between episodes of pounding on each other with empty liquor bottles, but elbow noodles are clearly the way to go in constructing such a thing, if that’s what you want to do. Imagine macaroni and cheese, only made with spaghetti. See? That wouldn’t be right at all, would it? It would be too spaghetti-ey. Even if you sprinkled crumbled bacon on it or whatever, gussying it up, you simply can’t blithely create chimeras like that and expect the laws of nature not to catch up with you. I mean, what’s next — taco soup?

To: umgud; mylife; SandRat

I’ve never serves pasta with chili!
Aren’t we getting great recipes, guys?

138 posted on 02/15/2006 7:45:18 PM PST by MS.BEHAVIN (Women who behave rarely make history)
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[Sound of body hitting floor, gasping sounds, spreading brown puddle on tiles.]

On the other hand, here’s Kathy’s latest: Three Mushroom Risotto.

Kathy’s risotto

Like, doesn’t that pretty much say it all right there? Or, actually, it could use some of these on top:

Freedom’s® brand Freedom-fried Onions, now with cheddar

If you want to Freep it up for company, or whatnot.


Comments: 115


What poetry:

There are so many here
Who keep the aim sure and true
They support the troops
And have lots of fun too

It seems the way Freepers cook is also the way they write: take a bunch of words that sort of might go together, and then just “dump it all in,,uuummmmmmmmmmmm:)”

Oops, have to run, my taco-flavored tacos are ready.


Is this a red state blue state thing? Maybe food additives and chemicals cause conservatism. Maybe Bushism really is just the apotheosis of white trash culture.


Chili on Spaghetti is halfway to Cincinnati style chile- watery chili with cinnamon over spaghetti.

And why don’t they just call all those things variations of Chili? Why do they try to call it “Taco Soup”-

Even though mushroom risotta doesn’t do it for me, I’d rather be smothered in it than have anything to do with all that other stuff.

Anyway, it’s all a big plan- convince them that it’s OK to post horrible disgusting recipes, then get us to call them on the grossness, then the powers that be can nails us with our “elitism”- we are screwed. Wah wah.


This is petty and ridiculous. You have obviously never been a working parent with several hungry children to feed and a limited budget to respect. Even ACTUAL Hispanic cooks use RoTel in their cooking.


First taking jabs at NASCAR, then trash talking ranch flavoring… What’s next on your hitlist – pick-up truck modification?


My mother managed to feed four ungrateful little hellions, and never had to resort to any thing quite so awful as that.

Although she did come close. The chicken-mayonaise-banana salad still stands as a prime instigator of a domestic rebellion.


Uh, yeah uppity, but the operative word here is “cooking” — an activity clearly scoffed at by our Republindependeconservatarian brothers and sisters.

I mean really, how long does it take to grill some chicken, dice it, sprinkle it over some tortilla chips with shredded cheese, pop it in the microwave for 45 seconds, and top it off with some pico de gallo?

See that? You’ve made something in less than five minutes that doesn’t look like a fetal-alcohol-afflicted descendant of Lileks’s regrettable foods…


I know several Republicans who know how to grill chicken and pour salsa on it. What is your point? That what you described is “actual” cooking… and other ways are not because Republicans might do it? I’ll be sure to divest my shares in the Campbell Soup Company based upon your expert opinion. Like I said, petty and ridiculous


but, isn’t petty and ridiculous the point?


but, isn’t petty and ridiculous the point?

Not totally.

I lived on less than $500/month for awhile, but managed to eat really well by shopping at a green-market and a Chinese grocery — and there are a number of stories that follow from that, but it would have been easy to live on canned beans and Ro-Tel and all that sort of thing, except it’s simply not that much harder to make a big pot of chili with a bunch of Roma tomatoes and some fresh Jalapeno peppers, and dried beans and whatever-else. You just do some prep, put it on the stove, and there it is. Like teh l4m3 said, real pico de gallo instead of ‘Mexican-flavor’ stuff, you know?

It’s not money or time that’s the factor, I don’t think. I don’t know what it is, really; it’s puzzling.


I think it’s a midwest thing, dumping cans of soup and such into stuff to make a meal, usually as casseroles. I’ll do that sometimes, but not all the time.

But that ranch stuff? Gotta be strictly Wingnut. Icky. *shudders*


Ah, this brings back (rather unpleasant) memories of reading my mother’s magazines–“Family Circle,” “Ladies Home Journal,” etc.–when I was growing up. Very, VERY big on the whole cream-of-whatever soup as the all purpose wonder ingredient. My mother’s theory is that this was a result of Julia Child’s attempts to bring French cuisine to the U.S.–sort of white trash cream sauce. French sauces + middle America = cream of mushroom/chicken/celery soup. (Come to think of it, reading these magazines may be the source of my mother’s longtime spice phobia.)


