When I was a kid, my Mom used to make some crazy budget meals. I guess they were the result of culinary skills she learned from a few home economic classes in high school circa 1960 (and from whatever her Mom put on the table after tweaking her Betty Crocker recipes). Mary Ann (Mom) was the Penny-Pinching, Coupon-Cutting, Bargain-Hunting Queen of Vallejo, California. Hey, with four growing daughters in a one-income family, she had to do something. Plus, we had one canine and two feline mouths to feed, not to mention the occasional short-lived hamster. Now don’t get me wrong; my Mom was an excellent cook. Don’t think we didn’t have delicious roasts, mouth-watering chicken dishes, a lovely ham at Christmas and fancy delectable appetizers at parties. But when she had to stretch a dollar — and man could my Mom stretch one — we’d sometimes sit down to dinner and wish to God that we could send our plates to the starving children in China. Though we usually gagged our way through it, I sometimes crave the comfort of one of the dishes we had after the monthly trip with Mom to the Blue Chip Stamp store, or after returning from the city dumps with Dad. Though the dish highlighted today is not one I crave, or ever craved.
Growing up, we each had our designated spot at the dining room table: Dad at the head (best viewing spot to see “Hogan’s Heroes” during dinner), Mom to his left, then Melissa, the youngest next to her (easy wipe-ups). On Dad’s right was my oldest sister, Tracy, then me, and to my right at the other end of the table was my younger sister, Coleen. This all worked out great. But damn, did I hate sitting next to Coleen on Creamed Corn night. Well, we all hated sitting at the table on Creamed Corn night. But Coleen will go on record as the world’s most exaggerated gagger when it came to creamed corn. I hated to see it … the tiny beads of sweat on her little forehead, the way that blue vein bulged at her temple, and the constant LOUD gags and partial vomiting that occurred right next to me. I felt sorry for her, but I couldn’t rescue her … no way in hell was I gonna offer to eat her portion. And so it went. After about 20 minutes into the gag-a-thon, Dad would usually be at the point of gagging himself, and would talk Mom into letting her off the hook. Eventually Coleen was able to substitute another yummy vegetable dish on Creamed Corn night (like Green Bean Casserole). But here’s what the rest of us ate. I’ve been kind enough to share the recipe with you. You’re welcome.
2 cans of Corn (store brand is just fine for this one)
1 can of Creamed Corn (see above)
1 can of Cream of Celery Soup (again, save yourself the dime and use the store brand)
Saltine Crackers – crumbled
Put the canned ingredients into a ceramic baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, and crumble the crackers on the top. Bake another 10 minutes or until the crackers turn into mush and ooze into the corn ever so nicely.
Serve with barf bags.