The honeymoon had been a quiet and restful one. Jim and I borrowed his brother’s car and drove, by way of North Bay, down to Algonquin Park in October 1957.
We took a leisurely drive through the area before returning to Sudbury. We were broke. We had $7.83 between us, and this had to last until payday the next week.
We had just arrived home in our little apartment, when the telephone rang. It was Jim’s younger brother, Ronnie, who announced he was on his way over with a new girlfriend. Of course, since it was around dinner time, my husband invited both of them for dinner (an early warning of his great generosity).
What on earth does a new bride put together for an impromptu dinner when she has never arranged a dinner party before? How could I serve hamburger to guests?
There was not even much in the way of cooking utensils in the kitchen since we had not organized our humble little abode yet. I rummaged though the measly groceries that we had picked up. Besides hamburger, there was a small tin of tomato paste, which was intended to be part of a spaghetti sauce, a bottle of ketchup, a box of instant rice, a few cans of vegetables, including creamed corn, a few onions, garlic and a bunch of celery. But there was not enough of any one item to turn into dinner for four.
I grabbed some of ingredients and got started. Luckily one of our wedding gifts was an electic frypan. Once that was washed and heated up, I dropped in some butter, chopped an onion, a stalk of celery, and a clove of garlic. After a few minutes, I added the minced beef and cooked it through, stirring as it cooked.
Now what else? How about some tomato paste? Oh boy! But it did not seem enough for four people, so I added the can of cream corn, a cup of water along with some salt, pepper, and some Italian seasoning. Hmm! That didn’t look too bad, but I didn’t have any potatoes. Into the mush went a cup of instant rice. I put the lid on, and let it simmer, hoping for the best.
This improvised recipe turned out to be not only a big hit for that dinner, but it has been a mainstay in our family all these years. The ingredients are staples in our house. We also used the recipe on our cross-country family camping trips.
I still use it when I don’t feel like making dinner for Jim and me. It freezes and reheats well, and is handy when we need something quick.
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. lean minced beef
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
12 oz. ketchup
1 16-oz. can creamed corn
1 cup water
1 cup Minute Rice
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the butter or margarine in frying pan on medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic, saute until onions are clear, about three minutes. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink. Add all other ingredients, stirring to mix well. Cover frying pan, turn heat down to simmer, and leave for 20 minutes. Serve with fresh bread and a salad.
Cecile Cook is a Sudbury writer and active member at the Parkside Centre.
H. J. Heinz opened his first Canadian facility in Leamington in 1909. For 100 years, the Leamington plant, the second largest Heinz plant in the world, has produced all of the Heinz ketchup sold in Canada.
Heinz Canada has contracts with 48 Canadian growers who are required to use safe and sustainable agricultural practices. Tomatoes are grown from special Heinz seeds.
One hundred percent of regular Heinz ketchup sold in Canada contains tomatoes grown in southern Ontario. Heinz buys 300,000 tons of Ontario-grown tomatoes annually.
One litre of Heinz ketchup contains 25 tomatoes.
Four tablespoons of Heinz tomato ketchup have the same nutritional value as one ripe, medium tomato.(Source: www.heinz.com)
Readers who are interested in making The Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake, a red cake that tastes like carrot cake without the work, visit www.sudburylivingmagazine.com, and click on the Food button.