Oh yeah, I’ll do it too, and I certainly don’t have a horror of Midwestern food or anything (that string-bean thing with the mushroom soup and fried onions is really good sometimes).

But it’s like, you just imagine them staring in edgy bewilderment at any food that doesn’t come in a package with a brand-name — much the same as they approach politics.


But, my mom’s hamburger stroganoff which used (among many other very good and nice ingredients) a can of cream of mushroom soup, was really really yummy. Really. I agree you’re gettinga little “bash the trailer park” here – surely you can get snarky with Right wingers without sounding like Lileks castigating the great American way of life eating bland processed foods mixed a million different ways! Then again, maybe not.


Yep, I admit that I do have one of those cream-of-mushroom recipes in my repertoire, but I counter the gluey whiteness of it with plenty of Magic Garlic Mojo. By the way, have you seen the “Cover and Bake” cookbook put out by the Cook’s Illustrated people? Casseroles that are actually really good and no canned soup in sight. Proves your point, I think–not much more work, but fresh ingredients and great results.


Not really a fan of soup-based cassaroles, and thankfully my mother never used them much. Still, if you’re stuck in some backwater midwestern town working long hours because you don’t have health insurance (or, say, in Iraq) it’s a fairly cheap and easy meal to make, though the taste will be offensive to even a mildly refined palate.
Can’t fault them- though the idea that their contribution is anything but lowest denominator stuff is silly.


all that stuff is f***ing disgusting. but uppity kitty can like it, nobody is dissing- I think what it is, is that alot of these folks have 300 channels on TV and the internet and there just doesn’t seem to be any desire to learn about anything or try new things or be curious about the world. Food is just a microcosm of that conservative view that is essentially marketed to people: “don’t be sophisticated because that’s just how elites are trying to tell you how to be. tell them to eat it, cobag, while secretly we keep you in this gross Sam’s Club backwater.”


Chili on Spaghetti is halfway to Cincinnati style chile- watery chili with cinnamon over spaghetti.

Oh man! You are so dissing my hometown. Folk’s, don’t listen to this barbarian: Cincinnati-style chili is not just “watery chili with cinnamon.” True, we mix it with pasta and cheese and the like, and true, it’s not the most healthy of foods (although it can be made much healthier by using a ground-beef substitute) but it’s good eatin’.

I’d have to back uppity kitty on this: for a midwestern liberal like myself, this post does comes across a bit like “look at those stupid midwesterners and what they eat.” Which I guess is fair game for snark and all (what isn’t), but Gavin here does sound supiciously like a Brit in Pith Helmet declaring “My God man, you wouldn’t believe the things Wogs will eat!”


Hidden Valley


Damn thing ate my juvenile sniggering tags.


I have to weigh in on the side of the creme soup casserole can be pretty tasty, if you know what you’re doing. Due to a rather astonishing lack of energy (don’t really want to go into great detail, but , among other things, I’m extremely anemic), “fast” is better for me than “good.” And I mean “fast” as in “just heat it up.” That’s not to say I can’t be happy as a pig in shit dining in a five-star restaurant, and I have a fair amount, though that was mostly back in the ’80s (can no longer afford-thanx, preznit Bush!). But, I don’t tend to eat “canned”-type foods just as is–I really find it necessary to heavily spice them up, ‘cos they’re wretchedly bland. A well-stocked spice cabinet is your best friend. My most versitile weapon is a red/black pepper mixture called “Hot Shot,” which is effective at adding a bit of kick to most any non-sweet dish you can think of.


You’ve really outdone yourself this time, G. Well-played 🙂


I have to admit that now and again, I get a craving for fried bologna. Curse my redneck extended family!



I hope you don’t hit it with salt. My issue with these recipes is the fact that it is heavy on the salt and other halo-chorinated preservatives inherent in canned soup (and “Rotel”, whatever the hell that stuff is). Also it reduces the cultural food contributions of the world to bland, ranch-based foodstuffs here in America.

You can cook for cheap and good, however it takes some knowledge of our food history and some time. You can make up fine soups on the weekend and keep it in the fridge/freezer all week. Quick meals? Greens and beans. Hummus and veggies.

