Monday, April 19, 2010

So, Whatchagot?

I have been a fan of the humorous writing of Patrick F. McManus for at least twenty-five years.

His wonderful, belly-laugh inducing tales of outdoor adventures (mostly misadventures) have brightened my days many, many times.

One of his running gags is about camp cooking, when a bunch of young (and young-at-mind) campers would gather round the fire in the evening, usually unsuccessful (for hilarious reasons) at their hunting or fishing, and try to figure out how to stave off starvation.

The conversation was always similar to "I thought you said this crick had lotsa' fish!"

"It does, you just don't know anything about catchin'em."

"So, what are we gonna eat?"

"I dunno, whatchagot?"

Whatchagot Stew can contain pretty much anything, much like my dinner tonight. Because it was a definite case of looking in the cupboards and fridge and using pretty much anything that came to hand.

So, in honor of crampy bellies everywhere, I present my 'Ham & Limas In White Sauce':

Two tuna sized cans of ham
One half bag of frozen Fordhook Lima Beans
One pouch of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice basmati
One half stick of butter
Other various things found in and around the kitchen.

Note that there is no actual cooking involved, just combining and heating the ingredients.

Preheat the saute pan (I actually use a big chicken frying pan, to encourage enthusiastic stirring) melt half of your butter, then throw in the limas to thaw.

Dig in the fridge, and find AHA! fresh, pre-sliced mushrooms. Things are looking up already.

Also find about 1/2 quart of well-out-of-date buttermilk. Yum.

Add the rice, & stir.

Add the mushrooms & stir.

Look around some more, and find your sisters bag of sliced, roasted almonds. Snitch some of those, too. Into the pan, & stir.

Open the cans of ham to find a solid lump of pinkish goo, that still smells great. Cut that into small squares inside the can and add it.

Notice that the combination of butter & ham juice has all been absorbed and things are drying out, so add the rest of the butter and about 1/4 cup of water, and cover the pan.

Oh, before covering, add some fresh ground sea salt with dried, roasted garlic, and multi-colored coarse ground peppercorns to taste.

Let it simmer a while, until the smell has you salivating, then add a little buttermilk, and stir.

Add a little more buttermilk, stirring to be sure everything is well-coated with the impromptu 'white sauce', let it cook down a little, fill your bowl and enjoy!

At least I enjoyed it.


  1. OK, so why didn't the 'Read More' break work for me?

    I did it just as shown in the Sekrit Codes, and the berak showed in preview.

    Can anyone with greater skills than I please fix that so this silly post does nto take up the whole front page?

  2. And just to show how foolish I've become, OF COURSE the 'Read More' break did not work when I came straight from the Dashboard via the 'View Post' button.

    And, yes, 'duh' is becoming an ever-larger part of my vocabulary.

  3. Thanks for the post, Dances. I enjoyed it. Great to see your writing.

  4. How did I miss this? LMAO! Dances, your writing always hooks me from the first sentence. ;)

    Noah volunteered to cook supper last night. After much clanging of pans and open/shutting of the refrigerator door, he presented me with a plate of...what for it...chili cheese fries!

    Man-food. It's what's for dinner. :))

  5. "Ham & Limas In White Sauce"

    Er....back in the day of C-Rations, those thangs wuz called "Ham & Motherf*ckers."

  6. Ari - only by those with no appreciation of the finer qualities of lima beans.

  7. DWT...I suspect you've not tasted the delight of them from a C-rat can. Hate them as I did, I traded for more when some one else had them and wanted my cookies or fruit or both. More carbs and protein for me that way. Tabasco made everything tolerable.

  8. For a nice summary of C-Rations, see this website.

    Right click on the link and select "open in a new tab"...

  9. "Er....back in the day of C-Rations, those thangs wuz called "Ham & Motherf*ckers."

    LOL! I think in my dad's day they were called SoS.

  10., SoS was Sh*t on a Shingle, the term for creamed chipped beef on toast...a mess hall or field kitchen tent "delicacy."

    (Which I happen to like...Stauffer makes a decent frozen modern version)

    The 60's & 70's Army used creamed burger bits on toast. Not bad either...sort of like poor man's biscuits and sausage gravy.

  11. Oh, OK, I knew it was one of those tasty dishes, Aridog, lol!