Every time I mention the name "Slumgulean," people give me that puzzled look wondering what in the world I am talking about, and there is a story behind it and how it has been a part of my family for a long time. The answer to the question is that Slumgulean is a struggle meal; a poor man's breakfast/dinner that my grandma used to throw together in order to feed four boys and use up some ingredients that she had readily available.
Back in the day, my grandfather worked for Ekrich, delivering their product as a truck driver, and my grandparents would end up with a butt ton of sausage and balogna to eat throughout those years. One of the ways my grandma would fix smoked sausage would be to throw it into her Slumgulean and it would be stretched out with other ingredients that were inexpensive but nice and filling.
She would slice the sausage up and fry it along with the taters, add some other ingredients and round it off with some eggs, and boom! My father always spoke fondly of it and how he could never quite get it to taste just like hers... Hell, I can't ever get anything to taste just like my mom's, but that is because it differs from individual to individual, even if you think you added the exact measurement of each ingredient within the recipe.
I have had so many variations of this dish and have two or three favorite combinations of what is essentially a "garbage hash." It is not as unique as some might think, really, but it is special enough to me that I decided to write this blog post to honor my dad's original post on the old site, and to honor my grandma because she cooked with love. In fact, my dad had written his blog post right before the final crash of Foodie-zoo, and it would not sit well with me if I didn't say something about it.
It is true that my dad had a limited bank of recipes that he cooked and tasted awesome... He made the BEST home made bread, his biscuits were like fluffy little clouds, his beef stew and his chili were to die for, and his breakfasts were awesome. It was one way that him and I bonded, as I had bonded with mom over the stove too. When it came to the hash, he always brought grandma up and how hers was the best.
I don't remember the first time that he made it for me... I had always assumed he put his nasty, canned corned beef hash into it... You know, the stuff that looks like canned dog food and smells like it too? Yeah, so you can probably imagine that I wasn't even interested in trying it for the longest time. In fact, I refused to even look at it when I was a kid because of how my mind associated it with the stuff in the can.
I believe I was a teenager when I actually began to pay attention to some of the things that he cooked. The first things were his breakfasts, of course, and how he taught me that you do not need milk to make the perfect, soft scrambled egg that was still fluffy and tasty. I watched him throw various things into a pan, and I actually gave myself a chance to smell it and enjoy the aroma. When I tried it, I was in for a pleasant surprise... It was good... I mean, REALLY good.
Him and I would talk from over the counter since the kitchen at my mom's house is not that big, and he would tell me stories about grandma or grandpa, adventures in truck driving and such. There was a hilarious story about how grandpa would truck drive and smoke in his sleep, shifting gears with one hand and puffing on an invisible cigarette with the other. My dad would take a clothes pin and stick it between the forefinger and middle finger, and sure enough, Grandpa would "puff" on the clothes pin... We're talking about the round ones, not the ones with springs. I am sure if dad had done that one, there would have been hell to pay.
As it was, my grandpa would wake up with the clothes pin between his fingers and he would get mad and cuss.
My dad also told stories about my grandma and how she would knock people upside the head with a fireplace poker for cussing in her house. I guess that she was a spitfire while she was alive and she had all the respect in the world for it and for the fact that she was also the sweetest person alive when she wasn't provoked into being irate. I don't remember anything about her, I don't remember ever seeing her or cuddling her, but my dad explained to me that she loved my older sister and me to the moon and back, we were the apples of her eye because she had wanted granddaughters so badly after raising four boys. I wish I had gotten to be around her longer than three years because she had a wealth of things I could have learned from her, like quilting and knitting. I am happy to say that I at least have the legacy of her hash browns, even as insignificant as it may seem to others. It means the world to me to be able to connect with my grandma.
So if you are up in heaven listening to my thoughts as I type this blog post out, grandma, know that I am so glad to have a recipe to share with the world because you made one up.
Ingredients per two people:
2 TBSP Canola or Vegetable oil
1 TBSP Butter
6 oz of whatever meat you want (optional, I usually choose bacon if I have it, or breakfast sausage. I have seen dad use ham and smoked sausage before.)
