I was assigned the Hash Brown Casserole.
Because it was something that I couldn’t mess up.
It was Christmas morning in Wisconsin. We were staying at my in-law’s for the holidays. I was in the kitchen preparing my dish to bring to the Walt Family Pot-Luck Holiday Dinner.
I’ll be the first to admit that my reputation for cooking was not exactly stellar. (This was several years prior to my Summa Cum Laude graduation from Michael’s Cake Decorating class.)
At any rate, the Hash Brown Casserole was simple to make. A safe bet. All I had to do was mix together 3 bags of hash browns, a couple cans of soup, sour cream and some grated cheese. Simple.
I opened the 1st bag, emptied it into the bowl and dropped the bag into the trash. I opened the 2nd bag, emptied it into the bowl and dropped the bag into the trash. I opened the 3rd bag, emptied it into the trash and dropped the bag into the bowl.
I looked at the hash browns in the trash can. Crap!
(Note this photo is a realistic reenactment of the incident.)
I decided not to panic. Certainly Dave’s Mom must have an extra bag of hash browns in her freezer. This was Wisconsin- the hash brown capital of the Midwest.
OK. Maybe if I cut back on the soup it would work.
Too late. The soup was already in the bowl.
I could just run over to Pick ‘N Save and get another bag of hash browns.
Nope. It was Christmas. Everything was closed.
I looked into the garbage can. And I thought about the 5 second rule (make that 5 seconds in dog years).
Most of the hash browns were piled in the center of the trash can. Just above the coffee grounds. If I was very careful…
And with surgical precision I removed 98% of the hash browns, and placed them into the mixing bowl. The only evidence of my culinary disaster was a shadowy outline of hash brown flakes atop the coffee grounds. I placed the third bag over top to further mask my malfeasance.
I decided to keep this little secret to myself.
It kind of reminded me of my infamous “fish cake”. (http://notesfromanerdling.blogspot.com/2011/03/fish-lips.html)
The casserole was a huge hit. In fact, Dave’s aunt asked me for the recipe.
“Oh, it’s simple,” I explained. “All you need is a couple cans of soup, sour cream, cheese and 3 bags of hash browns."
“Well, actually, 2.98 bags will do in a pinch”.