Friday, 30 November 2007

A Trashy Classic

One of my great culinary interests is food that can only be described as 'trashy'. The great Nigella describes this phenomenon thus:

'Trashy food, in its platonic ideal, should contain at least one brand-name product... it should use a low-rent ingredient, one that gastro-snobs would never normally even consider keeping in the house". (Nigella Bites, 2001)

Although I am fascinated by food that can be described in such terms - and often read cookery books that are full of such recipes - I rarely actually cook in this way. I read with awe about my fellow bloggers' forays into the world of 'trashy' dishes (Lisa) - the food always looks so good (even if the ingredients don't immediately suggest that it would!)

However, on discovering cans of the legendary French's Fried Onions in my local supermarket (by all accounts a superbly declasse ingredient all on their own) I felt compelled to purchase some. Printed jauntily on the side of the can is a recipe for 'Green Bean Casserole'... a recipe of which I'm sure Nigella herself would approve whole-heartedly, for amongst its ingredients are listed a can of French's Fried Onions, a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup and 500g of frozen (or canned) cut green beans. Brand-name products? Check! Low-rent ingredients? Check! A nightmare for gastro-snobs? Check, check, check!!!

I set about making this with great gusto, and was delighted (and somewhat relieved) to find that it was genuinely good. Not just good really, but excellent. I had made it as part of our Thanksgiving meal - we had been away for Canadian Thanksgiving in October, so decided that the weekend after American Thanksgiving was as good an excuse as any for a large meal. Although we didn't eat that much of it during that particular dinner (not enough room on our plates, plus it didn't seem to be quite right on a plate swimming in gravy) we both enjoyed it the following day as a vegetable accompaniment to the leftover chicken.

Now bring on the frozen meatballs in grape jelly...