1 potato of any size, shredded, sliced, or diced
1/8 cup of sliced or diced onion
1/8 cup bell pepper (Optional)
1 slice of whole wheat or white bread, torn into small pieces
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and paprika all to taste
1 egg. beaten
1 handful (About 1/2 cup) of cheese of choice (Optional)
I hope that this recipe makes you as happy as it has for three generations of my family. Maybe you will find yourself telling stories while cooking it in the future. It is a small bit of comfort in these days where we are uncertain as to whether we can safely feed our families and be able to put some nutrition in, even if it isn't what a fitness guru would call "healthy eats." The point is to line your belly when you are hungry, and this stuff is super filling and very delicious.
Have a good day, my friends and...
This post has a very special place in my heart. When I was a little girl, our family situation wasn’t the best; food was always provided even if it wasn’t ideal, and my dad wasn’t an easy man to live with. The good thing about memories is that, though there are plenty of bad ones to be had, there are always good ones… special ones.
It’s been established that dad didn’t do very well with some of his cooking, and I say that in the most endearing sense. Not all of his food was bad. He was really great at making an American breakfast (Pancakes, bacon and/or sausage, and eggs), he could also make a mean campfire chili or beef stew, and he made what our family calls Slumgolean Hash (which I can do a recipe for at another time.) But this blog post is not about any of those things.
This is about a beautiful memory that takes me back to one of the happier times we shared with dad. He made monkey bread from scratch and put a lot of love into it. It was like eating a cloud that was laced with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon, the right amount of sticky glaze that was too yummy to use a napkin on. My dad made the best monkey bread I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
I remember how proud he was of the bread and how he laughed with his joy at how his children were delighted in this pastry. It was something we gathered around just one time that I can remember, but it did define part of my childhood with a good and beautiful memory.
I have had other monkey bread throughout the years; GOOD monkey bread, at that, but nothing that has ever taken me back to that memory. It took hearing the sound of my niece, Al’s daughter, to call out, “Monkey bread” to spark that memory full on, though Al is the one who made it.
As soon as the idea popped into my head, I opened up my cook books and began to look for the perfect base recipe to work off of. I needed an idea on what ingredients were involved and how much to put in. It happened to be in my Better Homes and Gardens cook book (if you do not have that one, you should get one as it is a legacy). It wasn’t even a monkey bread recipe, but rather, a cinnamon roll recipe.
My brain went into excitement mode for the things I could take out and replace, or add to it to make it better. I want to be taken back to that first bite, to hearing my father laugh the way he used to, because it was to him who I owe my cooking passion.
Fair warning, this is a time consuming recipe but totally worth the effort. This is also not diet food, though you can use sweeteners to lower the amount of sugar you use. Just follow the conversions as needed, usually the sweetener bags will have them. They are also widely available on the web.
Variation #1 with an adult twist
Variation #2, Blood Orange Cranberry
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon or so Blood Orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh (grated with micro plane) or ground ginger
¼ cup softened, unsalted butter
½ cup blood orange juice soaked dried cranberries
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
A dash of ground ginger
1-2 Tablespoons Blood Orange Juice
(You can use any orange if you are not fond of blood oranges)
Serving this bread warm is the best way to eat it, and you don’t need a knife and fork to do so. You can pick at the nuggets like a monkey would pick.
I chose to make the adultified version, and just so you know? The rum icing is A-Okay! I don’t think I added enough salt to the dough itself, but that is my error, not the recipe. It was still fluffy but dense like raisin bread, as opposed to your traditional cinnamon bun.
I adore monkey bread and the memories it brings. Share this bread with your children (or at least the rumless variety) and watch their faces light up with joy. Maybe you could even have your little ones help you out with making the bread so you can create memories of your own. If you don’t have kids, you can still make it and have fun in the process. The point is, you should do it because you want to and to experience the joy that it can bring.
For me, I will forever cherish the stolen moments that are branded into my memory that can come flying back into my head at the sound of its name, or the flavor of the dish. I hope that I do justice to one of my dad’s very favorite things to make! And with that I say...