Of course, I am a food freak, so I spend a lot more time in the kitchen than most. But at least I have a good idea how much salt I intake on a daily basis. Does a freeper? Does he/she even know their blood level may exceed EPA standards for volitile organic compounds?


Maybe it IS a Midwestern thing…. I’m from SW Ohio and I like chili on spaghetti, I fry bologna (to the horror of my New England native wife) and I sometimes make casseroles with cream of mushroom soup. But the freeper recipes DO sound gross. And I’m not sure how I can “support the troopsâ€? by making my tuna casserole.


Splendid, simply splendid, Gavin old chap! It goes without saying that these untutored philistines probably fail to use the proper utensils during their repasts as well. No salad forks, no runcible spoons, perhaps even disposable paper napkins, pshaw! I’d as soon serve fresh greens in a nice vinaigrette on china in lieu of crystal. That’s a joke, of course, I’d be mortified to make such a blatant faux paus, bwah hah hah!

In any case, for all my fellow gourmands, allow me to share a recipe that I think will titillate your taste buds!

Sadly, No More! Taco Casserole

11 pounds ground beef
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can Mexican
Jumping beans
1 packet Taco flavored taco seasoning
5 cans Spam
20 cans Ro-Tel
5 gallons ranch dressing
1 bucket tap water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of eggplant soup
1 can cream of walrus soup
1 can cream of cream soup
1 traffic-cone sided mound of some type of ground cheese

Pour the cheese, tap water, and various beans into a standard-sized pewter cauldron. Simmer over 500 degree heat until the mixture begins to smoke. Next, reduce heat to 186 degrees Kelvin, and add Ranch dressing, 10 cans of Ro-Tel, and your cans of cream soup. Wait 5 minutes, realize your mistake, then fish out all the cans, open them, and pour their contents into the concoction. Increase heat to medium scald, stirring counterclockwise. Remove from heat, and pour into a trough, covering the surface with the raw ground beef. Keep the remaining Ro-Tel and Spam in case the neighbors come over. Oh yeah, we forgot the taco seasoning, just throw it out. Serves an infinite number of guests.


Mr. Woody, you forgot the 25-lb block of cream cheese in that recipe! A couple notes on nomenclature, it’s not “degrees Kelvin”, it’s “Kelvin”. Plus, please note that at 186K you will not need to fish out the cans, they will be on top of the solid block of your water/cheese/bean conglomerate. I never knew that reg’lar ‘mericans had access to liquid nitrogen for cryogenic cooling. Is that piped like natural gas to stoves?

…plus, you’re asking people to stir TO THE LEFT??!? Are you mad?


Those are some truly horrific recipes. I understand these recipes like I do the ones for jello-mold salad with shreds o’carrot and Cool Whip.

The ranch-o-rama It’s slightly like eating at Applebee’s, where they put a mayonnaise-y cream sauce UNDER the 4 layers of cheese on your chicken breast, and nonpotato vegetables are in short supply, and the salad is 90% iceberg lettuce—-it’s a nutritional disaster.

I think a lot of people don’t know how to balance a meal. Franks and beans, for example. There’s one whole food group for ya. Tasty, though.

My other scary lowbrow delicacies include the famed green bean casserole, broccoli casserole (broc, onion, velveeta, butter, topped with French’s French Fried), and, when I was young, the occasional fried Oscar Mayer sandwich. I do know of someone who used to slice Hostess donuts like bagels, butter ‘em up and grill them. This is in the Northeast. 😛

Here in RI, we have The New York System. It has no NY connection whatsoever. It denotes a style of weiner joint. Yes, wieners, not hot dogs. You’d have to eat one to understand. They’re tiny lil things, dirt cheap, greasy as hell, and you slather ‘em with chili sauce, mustard, chopped onion, and some celery salt and scarf down about 6 of them. You get ‘em take-out and the grease soaks through the bag, and your car stinks for a week.

I do like Ro-Tel’s tomatoes-and-chiles. I use it in food worthy of the name. My friend’s mother is from Florida and makes killer rice and beans with it (my introduction to the World of Ro-Tel).

But as much as I like ranch dressing, it has no place in my soup.

And then other times I make curry or penne bosciaiola.



Troy, NY has a handful of “wiener” joints that serve up a similar delicacy (Hot Dog Charlie’s being the most widespread), minus the celery salt. The chili sauce is the backbone of the thing, tres excellent. Was Charlie a RI transplant? Perhaps.

I love food threads.


uppity kitty, you continue to fail to get the point. If you don’t want to cook — you just want to throw something together fast — then DON’T. And if you don’t, there’s a way of “not cooking” so that you still end up with something halfway palatable. But for fuck’s sake, none of this Amber Pawlikian, calvacade of cans and Ranch Dressing halfway shit.

