I have written about the influence of my mother-in-law that has inspired my love of cooking. Today I want to share a recipe that my mom would prepare for every party. Growing up in a modest home in Cherry Hill during the 50’s and 60’s was a great experience. We knew all our neighbors; mothers had coffee together rotating from house to house. Friday nights were cocktails with hors-d’oeuerves; Summers meant block parties, pony rides, hand cranked ice cream and 45’s blaring from a record player in someone’s garage. My parents had an elite group of friends, about 12 couples. Our houses were close; next door; across the street; catty corner all within a very short walk of each other. All had children; I being the oldest. My fondest memories are of the parties they held during the Fall and Spring. Each party had a theme This one year my Mom and Dad were the host house for the party. An announcement was made; they were throwing a Beatnik Party. Of course there was time allotted to prepare before the actual date. So all the men grew goatees and let their hair grow a bit longer and shaggy with sideburns. They worn black turtlenecks and black pants. Some wore berets. The women wore black stirrup pants and black sweaters. They carried long cigarette holders with lots of bling and wore large dark glasses. It was a hoot! My mother moved all of the furniture out of our recreation room aka the family room today. She decorated with big pillows on the floor, candles all around. A set of bongos and a guitar were finishing touches. So to the food, there was always a buffet filled with a variety of different dishes. My mom’s contribution was what she called “Bar-b-cue” but in actuality it was really Sloppy Joe. I loved it! Especially with the snowflake rolls she would buy at McMillmans Bakery. I would lie in my bed upstairs and pray for hours as I listened to the records playing on our console stereo. Praying that there would be Bar-b-cue and rolls left over for me; a child’s dream, leftovers! My dream, it did come true and as my parents slept in, I dug in. It was the best breakfast ever! Thanks Mom for saving some “Sloppy Joe” for me!
1 lb ground beef. I like to use ground chicken breast.
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup catsup
1 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon vinegar I use balsamic
Brown meat, if using chicken brown in 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add chopped onion, peppers and celery. Cook over medium low for about 15 minutes until veggies are soft. Add catsup, water, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes then taste for salt and pepper. This is always better when it sits and then is reheated.