Earlier in the week Bradley Smith informed me that donations were down and suggested that I not waste a penny. I haven't wasted a penny in four years, but I took his warning to heart and prepared my family for a Christmas without a tree, but with a few inexpensive presents. And then I was struck this morning with a craving for Swedish meatballs. I went through my recipe books and found one that called for stretching the meat with mashed potatoes and bread crumbs. With a family of five to feed, I've learned to stretch everything beyond all limits and usually I fake them out quite well, so as a special treat--and a break from Grandpa's chili beans -- I went for it.
Instead of stretching the meat with the potatoes and bread crumbs, I stretched the bread crumbs and mashed potatoes with a little bit of meat. I left out the heavy cream and opted for a cheap can of mushroom soup. I substituted the butter for inexpensive pork fat. Forget the spices--I don't think they've heard of nutmeg in Mexico.
I mixed and rolled and had a wonderful bunch of pretty meatballs. Then I put them in the pan to fry them. They completely fell apart. They turned to mush. As I saw our Swedish meatballs rapidly disintegrating into fried mashed potatoes with some other stuff thrown in I pondered my fate. What if I had gone to work for a Zionist? He could have paid me big bucks, I wouldn't have to stretch our meals, we'd have an office copier that actually works, we'd go to lunch in the corporate dining room instead of slurping food down in front of our computer monitors, my kids would have a Christmas tree this year and our futures would seem bright.
I slopped the fried mashed potato gravy on everyone's plates, apologized profusely and passed the salad. I made some dry comments about our Swedish meatballs actually being Revisionist meatballs and momentarily felt sorry for myself and my family. Then my Dad took a big bite and growled at me, "There's not a damn thing wrong with these meatballs! They're just not round, that's all." (Being that we had to eat "them" with spoons this was a slight understatement.)
My meatballs didn't turn out right, and that makes me mad. But I realize wherein the problem lies. It isn't with Revisionists. In this family, at least, Revisionists have come to represent our soul food. The meatballs, I guess, will just have to come later.
Installed: 07/27/98, 1: 00 AM, PST