Monday, September 26, 2011

An Idaho staple.

While mr's parents were visiting, we took the opportunity to have dad IL make his specialty - which is exactly what I'm sharing with you tonight.  However, this recipe comes with a story, and I believe it should be told - although I may not be the best person to do it, having heard it second-hand.  So, if you just want the yummy recipe, I'll understand if you skip to the bottom.  BUT, if you want to be entertained and learn how these ingredients:

Create a delicious dish that came to be known as:

Then you should read first.

mr's parents are from Idaho.  The end.  No, no, just kidding, there's more than that.  Ok.  So mr's parents are from Idaho.  As are their parents.  mr's Grandpa Phil grew up eating his mother's spaghetti - something she apparently had been making for years and years, way back before they even lived in Idaho.  When Grandpa Phil married his sweetheart, Verna, his mom had a little talk with her about spaghetti.  (I actually don't know what prompted this talk - if it was Grandpa Phil instigating it out of love for the recipe, or if it was his mom handing down her beloved brainchild)  In any case, Grandpa Phil's mom taught her spaghetti recipe to Verna who continued to make it for Grandpa Phil.  When their kids came along - including mr's dad - this spaghetti recipe was a favorite at their house.  In fact, it was so well-loved, that none of the kids knew there was a different way to make spaghetti.  When dad IL got older (and again, I don't know the particulars here, but we're talking about a man who had never eaten pizza until he served a mission for our church when he was 19) he was served what someone called "spaghetti" and was utterly disgusted.  This was NOTHING like spaghetti was supposed to taste like!  Spaghetti sauce from a jar??  Unheard of!  
Time went on, and eventually mr's dad married HIS sweetheart.  And in the spirit of tradition, Grandma Verna taught mom IL the secret of great spaghetti.  It was obviously different from what mom IL was used to, and therefore, in order to distinguish between the two spaghetti's, the recipe from mr's great grandma became known as Idaho Spaghetti.
Why Idaho when she was actually originally from Indiana?  It might make more sense, considering mr's mom is also from Idaho and had never heard of it before... but alas, it was dubbed Idaho Spaghetti and the name stuck.  
And so, mom continued making this recipe for dad, and later for mr and his siblings, until finally one day she declared - mostly to herself, I think - "I just don't like it."  
Turns out, since she had grown up eating spaghetti spaghetti, she just couldn't get used to the new stuff.  From that day on, when she made spaghetti, she made it her own way.  Which meant mr's dad wouldn't eat it.  And when mr's dad made spaghetti he made it HIS way.  And mr's mom wouldn't eat it.
I was first introduced to Idaho Spaghetti before mr and I were married when I joined his family for a winter trip to Yellowstone.  I was skeptical.  I mean, look at those ingredients!!  But in complete amazement, I had to admit that I really liked it.  A lot.
I don't know if or how the recipe was handed down to dad's siblings and their kids, but I do know that as far as we go, the tradition has definitely NOT stopped with mr's parents.  mr loves Idaho Spaghetti so much more than normal spaghetti that I've stopped making it.  The first time mr made Idaho Spaghetti for all of us, bug ate more than I'd ever seen him eat in one sitting.  Obviously, we quickly put it into our normal dinner rotation.  Now our kids will likely have an experience like mr's father did - a moment of shock when tasting what the rest of the world considers spaghetti.

So how do you make it?  Interestingly enough, dad informed us that we were actually making it wrong which automatically turned it into an entirely different dish - albeit one that was remarkably similar to Idaho Spaghetti.  According to dad we were making Wisconsin Spaghetti.  And that's how mr's dad came to be cooking for us while on vacation at our home.

Just so you know, there are a few VERY SPECIFIC details that MUST be in place in order for Idaho Spaghetti to BE Idaho Spaghetti.  Things mr and I hadn't realized the importance of.  First off, the ingredients (you saw them above, but I'll show you again):

You must use normal spaghetti.  Not "spaghettini," not "spaghettoni," not capellini or bucatini (and yes, those are all real things...).  Just spaghetti.  Also, you must use Campbell's Tomato Soup.  Not Roundy's or Aldi's or whatever generic store brand you've got there.  And apparently, it's only Idaho Spaghetti with French's Mustard and Heinz Ketchup.  No other brands.  Now you know.  Use only a white onion.  That's important too.  You don't have to buy the cheap ground chuck, like I did there... 

Here is the recipe:

Idaho Spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
1 box spaghetti
1 can Campbell's tomato soup
1/2 of a white onion
4 Spoonfuls of white sugar
Squirt of mustard
dash of salt and pepper
Ketchup to taste

Heat a skillet over medium.  Coarsely chop the onions and add them to the skillet.  Add the ground beef, salt and pepper to taste.  Start boiling water for the spaghetti.  Once the beef is browned, drain it and add the tomato soup, mustard and sugar.  Mix it really well.  Cook the pasta al dente.  Serve by placing the sauce on a plate, topping it with some spaghetti noodles and cover it with ketchup to taste.

So, coarsely chop some onions.  Brown the ground beef and add the onions.  Lightly salt and pepper it.

 Put the spaghetti in a pot of boiling water, lightly salted.  What's that?  I'm insulting your intelligence by showing you how to cook pasta?  Oh, ok.  Moving on.

Side note: this is what happens when you ask the three yr old to set the table.

Once the beef is all browned and the onions are translucent and soft, add the tomato soup and stir it up.

Then add a squirt of mustard.  Like this much:

And although I don't have a picture of this, add about 4 spoonfuls of sugar.  Now just mix it all together.

While you're doing all of this, make sure you don't overcook the spaghetti.  mr's dad couldn't stress that enough.  He even threw a noodle at our cupboards to make sure it would stick.

The way you serve it is also important.  Slop that beef sauce down on the bottom, pile the noodles on top of that and top it all off with ketchup.

And then mix it all together.  You can decide how much or little ketchup to add.  That part is up to individual taste.

And that is how you make true blue Idaho Spaghetti.  Although in our house, it's called "Spigdaddy" thanks to bug who can't quite pronounce it the correct way.  But it makes sense.  When this is on the menu, it's always mr who makes it.  Definitely a Mueller tradition.

PS - I know it looks weird, but I SWEAR it's good!  BUT, if this doesn't seem like your cup of tea, check out my other favorites:
Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
Cafe Rio Knockoff
Authentic Schnitzel and Red Cabbage
Potato Croquettes
Creamy Parmesan Pasta and Tomato Pie
Fish Tacos with White Sauce
Lemon Pull Aparts
Lemon Cake Pie
Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
Coconut Chicken

(Or you could just click "cook" over in the categories...)

OH!  Seriously, people, don't forget to enter the My Memories Suite Software giveaway!  It's NOT just for scrapbook templates or even just for photo albums.  AND it's a sweet deal!

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!


Amie {Kitty Cats and Airplanes} said...

Huh. I lived in Idaho for five years and I've never even HEARD of this!! I must give it a try though, otherwise I might as well not even mention that I lived in Idaho for five years.

LP aka A Crafty Southern Chick said...

Girlfriend,you always keep us on our toes! haha :)

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