July 1, 2019 was one of the gloomiest Canada Days I’ve seen in all my years including in my younger days when it was known as Dominion Day. It was off-and-on rainy, cold (14c/54f), and there was a bitter North-Easter that tossed my silver locks (both strands) in the breeze as Nora and I did our Marcel Marceau walk against the wind number. And a kitchen disaster (see below) the night before threatened to bring that gloom – and a dearth of food – to our Canada Day party. However all turned out well and twenty-two friends joined us for pulled pork, Sloppy Joes (see below), Thai Salad Rolls, Mix Salad, Derrick’s Couscous, Lynne’s Radish Salad, Lori’s Paté, watermelon and Ice Cream Sandwiches. Plus the odd glass of wine or two was consumed and we finally did something with that Guinness that has been in the fridge for a while – well we didn’t but a friend certainly did.
My friend Dr Spo wrote about a recipe for Sloppy Joes that he had come across at Cook’s Illustrated for April 2019. I bought my first copy of CI when it reemerged on the scene in 1993 and continue to purchase each edition for the next 20 years. However in a move I was
forced convinced to give them up to a used book emporium. When it became digital I switched and again became a faithful subscriber. I won’t go into a long tirade on the current state of what had once been my major go-to for so much in the way of culinary research, information, and recipes. Let’s just say that since originator Christopher Kimball was bought out in 2015 it has become a bloated marketing force filled with product placement, endless email offers, and I have the uncomfortable feeling that its equipment testing is highly suspect. However their recipes are still fairly reliable, well researched, and in most cases easy to make.
On the good Doctor’s recommendations – not all doctors is quacks! – said recipe for Sloppy Joes was the one chosen to be included in our Canada Day celebrations. And as he suggests in his post according to all and sundry at our gathering it is a keeper.
So much for the Sloppy Joes (though on the invitation Laurent, with his usual Gaelic sense of le HaHa thought it would be cute to call them Sloppy Willys!!!! Enough said.) but what about the kitchen disaster? Well in a fit of let’s not leave everything to the last minute I decided to do the recipe on Sunday night using a combination of frozen and “fresh” ground beef. I was working in batches and the first two seemed okay however when I went to do the last batch there was a distinctive odour that suggested that something was rotten in the Province of PEI. So at 2300 on a Sunday evening before a major holiday I had to toss two batches of Sloppy Joes and over a pound of ground beef and half my party menu. Plus I had taste tested the earlier batches and that meant my overactive imagination – okay hypochondria – went into overdrive.
Fortunately my tummy upset was entirely in my imagination and the gods of commerce (or the Weston and Sobey families, which are much the same thing) had decreed that the big stores be open from 1100-1500 on Canada Day! A real tums settled the stomach of Le Malade imaginaire and three pounds of newly ground lean beef produced a very satisfying pot of Sloppy Joes.
So a full menu as planned was snatched from the jaws of disaster and guests were sent out into the driving drizzle well and truly fed. Oh and the ice cream sandwiches were a big hit too. That recipe I can give you: take a cookie and put a scoop of ice cream on top of it – take a second cookie and press it down on the ice cream until it reaches the edges of the sandwich. Wrap the cookie in tin foil and put into the freezer until needed.
July 5th has quite the combination of holidays: Apple Turnover Day, Bikini Day, and Workaholics Day. Make of that trio what you will!