Seriously, are you defending pasta with chili, or what? You’d make more sense if you stood up for Bush’s UAE ports deal.


I think it must be a Midwestern thing. The wingnuts in the South can actually cook, and we don’t really go in for casseroles, relatively.


Heh. That made it sound like I was saying I’m a wingnut.

LA Confidential Pantload

The chili-spaghetti thingie is known in Cincinnati as a “three-way.” Jes sayin’


Woody: Mexican Jumping Beans: Nice touch.


I refuse to believe that here, on a blog of all places, so very few posters will defend Bachelor Chow.

(Bachelor Chow is a trademark of the supreme animated show, Futurama.)

I know how to boil. I know how to stir. I can mix cans of this with cans of that. I can even stir in seasonings!

Sure, folks with families or simply significant others pump up their cooking from my range (minimally edible) to the norm (marginally edible), which I grew up with. That’s probably why they live a few years longer than we bachelors (and, what, spinsters?) do.

But this hoity-toity, apolitical, cheffier-than-thou attitude; this I can do without. I mean, I get it from my friends, once they stop gaping in astonishment that I still live. I don’t need it from Sadly, No!

Crap food: It’s not just for bachelors anymore!


The processed food industry is a huge crock, for the most part. The food is not healthy, it’s expensive, it uses a lot of packaging and in some ways, doesn’t really save time. Since I like to cook, I find grocery shopping to be fairly straightforward – you buy variants of the same types of things and just cook them differently.

In any case, I really do believe this type of eating creates wingnuttery.

I’m not really an insufferable snob about taste (although I’m an elitist in the classic, liberal sense) but what I find really nauseating is all the gushing over these so-called recipes that anyone can read on the label of soup can.

Now…who’s got recipe for Homo Nups?

Tak, the Hideous New Girl

Women who behave rarely make history

Anybody else find it astoundingly ironic that a Freeper woman would use this as a tagline?


Cincinnati 3-way chili….mmmmm!!

And Ro-tel is just canned tomatoes with peppers. Nothing scarey.

I think the issue here is what you call “cooking” and what is worth sharing with others as a recipe contribution. Yeah, I can get into a quick weekday meal where I dump a buncha cans of stuff in with some ground beef (although never has a can of Campbell’s creamed anything graced my stove). But would I proudly post it as my Special Recipe? Hardly, any more than I would post my Special Recipe for peanut-butter sandwiches.

Fresh ingredients, making real sauces for the bases of dishes (bechamel, NOT Cream Of Mushroom soup in a can!) honest seasonings, NOT packets of spice mix with lots of nitrates and salt, emuslifying quality vinegars and oils, NOT shaking up bottles of corn-starch-thickened crap — that’s a Special Recipe.

I’d like to learn from a good cook things like how they make their pastry flaky from real flour and butter, not their “secret” of using packaged biscuit dough.



Amber’s reverse-peristaltic pizza is 7/8ths polysorbates, hydroxytoluenes, propolyne glycol, calcium sorbate, and a host of other -enes and -ates. That’s what she’s after, not butterfat, which is nature’s perfect food.

Ranch dressing loaded with preservatives and stablizers and thickeners and emulsifiers doesn’t taste the same as ranch dressing made from scratch. If you eat mostly convenience food, you develop a taste for, and crave, those chemical flavors.

So if your family doesn’t particularly like simpler from-scratch food and would really rather eat something that’s far less trouble — why bother?


I don’t see the horror in chili with pasta. I just don’t (and it’s not because one night, in a fit of madness, I made it and LIKED IT!). Just from a culinary standpoint, it’s not that different than a rich, spicy bolognese sauce or wild boar ragu.

And a dash of cinnamon in any chili dish is great. It adds a layer of complexity to what is, in many ways, the American Mole (MOL-lay, if done right). Yummm.

But Gavin’s point about the myth of convenience, affordability and speed is well taken.

And that ‘pizza’ Amber came out with is quite possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard of, save for the hamburger they serve at some North Carolina restaurant that’s a half pound of beef, with bacon and cheese mounted between a Krispy Kreme donut.


Man- Liquid Nitrogen cooking- that takes me back- You can make a really great ice cream using an uncooked custard base and some of that. Builds good upper body strength too (got to keep stirring as you pour the LN in).

