Life is too short to lock yourself into any one style of anything. I know there's a way of thinking out there that dictates that, in life, you have to dress to fit an image, have a career, spouse, car, home, 2.5 kids, etc., or whatever it takes to fulfill that image people see of themselves. I understand it but it's not my way of thinking. I see it much more simply: live everything, taste everything, be everything, experience everything. Life is too short and too incredible to bypass any thing, any experience, or anyone just because we don't think they fit into a mold we've created of ourselves.
Food is one of those things. There is everything great and wonderful and inspiring about working an organic home garden, shopping at farmer's markets and co-ops, dining in the finest, most chi-chi restaurants, etc.. Let me repeat that. There is everything desirable about striving to eat the freshest and most natural of foods, and of being in awe of all that is unique in each other's cultures. Expanding one's taste repertoire is something we should all be invested in, BUT, along the way to meet the wizard, I caution you not to miss out on pleasures in your own backyard in Kansas. In food, the backyard Kansas dishes are what I respectfully call Church Basement Recipes.
Please don't mistake my intentions and tone here in writing. I don't mean to sound chideful at all, maybe rather re-mindful to myself more than anyone else that some of the best things in life really are simple, uncool, and unpretentious. Yes, we should go out of our way to cultivate expansive tastes and we should seek the freshest and most unique in food and food culture, but food culture, like the tortes from my old cake decorating days, have many layers and some of them are not the stars of the cake, they're the structure holding it all together. As I have said at another time and in another place, the A-list anything has my complete and total admiration, but the D-list is no less fascinating to me.
Church Basement recipes are the D-listers and structure in food life. These are the recipes you see at every potluck, in every family gathering, and on the dinner tables of some of the best amateur cooks I have known. They're usually simple, prepared from ingredients easy to find in any market, and are as unpretentious and down home as Paula Deen. Quite frankly, that's why I like her and enjoy watching her butter drenched shows. She so reminds me of my mom and aunts getting together to make a holiday meal. She's the Church Basement Recipe Poster Girl, and I'm not being sarcastic. I say that with utter adoration for someone who has created a career out of stepping in front of a camera, being authentically herself, and having the guts to say with gusto that pickled okra, smashed white bread, and cream cheese sandwiches are not only tasty, but "worth the weight" tasty. And it's not even that I don't believe her. Paula's never led me astray. It's that I admire her cojones to tell the truth as she sees it and to be her giggly, buttery self all the way. I honestly don't know that the food snob in me could be that bold but I'm working on it.
Just as an aside, Sandra Lee, does nothing for me. I find her neither charming, nor real, nor...anything. Where Paula knows who she is and calls her food style what it is: down-home and unpretentious, Sandra's gig is big sweet pile of nothing but a good paycheck. Nothing wrong with a good paycheck but her slipshod, slap it together and serve it up on the gauche tablecloth method doesn't work for me. I personally don't bear her any ill will. I admire anyone who can land a good gig. But I don't get it.
That brings me to why I created WOBAT: Weekend Obnoxious But Amazingly Tasty food blogging. I want to always remember that above and beyond everything else, food is just food and it's fun. It is art and it is life but it's still just food. Berries off the bush and lettuce picked off the ground are food. It's the combinations and preparation that bring along the wonder. Actually, I have to take that last statement back. I've container gardened for a few years and I will say there is infinite wonder and awe in watching a seed sprout and a plant grow that beats any food show or event I've ever attended so what I said before wasn't really accurate. But you know what I mean.
After spending my first career planning banquets and always attending to the most impressive, I now like to remind myself once in a while that there's a reason kids play with their food-- Because it's fun. WOBAT is my way of remembering that little nugget about life. Food is meant to be joyous. Joyous as in all definitions from the religiously pure and sublime to the giggling snort of "No way! Ya gotta taste THIS!".
So in that tradition I give you the second WOBAT: Weekend Obnoxious But Amazingly Tasty food and this time from me it's all about good old Oscar Mayer Braunschweiger. I found this recipe for "Braunschweiger Pate'" in our local Junior League cookbook. It made me laugh. Pate. Uh huh. Technically, pate is simply any spread made from finely chopped or blended and seasoned meat. So TECHNICALLY this recipe is pate', but let's be real. This is a down-home fun dip. And it is tasty. I have never served this at any party that I didn't get asked for the recipe and that's even by people who think they hate liver. By the way, the rosemary lavosh is excellent with this.
Follow the jump to get the recipe.
And for anyone interested in joining me in Weekend Obnoxious But Amazingly Tasty blogging, just send your links to me at Marie9949 (at sign) sbcglobal (dot) net by Sunday evening about 6pm central time to be in the round up on Monday. Anyone who wants to join but doesn't have a blog, just send your recipe (and photos if you have them) to the same email address and I'll post them for you. Don't forget--this is all about having fun!
8 oz Braunschweiger
8 oz Cream Cheese
3 green onions, diced
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Chinese red hot sauce
1 tsp all purpose seasoning salt
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cavenders or other Greek seasoning
Juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or Chimichurri sauce!)
Let all ingredients come to room temperature so they'll mix smoothly with a hand mixer. Chill at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers, baguettes, or lavosh.