Tag Archives: M*A*S*H

Helmet H*A*S*H | M*A*S*H

Suicide is painless, having the same meal every day is not. After a while, it will get on your nerves. With my own experience deployed to a tent city in the military, I can attest to the fact that the food leaves a lot to be desired. Like, you start to desire real food. Even a guy like the mostly laid-back, often sardonic Hawkeye Pierce can only take so much.


Even though hash had been around well before the 1940s and 50s, it gained popularity as a WWII-era dish that uses potatoes and other cheap vegetables with leftover meat to extend its shelf life (and appeal). During and after WWII, meat was scarce. On the front lines of the Korean War, fresh meat was just as scarce if available at all. Mess cooks who had to make meat last a little longer naturally added the dish to its staple of mess tent menus. I mean… you have to something to break up the monotony.

"All it needs is a little salt... pepper... mustard, ketchup, sauce, flavor." – Trapper John

“All it needs is a little salt… pepper… mustard, ketchup, sauce, flavor.”

To put it the way a Chicago Tribune writer did in a 1988 piece on the history of hash, “hash has always been a dish made of leftovers.” So maybe you have a chunk of turkey or pork lying around?

Orrrrr maybe there's leftover meat from the ONE DAY EVERY YEAR everyone attempts corned beef.

Or maybe there are some leftovers from the ONE DAY EACH YEAR everyone attempts corned beef, but hardly anyone eats at all, let alone a big slab of salty meat?

The 4077th M*A*S*H was positioned close to the front lines of the Korean War. Though Private Igor Straminsky did his best to keep the food he served fresh, it was likely mostly from a can or other low-quality ingredients. Hawkeye’s aforementioned rebellion notwithstanding, almost every episode of the series referenced the food. In fact, the actor who portrayed Pvt. Straminsky wrote a cookbook in the late 1990’s, called Secrets of a M*A*S*H Messwhich included recipes for Pork Choppers with Barbeque Sauce, Intravenous Drip Dip, and Frontline Flapjacks, among others.

"Peas and carrots? I can't tell which is which."

“Peas and carrots? I can’t tell which is which.”

The book also includes the private’s recipe for Helmet Hash, which is a good thing, because I just spent all this time setting this recipe up and I’d hate to let you down.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. meat (Pvt. Igor calls a preference for sausage but I used Corned Beef because I wrote this in late March)
  • 1/4 c Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup diced yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup each diced red and green bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked, diced, unpeeled red potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Honestly, the real thing you’d have to worry about when serving this to people is overcooking the potatoes before you add them to the rest of the ingredients before you bake it all together. If you’re cooking for realism or to be true to the show, you would really just be cooking the hell out of it.

I like to immerse myself in food.

The hell I don’t mind so much, it’s the flavor you’ll miss. 

Preparation Orders:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Brown the meat, let cool, then chop coarsely
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onions, garlic, peppers, celery, and cook until tender
  4. Add chicken stock, potatoes, meat and seasoning. Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool before serving.

Helmet Hash is best served with a dry, dirty martini.

IMG_0885

“Attention all personnel: Due to circumstances beyond our control, lunch will be served today.”

Yes, I do happen to own a North Korean flag and Chairman Mao chopsticks.

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Cheesy Blasters | “30 Rock”

by Blake Stilwell

We’ve been getting down to some really great food lately, from some really great viewing. I think it’s time for two things: First, a return to some quality junk food. Second, an homage to one of the dearly departed shows from last season. A lot of TV left us last season, and they ranged in quality on a scale of “Whitney” to “The Office” (which should have been put out of its misery long ago, actually).

Though I’m not as heartbroken about most of them as I was when NBC cancelled “My Name Is Earl” (WELL before it’s time and the primary reason for my grudge against Ben Silverman), I do miss 30 Rock. I didn’t love the show at first, because the first season was just not that great, in my opinion. But it got better. So much better. Comedy, when used to point out flaws in a society, is the highest form of art. This is what 30 Rock became and deserves it’s inclusion with other comedic classics, like Archie Bunker, M*A*S*H and everything George Carlin ever said, did or wrote. It should also be part of our one-stop visit to junk food, because it’s the holiday season and we’re expected to gain a few pounds. We can’t disappoint.

Season four of 30 Rock begins with a jab at the trend of unhealthy food in America. This first scene actually takes a jab at so many things that 30 Rock would come to address throughout the season, such as the perception of the “Real America.” Below is just the appearances of the Cheesy Blasters, from two different episodes.

The recipe, as mentioned by Liz Lemon, is pretty straightforward. This is good for me because my cooking means are limited until next year. It’s good for you because this cheesy delight is also pretty easy to make. (And I have to admit… they’re pretty good.) So this recipe isn’t so much as what ingredients to use, but more so how to cook them into the best Cheesy Blaster one could muster.

For the jack cheese, I went with Monterey Jack, because it’s all I could find where I am. But it was a good choice. If I were in the States, I would have gone for Pepper Jack, because I’m spicy like that. Monterey, while a little less flavorful, is still a perfect accompaniment to the beef franks.

Jack Donaghy_0

And both are as American as Jack Donaghy.

I’m going to come right out and announce that I don’t like to boil hot dogs. I don’t eat them a lot, but when I do, I want them to at least have a little flavor (without knowing what went into them). As we all know, unless you’re adding something to the water, boiling sucks the flavor right out. This is probably why Liz Lemon uses cheese instead of water when making stew.

So I cut the (all-beef) dogs length-wise and stuffed the cheese in there, so as to cook them while melting the cheese.

photo 1

Next, I cooked up a pizza. It surprised me how popular as pizza is here in the Palestinian Territory, but it was still very difficult to find a hot dog-sized one. I recommend a smaller, personal pizza in retrospect, because cutting up awkward slices of pizza to wrap around a hot dog takes more time than you want to use on this. Also, cook the pizza first and then start the hot dogs when the pizza has about five minutes left. Doing it the other way around just allows the cheese to congeal. It’s important to remember that Time is not on your side.

Once the cheese is good and melty and the hot dogs are done, take those dogs and wrap it in the pizza. You got Cheesy Blasters.

photo 4

Thanks, Meat Cat.

Due to the awkward nature of the pizza, I had to go for a less burrito-style and more of a taco-style wrap. Burritos are a guaranteed disaster at certain times anyway.

These are like the McGangbang, they look revolting and are definitely not something you should eat regularly, but they taste surprisingly good, and even more surprising, the texture is good as well. Definitely high-grade junk food.

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