And geez- I’m a lazy bastard myself, and there’s tons of things you can make with about as little effort as these recipes- actual, real chili is so simple as to make me scratch my head about these being time savers (although there’s really little wrong with some canned vegetables- in fact, unless you’re using raw tomatoes for a salad, or want the aesthetic effect of a nice tomato slice on a baked or roasted dish, there’s really no reason to just buy some decent quality canned whole ones- They’re going to cook apart anyway, and the flavor rarely changes unless they’re really bad)


“Imagine macaroni and cheese, only made with spaghetti. ”

Once, when I was poor, I topped spaghetti with grated Velveeta. It was vile. Now, spaghetti with ketchup – that’s some good eating!


Women who behave rarely make history

Anybody else find it astoundingly ironic that a Freeper woman would use this as a tagline?

Yes (althuogh she’s probably meaning it in some different, mysterious wingnut way), but I’m not surprised that she garbled it and made it ambiguous.


…sigh. “Although,” and the second paragraph should be italicized.


500 bonus blogger points and a tip of the “heh! indeedy!” hat for quoting from the 73 hour long version of “Rappers Delight”.


The Shangri-La of spices.

You will not be able to walk down a grocery store aisle and look at the McCormick’s, Spice Island, or any of that other crap without bursting into laughter after trying any Penzey’s spice.

“Hi, my name is Cy, and I’m a spice snob…”

My work here is done. 🙂



Linked to the wrong page…Penzey’s home is here.

Although it would probably be a blast to work there too, if they only had a store in my home state.


OK, OK, I have finally died laughing….


I topped spaghetti with grated Velveeta

You “grated” Velveeta? Is that possible? Did you freeze it first? It would be sort of like trying to grate Crisco, I would imagine.

Verplank: Something NY System-ish in actual New York? Eeenteresting. When I think of New York and hot-dog-like items, I always think of Manhattan street-vendor franks with those onions that float in that watery ketchupy sauce-stuff. Delightful, yet disgusting when you think about it, like sauerkraut.


Majorwoody, your recipe made laugh harder than anything has in at least a week, no lie. There is just something about a crazy recipe that gets me in the solar plexus. That King Ranch Casserole (I’ll just bet King Ranch is where the wholesome King Family Singers lived, or maybe this is the “King” of all “Ranch [dressing, comma, dried] Casseroles”). FOUR CUPS of shredded cheese? Lord. Maybe Bushism really is just the apotheosis of white trash culture. –Maybe?? And finally, Gavin, great work with this post. You were hitting on all cylinders, from the selection of recipes with the best “stage directions” (mix it all up ummmmmmmm) to the annotations.


Dude. I use Ro-tel in my Jambalaya. Prep time for that shit is about 1.5 hours. Cooks for 45 minutes.

2lb Boneless Skinless Chk breasts, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1lb Andouille (or smoked) Sausage, sliced into 1 inch slices
1 cup chooped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 can Ro-tel
1 can tomato sauce
1 can Diced Tomatos
2 cups Chiken Broth (substitute with water if desired)
3/4 tbsp + 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 Bay leaves
3/4 cup rice

Heat large deep skillet or pan. Add chopped chicken and brown. Add sausage and brown. Sprinkle 3/4 tbsp cajun seasoning. Push meat to the side of pan. Add in half of the chopped veggies and cook until tender. Add in Ro-tel, Diced tomatos, and tomato sauce, sprinkle rest of cajun seasoning, cook for 2 minutes. Add in the rest of chopped veggies, chicen broth and bay leaves. Bring to boiling. Stir in uncooked rice. Reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning.

I like to add in a little Tabasco, too.

This is a dish my mom used to make a lot. She also made a dish that consisted of pork chops, rice and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. She also made several other things that were mixed together canned products. They were all delicious!


Oh, I almost forgot to mention – New Jersey Pizza is the best there is!


Seconded, Yosef!


Man. I cook some pretty elaborate stuff — I did a Korean dinner with about eight dishes a couple of months ago — but I like me my comfort food now and then. This is kind of snobby. Strike that — not kind of. This is way snobby. Thumbs down.


Here in North Dakota, ranch dressing goes on everything.

I put it on hot dogs, cheese bread, salads, chicken wings, buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, baked pretzels… you name it, someone puts ranch on it.


Actually, the King Ranch is the old name…now it’s the Armstrong Ranch, where a certain VP shot a man down.


excellent post Gavin. too too funny.

and I think the comments about “look at those stupid midwesterners and what they eat” are really projecting. Where in this post does it say anything about the Midwest, or any area of the country?


