You know, even though the Mid-Century Menu is sometimes freaky, sometimes creepy, and sometimes downright disgusting, there are a lot of redeeming qualities to it as well. Hmmm…this description kinda reminds me of an ex-boyfriend. And like that ex-boyfriend, the Mid-Century Menu can be fun, exciting, adventurous and enjoyable in a filthy way that you are destined to feel guilt about later.
But at the time, you really don’t care.
And with that fun intro, I bring you this week’s Menu item: Meat-Crusted Corn Pie. God, even the name sounds filthy.
Anyway, the aforementioned pie comes from another one of the many, many, many, many, maaaaaany cookbooks put out by the Culinary Arts Institute. It was published in 1954 and, as you probably have guessed, it is exclusively about ground meat and what to do with said meat. Yum.
In any case, there were a TON of recipes that were perfectly acceptable candidates for the Mid-Century Menu. A “frosted” lamb meatloaf had my eye for a bit, but in the end I decided on Meat-Crusted Corn Pie. Mostly because of the name (Meat-Crusted Corn Pie! I love it!) but it also had a picture of the finished product, and I have always been a sucker for a pretty face…err…pie. Whatever.
Or in this case, not so pretty. Ugh. I know this is kind of a gross reference, but it kind of reminds me of a scene in South Park where Cartman opens a revenge business in which the only mode of revenge he offers is painting the walls of the person you want to get your revenge on with poop. He actually has little sample cards, like paint colors, with the different “finishes” you can choose, and one of them was Nut and Corn Crunch. The picture of this pie totally looks like that Nut and Corn Crunch card.
Whew. Hope I didn’t lose any readers over that last bit. Aaaaaanyway, here is the recipe.
Let’s do it!
I decided on Grape Nuts for the “brown granular wheat cereal”. I couldn’t think of anything else!
The onions, sauteing in the butter.
Pouring the tomato soup into the corn. Bizarre.
Adding the extra spice to the filling. I was out of marjoram, so I had to skip it. I figured it really wouldn’t make all that much of a difference.
Now on to the second part, the meat crust. It struck me as I was throwing ingredients into the bowl that I was basically making meatloaf. Except it was meatloaf with Grape Nuts. Weird.
Cool picture, huh? If you haven’t noticed already, Tom took all the pictures for this one, and it was really nice because it freed me up to just concentrate on cooking. I didn’t even notice him taking this one, I was so caught up in measuring the seasonings for the meatloaf.
The best part of making meatloaf, mixing it with your hands.
Okay, back to the weirdness. Here I am cramming the meat into a pie plate to make a “crust”. It was more than slightly surreal. As I was trying to form it into a crust the idiot way with my hands (rather than just jamming another pie plate on top to make it neat) Tom was snapping pictures and I was fending off the four cats with my feet. They love raw meat, the little carnivores.
The completed “crust”. Wow. I don’t even have words.
Here it is after the steaming filling has been added. As I was pouring in the filling I realized two things. 1) The pie plate was NOT big enough for this. 2) The fat was NOT going to drain off of the meat. In fact, it was going to stew in it. And then the fat was going to run over the edges and all over the oven.
Here is the Meat-Crusted Corn Pie, straight from the oven. As you can see, an old pizza pan caught the fat so I didn’t have to scrub the oven for days. AND the pie DID stew in its own fat. Yum.
The first slice, piping hot and ready to be eaten. Thankful, all the meat was cooked when we cut into it. I was terrified the pie wouldn’t be done in the middle.
Tom taking the first bite….and…..
“Seriously?” I said, “Is it really good?”
“Yeah,” he said with his mouth full, “it tastes like corn and meat. It needs a layer of cheese and some Fritos and it would be great.”
I took a bite. It DID taste like the base of a Frito pie. Surprisingly, the grape nuts had disappeared into the meat and the “crust” was actually really good. I was shocked.
The Verdict: Really Good. Not your average meatloaf. Even though it was served in a rather bizarre way, it was still tasty in a 1950’s fashion. Change up the spices if you want more zing, and cheese and Fritos would be a good addition as well.