Last week, I was thinking out loud about you and me coming together and creating a cookbook with our favorite recipes, and I was overwhelmed by the response. I had people as far as Hungary asking if they could submit one of their favorite recipes.
I have been thinking about the categories we should include in our book. If I had my way, it would contain the basic four food groups: dessert, dessert, dessert and meats. But I had better start with a nice selection of appetizers. Since I am a Baptist, I don’t know much about this category. My definition of an appetizer would be “anything on a plate that has been speared by a toothpick.”
And of course, we must have a salad section. I am not a big salad eater, but I’d like the heading to read, “Lettuce out; it’s cold in here.” Then we’ll have a section for main dishes. I’d like to call that, “Glad to meat you!”
But I am also tempted to include a section called “Foods that would choke a moose.” If I were the ruler of the universe, I would outlaw a number of recipes. So here is my list of four foods that I think would choke a moose:
4. Mince pie
Whoever came up with this concoction had to be one slice short of a loaf. Do you know what a mince pie contains? Mincemeat. What’s mincemeat? The rejects from a fruit salad mixed with suet. You take your leftover orange peels, dried figs, raisins, dried cherries, crystallized ginger or anything else you’ve left out on the counter, add in 2 1/2 ounces of coarsely chopped suet, and you have mincemeat pie.
Now, since I am a faux chef, I had to look up this last ingredient. The dictionary says, “Suet is the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep and other animals, used to make foods including puddings, pastry and mincemeat.” Other animals? Does that include donkeys, horses and goats? I will never be able to look another mince pie in the face again. It’s enough to choke a moose.
3. Weird Jell-O concoctions
It has been a while since I’ve seen one, but when I was growing up, the Jell-O mold was a part of every fancy meal. It consisted of a bundt-cake type of dessert with Jell-O and other added ingredients. Since the most competitive people in the world are those who bring dishes to a potluck dinner, you could always count on one of these desserts. Most of the time, these gelatin beauties would boast fruit, olives, corn and peas floating inside the congealed mass.
Jell-O used to run ads for “National Use-Up Your-Leftovers-in-a-Jell-O-Salad Week.” But the one most likely to choke a moose consisted of chopped hot dogs and sliced hard-boiled eggs floating in strawberry gelatin.
By the way, have you ever looked up “gelatin” in a dictionary? It’s the first cousin to suet.
2. Bologna cake
If you are from the upper part of town, it’s called bologna cake. If you are from my part of town, it’s baloney cake. Either way, it’s a cake made from round slices of bologna. You lay down a slice of bologna, smear a thick layer of cream cheese over the top, then add another slice of bologna. Repeat until you have created a cake of cream cheese and bologna. Ice the top and sides with the remaining cream cheese. To make it fancy, take a can of Easy Cheese and squirt a decorative border around the top and bottom of the cake. Slice and serve; guaranteed to choke a moose.
1. Ketchup cake
Heinz used to have a recipe on the back of its ketchup bottles for something called the Great Canadian Ketchup Cake. I have no idea what Canada did to hack us off so much that we would retaliate by firing this horrible recipe back across the border. It was supposed to replicate a red velvet cake but had the washed-out, unappealing pinkish-red color you see when you peel off a Band-Aid. This isn’t well-known, but even to this day when you cross into Canada, border patrol agents check your car for illegal substances like Heinz Ketchup. They can’t let you choke any of those Canadian moose.
But the one food sure to be in our cookbook is bread. There is nothing that reminds me more of home than the smell of Grandma’s bread, hot from the oven with a lightly crusted, buttered top. When you put it into your mouth, it melts and brings intense satisfaction.
I can’t help but think this is why Jesus compared Himself to bread: “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life’” (John 6:35a)—because He always satisfies.