As much as I’d like to be a food snob, I’m poor and the roommates keep buying giant bags of frozen chicken. Nothing covers up the bland ickiness of discount frozen chicken breast from o’ bag like the sodium overkill of Campbell’s soup. Sometimes you need the two wrongs to make a right, although I’d never scour the internets for new ways of using the crap, and I’d certainly never feed it to guests.

My parent’s fed us that sort of crap all the time. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and kids snork it down. However, the recipes were always passed off as a “family tradition” and meals were usually designated “Gramma X’s Cassorole” or “Grandpa Y’s Whatever the fuck”, as though our very own ancestors thought the meal up. I really think my parents somewhat believed this and we ate many a meal of gawdawful crap, noteably a baked spaghetti so dry you could sand wood with it, on the rationale that family recipes should be preserved and passed down. After the deaths of Grandma’s X and Y, we found that the special family recipes were in fact Depression/WWII era Good Housekeeping-esq recipes designed to help families get the most amount of calories out of the limited shite available. Hence, the preference for canned/preserved stuff over fresh ingredients, and the easy substitutions.


The recipes I donated contain, in various places, frozen spinach and canned tomatoes.

Have I let the side down?


Chilli on spaghetti? Jesus God…I thought the sweet cornbread was bad. About the only thing I’ll defend my native South on is the music and the food, but dear Lord, the rest of y’all do horrible things to food.

And I’ll make fun of pick-up trucks. Drove one as my primary vehicle for years, and now that I drive a car that gets mileage in the double-digits and ain’t a bitch and a half to park – and am no longer engaged in activities that sorta require a truck – I cannot for the life of me figure out why someone would want one of them gi-normous monstrosities for city driving.


This post reminds me of that episode of southpark, where the indian casino owners gave all the white people in town SARS, and the white trash cure ended up being 7-up, nyquil and a can of campbell’s chiken soup.

Great post gav, and for everyone complaining about how this is elitist and snobby and blargidy blarg blarg, I think it’s time we all lightened up a bit and maybe even took a good hard look at the amount of sodium and preservatives that we take in every day.

I think that most western food often relies far too heavily on processed ingredients and maybe a good laugh is what we need to start paying some much needed attention to this.


By the way, Major Woody, I just looked up “runcible spoon,” and it sounds like it’s basically the same thing as a spork, my good man. Pray correct me if I’m wrong. I haven’t been to the club in a while and need my memory refreshed on the subject.


“You “grated” Velveeta? Is that possible?”

Why, yes, yes it is; Velveeta is somewhat stiff-ish.

Also, I neglected to mention that, to the best of my knowledge, I invented the Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip sandwich.


There seems to be this ongoing association with the midwest, like this stuff is considered a delicacy out in the glorious redness of Kansas and all we snotty blue-staters are just elitist!

I think it’s about time to get over the idea of the midwest as some precious bastion of morality and down-homeness, untouched by the scourge of liberalism, where the green bean casserole flows like wine. Believe it or not, Kansas City does have actual groceries in their grocery stores, and people buy them and use them to cook things. Maybe it’s just the liberals, though. And maybe it’s because by the time they get to the store, all of the canned food has been snapped up.

Oh, and as a single girl in the deep south, living on a budget and cooking for one – it is possible to make convenience food that has some nutritional value that won’t make you bloat up like Rush Limbaugh. It starts with fresh vegetables, a little bit of lean sausage, and some whole-wheat ziti, and it ends without any significant time spent on the toilet.


I used Cream of Mushroom soup last night, dingus. Probably next you’ll tell me that there’s something wrong with my favorite band, Creed.


deep fried twinkies.
origin: Brooklyn, NY


Given the choice between crappy gassed tomatoes out-of-season and a couple of cans of Ro-Tel, I’ll take the Ro-Tel every time.

I can’t believe a discussion involving Ro-Tel *and* Velveeta has not led to the discussion of Ro-Tel *combined* with Velveeta — the infamous bowl of queso.


deep fried twinkies.
origin: Brooklyn, NY

True, but it’s equally accurate to add “By a Brit with a fryolator”

And while I love the Chip Shop, I think all Americans can get behind the notion that the Brits, even with recent improvement, still have the world’s worst palate.


… I love the Chip Shop…

Did someone say the Chip Shop?

Brilliant! 😉


Do Freepers count any cheese except American as Cheese?

After all, what good “taco” dish would be worth shit without pounds of ‘murkan cheese on it’s Mexican soul?

American Cheese Food, it’s not just for Freepers anymore.