I had always wanted to try making Navajo Fry bread because I wanted to pay homage to the Native American tradition. I have a great respect for all tribal traditions as my great grandmother was Native (I was told Sioux, though I think if the location has an influence, she was probably Potawatomi or Miami). I have always been fascinated by what I have learned throughout the years about the practices of the Native American, from how they dressed to how they respected everything around them. For instance, when they made a kill, they would utilize everything from the carcass, from the entrails to the bones. There is a certain degree of spirituality to everything for them, cooking was not to be left out of this equation at all.
Fry Bread was borne out of pain and sorrow, and some people treat it as sacred. When I was cooking it earlier, I tried to keep that in mind and treat this with love and in the same respect. It isn't just a novelty experience for me, it really was a joy to me to do this and it really did affect me as a descendant of the Native American; I truly hope that I have done justice and given the proper respect to this. Here is an article I think would be beneficial for you to read if you are interested in the history of this food, it is far more eloquent than I can convey in my own words.
Right now, I feel like I am on my own spiritual journey... Food is a big part of it for me as I delve into the different parts of my heritage and family history. I have shared with you things that have directly influenced my life as a person. I have said time and time again that food is a universal language, that you can convey messages through the sharing and the fellowship. This is the reason I do these blog posts... I want to share this part of me with you.
As far as the recipe goes, I am not sure this one is the traditional recipe because the link above says there is yeast and sour milk included in the ingredients that were available at the time. I do recall being confused that there wasn't yeast involved in the recipe I did use, but it still turned out to taste really delicious and tender. I am sure the sour milk would have given it a flavor that it didn't have, however... But the recipe on that site is very close to the one I used, though mine had no milk involved at all.
Before I take this post any further with more food for thought, here is the recipe I used for my Fry Bread:
FRY BREAD RECIPE
Combine all of your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl...
You do not need to sift but it won't hurt any if you do.
Add your wet ingredients and mix well...
I used my floured hands because it's part of the experience, but you can use a utensil if you prefer... Mix well, but do not knead, to form a ball.
Cover the top of the bowl with a damp towel, the lid, cling film, or a plate...
and let it rest for two hours.
After it rests, prepare your area to roll the dough by dusting with flour...
dust your rolling pin as well. Pinch off golf ball sized sections and roll thinly.
Preheat your oil, you need enough to cover the top of the bread... I used an inch but recommended is two.
Fry your bread, flipping after about two or three minutes... Then let it drain on a cookie rack. Serve while still warm for the best experience.
You can put taco meat (pork or ground beef), tomatoes, and lettuce in the shell to make Indian Tacos. I can honestly say that this is now my favorite way to eat tacos as of yesterday. I do suggest that you eat the bread on it's own first because there is something really special about doing so.
FRIED BREAD: HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN FRY BREAD?
In searching for information about the history of the fried bread as opposed to fry bread, I ended up not finding very many links when I tried to Google. But I do know a few things about it from when I first made it, and I also asked some questions to my good friend, Becka, who helped me out with some of the information.
Fried Bread is a descendant of fry bread, yes, in tradition but not so much in method. While Fry bread is a flat bread that started from rations they were given during a time where they were being pushed from their lands, Fried Bread kind of evolved from this with a shared history but is more of a fried biscuit. Fried bread started, most likely, in the Appalachian mountains when the Natives took refuge with white settlers, so it is also based off of a rough history. We also know that fried bread was a staple during the Great Depression because of how easy it was to get the ingredients and how you can feed a lot of people with it.
The fried bread that I made several months ago was made with my drop biscuit recipe, but the traditional recipe is a lot simpler than that even. Here is a recipe I found today.
Fritters - Another Type of Fried Bread
Becka pointed out to me that I should not forget to talk about fritters, which is.... also a fried bread. Generally, a fritter has the same consistency as a drop biscuit with whatever chunks of leftover foods (corn, apples, zucchini, etc) they would eat and is served both sweet or savory. Corn fritters are made with maize or corn meal, while other fritters tend to be made with white or wheat flour, and they are either deep fried OR pan fried.
