Sunday, January 13, 2013

My misspent day

I've spent the better part of this cold, sunny, dismal Sunday trying to write a blog post that linked The Homesick Texan, Hee Haw, Lina Wertmuller, the bad sagas I loved as a teenager (see above), my father, and the SATs, which are looming on Isabel's horizon. I'm throwing in the towel. Can't get the tone right, can't get the argument right, can't get the jokes right, can't get any of it right except the bare-bones Homesick Texan report, which I'm going to post right now while I wait for the oven to heat and listen to the family "respond" to the Golden Globes from the other room, which amounts to Mark calling out that Amy Adams looks pretty.

Wednesday, I bought a 32 oz. brick of Velveeta (smallest size available) to make The Homesick Texan's soft cheese tacos and confirmed that I don't like processed American cheese except on greasy cheeseburgers. American cheese is fundamentally lame and because my mother didn't buy it, I never acquired a taste for it the way I acquired a taste for Tang, equally lame, which she did buy. To make The Homesick Texan tacos, you roll tortillas around really tasty cheddar, lay them out in a pan, then smother in American cheese sauce, a high-low, bland-sharp combination of flavors that, as Lisa Fain puts it, gives the dish "complexity." Yes, it is complex. Still not my thing. Moderately popular with everyone else.

Her carne guisada, however, is great. You cook beef chuck with chiles and tomatoes for a very, very long time until it basically melts into spicy shreds. We've been working our way through the pot of this delicious stuff for the last 5 days.

Hard to see how I was ever going to get from there to Swept Away. I almost pulled it off, but  not quite. Wish me better luck with the next self-imposed assignment.

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like you should wrap the cheddar and beef in those tortillas. And skip the velveeta.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What works in my house is to mix rotel spicy tomatoes, small can, with maybe 16 oz of velveeta when you cover the rolled up cheese tortillas. But, if you have some left over BBQ chicken or beef add it to the cheese tortillas, which I realize makes it NOT cheese tortillas, but does make it oh so much better. BTW, I didn't realize velveeta was not a real cheese until I was in college, but my family is from Texas since 1870.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How far are you through this cookbook? Sounds like it has been a winner for the most part. I like Velveeta to make Rotel dip and to hide pills for the dogs, but other than that, not so much. The texture is a real turn off for me. Glad you are back. I missed you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ha! Just bought my kids their first bar of velvetta ever. I thought I'd melt it with Rotel for a dip to eat while watching football. It sort of jumped into my cart from a Superbowl display. The stuff is gross cold, but melted in that dip... mmm.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love your self-imposed writing challenge. You never know, ways to link "Swept Away" with Texas could pop in your mind at the oddest time, just when you're not thinking about it. And boy, does that book cover bring back memories!

    ReplyDelete
  6. People always think I'm being snobby when I say I can't stand American cheese, but it feels like melted plastic in my mouth. I have found that when a recipe calls for Velveeta I can substitute a product called "pub cheese" from Trader Joe's. It comes in a tub, and is pretty much just cheddar and cream, kind of whipped together and spreadable. Way, way better than Velveeta, and similarly melty and mild. I'm not sure you could just swap it one for one in a recipe, but you could play with it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rotel + Velveeta + crock pot= every potluck I attended in Texas. Even more than Frito pie.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, Velveeta. So many memories.

    When I was in elementary school, my mom would cut up hunks of Velveeta and send them in my lunch, wrapped in wax paper.

    When I was in college, a Texas friend introduced us to Rotel and Velveeta. One night, very drunk, my roommates demanded it. We had Velveeta, but no Rotel, no corn chips. I served them melted Velveeta and Pepperidge Farm crackers. I don't think they noticed.

    Also in college I worked at Houston's, which had a cheese soup that we were instructed to describe as a "zesty blend of cheeses" when it was made with Velveeta.

    After college, I dated a guy who informed me, in no uncertain terms, that something that came in a loaf and wasn't refrigerated didn't really count as cheese.

    There is a limited edition of the Volkswagen Beetle that is the exact yellow-orange of Velveeta. I call it the Velveetle.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow - your first paragraph sounds like a pitch for a new Quentin Tarantino movie! I love it.
    Velveeta was a comfort food staple growing up and in my mind still nothing beats a Velveeta and white bread grilled cheese with Campbells tomato soup thinned with milk. Chocolate pudding for dessert. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Use that Velveeta to make Ro-Tel dip.

    ReplyDelete
  11. And I see that many other Texans had the same suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Velveeta is to cheese what Kenny G is to saxophonists.

    ReplyDelete