Hey, look, there’s a place for nice food and a place for total crap. I’m about as much of a foody as there is. I love going out for meals and I love cooking at home. I love making wild mushroom risotto and pan-seared salmon, but I also love making Pasta-roni, tuna noodle casserole (tuna, Cream of Mushroom, noodles), and glop (ground beef, cream cheese, and mushrooms).

My mom used to eat Velveeta and ketchup sandwiches, an ex-girlfriend would eat Spaghetti-O’s with doritos and my dad ate Vienna Sausages and Potted Meat Product. And you know what, they all sound disgusting, but are in reality somewhat tasty (although I have never repeated any of those experiments).

Frankly, what disturbs me most about the freeper recipes is the use of multiple kinds of creamy things. Ranch isn’t enough. You need ranch AND cheese AND sour cream AND mayo. *That* makes my stomach turn, not the dump and stir nature of the recipes. That and the utter lack of curiosity about, and outright rejection of legitimately good food as being somehow snobbish.


Nobody is dissing Ro-Tel, i’s everything else. When your entire diet consists of food that could be found at an Indiana Methodist Picnic and/or Applebees you have a problem, and if you defend it only because someone convinces you that the people critcising your diet are criticising YOU and YOUR IDEALS, then you are a being played, right into the cobag’s hands.

Cincinnati people:
Skyline and Gold Star Chili, regardless of their taste ARE watery. It’s more of a sauce. There can be no discussion. The Chili Viscosity Institute (CVI) has studied this matter.


No, I don’t add salt to anything–except the occasional mashed potatoes from scratch and scrambled eggs. But to processed foods? Never! I also never buy spice mixtures that list salt as one of their ingredients (it’s nearly always the primary one). But, considering the amount of prepared/processed products I eat, I’m sure my sodium intake is atrocious, none the less. Exhibit A: my four (count ’em!) blood pressure medications.


Hey Lucy,

A runcible spoon is like the Mother of All Sporks. Not only does it combine the spoon and the fork, but one side is usually flat and somewhat sharpened like a knife, completing the triumverate of cutlery. The runcible spoon is truly the Lord of All Utensils, but should not be used by the faint-hearted or shaky-handed.


Ok, I will take on the awesome responsibility of defending our family tradition of Spaghetti & Chili.

When I was about 15 or so, I was eating at Bob’s Big Boy with my grandparents, who I lived with, and a friend of mine. (This is in Southern California, not goddamn Toledo, or wherever.) My friend & I both ordered their Spaghetti & Chili, which we loved, but my grandmother (who LIVED to cook, especially 1950s-type stuff) had never heard of. Well, there was no way she was going to let some coffee shop make something that she couldn’t, so, Spaghetti & Chili, topped with a slice of American cheese, became one of the new standards in our house.

The first time my wife (then, my girlfriend) tried it, she loved it and was stunned that she had never heard of it. Now it’s 20+ years later, and it’s become a tradition in our house. And, yes, made on the cheap — that’s the whole point: a CAN of chili, spaghetti noodles, and a slice of individually wrapped processed American cheesefood.

I should probably also mention that an inherited trait of mine is that my side of the family has a weird eating disorder running through it — we crave things that would make a trash compactor scream for mercy. But, sometimes you want five-star, sometimes you want crap.

chimpy mcflightsuit

quit bashing the midwest cooking!!!!

My grandma’s live in central illinois, how much more midwest can you get, and there isn’t a can of anything in their pantries, unless its something they canned themselves, out of the damn garden. One of my grandma’s specialties is pickles – everything pickled, beets, apples, cucumbers (10 different kinds) beans, etc. The other does the most incredible apple butter you have ever experienced, cooked outside in a 30 gallon copper pot, with grandpa stirring for 12 hours or so, from the Johnathan apples grown out the back of the house. And her pastries would make you want to slap somebody.
But, hey, they are mennonite farmers, its how they all cook.

What you have here is suburban food, cooked by women who unfortunatly had moms who came of age in the tv dinner generation. The art of the simple yet savory got lost in there. Fortunatly for me, my midwesterners still got it in spades, and no, you cant have any of those recipes, grandma would kill me.


Why are you giving credit to Gavin. After all, he offered up that recipe for roma tomatoes in Febuary, with jalapeno peppers unpeeled and then threw in some uncooked beans. Yeah many 3 to 12 year old would be frothing at the mouth to eat dinner within 30 to 45 minutes. Sophisticated palates are developed over time, yet children still need to eat to grow.