Corn is used a lot because it is indigenous to the Americas and the Natives had access exclusively to this plant before European explorers took it back to Europe with them. They would grind it up to make the corn meal (maize), and also use pieces of corn in their fritters. It is made with corn meal or flour these days, but the premise is still the same.
While I have not made fritters, I have eaten fritters plenty of times and I am happy to eat them occasionally (I try not to eat any of these foods often because of my blood sugar), and they are quite delicious. This is why we have an abundance of glazed apple fritters in bakeries across the United States.
Fritters are made throughout the world, of course, but I am not exactly sure where they first came from. However, the American Fritter is definitely laced with tradition as much as Fry Bread is and I think it should be respected in the same manner. Here is a recipe I found on Fritters, with some history about them, do check it out.
I had a lot of fun making this food, learning about the history of it and the other foods that stem from these. I hope that I have helped to bring some insight into this traditional food! Please do try making these and share them with your family and friends.
This is an ultimate food of love....
Enjoy, my foodie friends!
I had a really wonderful friend in a woman I met through one of my ex-boyfriends... She was a kindred spirit to me and even when him and I were moving away from each other in our relationship, she continued to stick by me as a supportive friend. I grew to love her like she was my big sister, and she did so much to enrich my life. Sara not only gave me comfort during hard times, but she did it while suffering through her own demons.
Sara took her own life in November... It's now August in the next year, and I am just now able to type a post like this, and even now, I feel my eyes fill with tears in remembrance of my dear friend. I want to honor her with this blog post because she always encouraged me to play with food. It was one of the things we connected over, cooking and working with recipes.
She absolutely loved medieval things. She was a member of SCA and attended an annual event called Pennsic, which is a giant, Ren Faire, in essence. She wanted me to help her with food for a party she was throwing for her SCA friends, which included my boyfriend(at the time), and a handful of people I hadn't met yet. She wanted help with stew and asked me to come up with a medieval food to make that people could nibble upon... I chose Scottish Oat Cakes, and she was right there with me as I embarked on making this cool, historical food I had never tried before.
I made a sweet version that resembled drop biscuits, so I am not sure whether they were accurate or not, but they did turn out delicious and seemed to go over okay (as far as I remember). I decided that I would try this again, only I would try to be closer to the traditional recipe.
It is said that Scottish Oat cakes have been around since at least 43 AD, and they are a flatbread made with oat, oat flour, fat, water, salt, and leavener. They are like dense crackers or biscuits and are quite filling and can be served sweet or savory. ( Click Here for Oat Cake Wiki ) ( New York Times Article: FARE OF THE COUNTRY ) For more information on the history of the oat cake, I suggest the NYT article, but the Wiki is the closest I could find to an encyclopedia entry *cringe* and I do not claim any accuracy to said Wiki.
I ended up having to adapt my recipe from two other recipes, I will do my best to give you original ingredients along with my substitutions.
If you are going to bake them....
Preheat your oven to 375F/190C...
In your large mixing bowl...
Add all of your dry ingredients and mix them.
Drizzle in your rendered fat (I used butter, but the best substitute is bacon grease)...
Mix well until it forms a thick paste...
Add a little bit of water at a time until mixture becomes a ball...
Turn out onto your work surface and toss dry oats onto board and onto dough...
Knead dough, adding oats as needed until your dough is no longer sticky.
Split dough in half, roll each half (at a time) to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut into rounds (or you can cut into squares if you like)...
Bake for 45 minutes or until brown, or pan fry in a small amount of fat for 3 minutes each side on medium to medium high heat.
One of my favorite pictures of Sara... This was from before I met her, and I borrowed it from her timeline. I do not claim credit.
I made these today instead of waiting around to do it because I found myself thinking of Briney (Sara) and the time I spent in her company. They tasted pretty close to what I had made, but without sugar, and it kind of brought me back to the day we bonded over oatcakes and venison stew. I miss her so very much and I hope that she is at peace now... I know that she didn't have it easy in life, but she was and will always be in my heart as an inspiration.
Thank you for being my friend, Sara.
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.