My mom’s interest in cooking began largely after she retired from teaching and had more time to watch the Food Network.
Unfortunately, my family is cursed with being neurotic; we easily become obsessed with something, overindulge in it, burn ourselves out, recover, and repeat the process. I’ve watched this happen too many times in my mother and myself to deny its reality.
So it began with Rachael Ray. I can never remember how to spell “Rachael,” because there are variants to the spelling, and for a while, I thought her name was spelled “Rachel” or something odd like that. In order to remember the proper spelling, the linguistic-obsessed part of my brain goes into Hebrew mode and pronounce the name “Rrrrah CCCHHHAAAH el,” like it would sound in Hebrew. That way I remember the spelling.
No sooner had I finally purchased a Rachael Ray cookbook for my mother (and for Christmas, no less) than she had rebelled against Rachael and turned her loyalties to Paula Deen.
Admittedly, I didn’t like Paula Deen at first. One of my friends mentioned that Paula Deen’s eyes were creepy and that they just screamed “concubine of Satan.” I agreed with him.
Then I saw her on the Oprah show one day, and she talked about her battle with agoraphobia, and she became real to me- you know, down-to-earth, normal. The whole time she was on the show, even through the mixer spraying on her and Oprah, Paula Deen was an absolute joy to watch.
So I started buying Paula Deen books for my mother. Once, I sat out on a quest to buy a book by Rue McClanahan for her, and in a serendipitous turn, I found Paula Deen’s autobiography. Needless to say, that really made her happy.
After reading Paula Deen’s autobiography myself, I liked her even more. She’s a true Cinderella story, the story of someone who was left with nothing, fought a psychological disorder that had not been diagnosed by the wider community of psychologists at the time, and triumphed in the end with happiness, fame, and fortune.
And by this time my mother had betrayed Paula and become a loyalist to the Neelys, who have their own cooking together and own a barbecue restaurant.
The lesson from this is that you cannot win with my family, so don’t even try.
I won’t even start on my father.
Anyway, since the video game company Nintendo released the Wii and their game Cooking Mama, I thought it would be a cute title for the blog entry. During all this time, my mother has been a Cooking Mama, trying new recipes and unfortunately falling into that obsessive patterns with some of her cooking.
Here’s one recipe of hers that’s really, really good- if I could get her to make this when I was a kid, it was like someone raining gold into my house. Of course, these days, I don’t eat ham, but that’s beside the point.
Behold: the HAM DELIGHT!
What you need:
- 1 package of small dinner rolls, sliced in half. (Hypothetically, you can use any sized dinner rolls.)
- Ham slices, chopped
- Cheddar cheese
- Swiss cheese
What you need for the mixture to spread on the rolls:
- 1 stick of oleo
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of spicy mustard
- chopped onions
- 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon poppy or sesame seeds
What you do:
- Mix together the oleo, mustard, onions, Worcestershire sauce, and poppy seeds
Then, what you do:
- Spread oleo mixture between sliced rolls. On oleo mixture, place a layer of Cheddar cheese, a layer of ham, and a layer of Swiss cheese. Bake at 400º for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
This recipe comes with my highest recommendation.
If I created my own scoreboard, I would give it a big smiley face.
For a vegetarian alternative, I’m not really sure what you could use. Maybe it’s possible to substitute something like that Morning Star chicken strips and turn it into a Chik’N delight. In fact, I’ll try to make that my mission in the coming weeks so that I can blog about it.
Eat well, stay swell, and I’ll blog more soon!