That was not really the point of the post. I am more liberal than you, I am a teacher who actually knows how to cook and feed a family on a limited budget for God’s sake. The point is: why would the way that someone feeds their family be a marker for political affiliation? This is wrong. I agree that Democrat’s need to be as vicious and ruthless as
Republicans are on policy issues and talking points, but I fail to see the attack value of running a person down for the choices they are forced to make concerning time and expense in feeding their family.

And to all you perpetually healthy wanna-be’s. Canned tomatos and tomato sauce and tomato puree are actully more healthful than eating fresh, because the benefits are concentrated. Also low sodium diets may be unhealthful according to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx. You will all probably be hit by a bus anyway, so eat some damn cake and enjoy it.


I, too, am growing weary of the broad generalizations and cruel caricatures being advanced on this thread! It’s not like the purpose of this blog is mockery and satire, after all.

What’s that? Oh, never mind.


Oh the whole purpose is mockery and satire? Oh, ok nevermind. Sorry


Cincinnati people:
Skyline and Gold Star Chili, regardless of their taste ARE watery.

Oh, there’s no doubt about that! But to describe it as “watery chili with cinnamon” gives folks who aren’t in the know the impression that it’s some kind of watery Texas-style chili with cinnamon mixed in, when it is in fact a completely different beast.


Hey now, as an Iowan who has moved to Minnesota, yet who has not changed his cheesy and chili-ful diet, I’ve got something to say.

Well, a couple things. First, as some folks have said, there are plenty of folks in the MW who can cook up a storm using real, fresh ingredients. I salute them. Actually, I wish they fed me. Second, as I and others have noted before, that group doesn’t include me, many of my friends, or even, to an extent, my Mom. Some of us Midwesterners can cook, and the rest of us can reheat.

This blah-blah “isn’t it anti-Midwestern” spiel is pretty lame, in my Midwestern opinion. I’m pretty sure that my fellow bachelors and bachelorettes all over the US are more expert at boiling and heating, rather than sauteeing and fricaseeing. We lonely guys and gals know what will suffice. If it’s not in a can, it’s not in my plan!


Where can I git me a runcible spoon? I can’t wait to open up a big can of Ro-tel and dig in–carefully!–with my fancy liberal Spork. Actually, it’s the name Ro-tel, and the use of the brand name as if it were the food itself, that I find objectionable. I try hard not to be a conduit for free commercial advertising, so I call things by their generic names–tissue, MP3 player, canned tomatoes–as much as I can without being snobbish or pedantic about it. (It’s part of an effort to use language mindfully.) I use canned tomatoes all the time, by the way, and my Italian-heritage credentials are irreproachable. Absolutely nothing wrong with canned tomatoes, which are usually much superior to fresh ones from the grocery store.




I would eat the living shit outta any of those dishes. Being raised dirt poor, I ate so much of that stuff when I was a kid, that to this day, I would rather eat a buhlonee cup than the finest meal at Mon Aéroglisseur Est Plein Des Anguilles.

By the way, you may wish to stop reading if you are overly squeamish.

Recipe’ for buhlonee cups:

Bologna Cups
This hearty meal goes well with sports.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with bologna slices (red ring removed).
Crack an egg into the center of each bologna cup.
Sprinkle each with salt and black pepper.
Bake until firm.

Add a slice of American cheese to each cup and bake until melted or you can broil cheese.

Serve with beer and tobasco.

For more, check out the website of awesomely special redneckabilly band SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS –


I have eaten some unhealthy shit in my time, but I just can’t get behind most oft he stuff that comes out of cans. I’m more of a frozen vegetable person myself.

Of course, this probably comes from being raised by people who know how to cook and utterly scorn pre-prepared foods.


OK, that does it. I’m gonna put this thread out of its misery.
Ladies & Gavs, a movie title:

Ro-tel Hell.”


Problem with convenience food is that it will f’cking kill you. It’s tasty in the sort of elemental starch, sugar, salt and fat sorta way but before I started teaching myself to cook I ballooned up 35 lbs in two years on a bachelor diet. Now a bachelor diet is not as bad as that freeper stuff … with my genes I’d have had a triple bypass by the time I was 30 if I ate that stuff. You don’t need to cook 5-star restaurant stuff to eat well.


Damn! I did more-or-less kill-off this thread. Hey, c’mon folks, this is comment #87–there’s only thirteen to go to make it to 100! Surely, we can blather on for another thirteen comments? Are we men, and do we mouse? Well, and women?


Your right convenience food is bad for you but it is convienient and often tastes so good so what can you do. Recently I’ve been making my own soups. Check out this low GI carrot soup


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