Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Do You Prefer Convenience or Taste?

When I was growing up, my mother went through a phase of buying Swanson Frozen TV Dinners for the family.  She loved the idea of sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and green peas organized in their own compartments on a lightweight aluminum tray.  Taste was a distant third to convenience and novelty. 

I didn’t go that route.  Once I realized that food could be more than just something to put in my mouth, I wanted good tastes.  The Meatball Sandwich I discovered at a take-out counter on New York’s West 43rd Street, just down the block from my first real job, tasted better than any homemade food I had in my youth. 

Okay, maybe I’m stretching the truth.  I enjoyed the Shrimp Cocktail at my uncle’s house every Christmas. My grandmother occasionally made Chopped Liver and Garlic Pickles, both of which I happily devoured.  My mother eventually learned how to prepare a pretty good version of Oven-Baked Chicken.  But I had to think about this for a while to find four examples of dishes I’d like to have again.

Taste is the main reason I started cooking, and it’s the main reason I don’t buy commercially prepared frozen entrees.  Maybe I’m too picky, but I’d rather spend time making food I like.  I even created my own mini-version of a Meatball Sandwich.
 
Photo by Andy Mills
Mini Meatball Sandwiches – serves 2 
4 dinner rolls or a 12-inch length of French bread cut into 4 sections 
16 small cooked meatballs 
1 cup spaghetti sauce 
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the rolls or bread 3/4 of the way through, so that they are still hinged on one side.  Place them on a baking sheet. 
Put 4 meatballs in each mini-sandwich and top with 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese onto the sauce. 
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the mini-sandwiches are heated through and the cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.
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