This week on the Mid-Century Menu, we dive into the field of rice recipes and rice preparation. The book on the left is 75 Glamorous Rice Dishes Economical, Too published by the Louisiana State Rice Milling Company, Inc., makers of Water-Maid and Mahatma Rice. I am not sure of the date of publication of this little booklet, but from the pictures inside, I would guess the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.
Most of the recipes in this book are straightforward main dishes. The rice is usually a supporting character or a side to be served with the actual recipe that is given in the book. No good mid-century American would have accepted rice as a main dish without meat, let’s just put it out there. But what is cool about this book is that it has some interesting dessert and bread uses for rice, which I hadn’t thought of before.
In terms of ingredients, both Water-Maid and Mahatma Rice are available today in your local supermarket, and are distinctive because of their retro packaging and logos.
In any case, I had been hoping to pick out a good stuffed pepper recipe from this book since I have yet to pull out that bastion of 1950’s cooking, but it wasn’t to be this time. As we were going through the recipes, Tom decided that we had to make the stuffed egg recipe because it contains one of his most favorite ingredients. Sardines.
So, since Tom usually does most of the choking down of bad recipes and the almost-always-horrible first bite of questionable recipes, I decided to give the man his sardines. I can’t stand sardines, but I love Tom, so I had to do it.
Hooray. Ingredients. I ended up getting the sardines in hot sauce for the recipe, rather than just the ones in oil. I know, I know, I am supposed to follow the recipe exactly, but these are the only ones that I can even kind of stomach, so that is what I went with.
The eggs all split and ready for business.
The egg yolks and sardines snuggled together in the bowl. At this point, Tom is standing over my shoulder saying, “Don’t pick through them! They are all edible, so you can just mash them up. Don’t pick through them.”
And I say one thing, “There is NO WAY I am not picking through these, so get off my back.”
Hey, a girl has got to have boundries, you know? One thing I won’t do is put something in my mouth without looking at it. I even pick through cans of solid white tuna for the love of god.
And it is a good thing I do. This is what I picked out of the sardines. Uh. Looks like what is left of the cheerleader in a slasher movie.
“It’s all edible!” Tom was waving his arms at this point. “You can eat all of that!”
Then I noticed the fork in his hand. “If you eat those scraps, you are going to be sorry.”
He backed off, grumbling.
The mashed up yolks with the spices and mayo. Now that there aren’t whole fish bodies in it, it looks much better.
Here is the start of the tomato sauce topping. The bay leaf was a good touch, I think. And I didn’t crush it with my whisk, which I was kind of afraid of doing.
The tomato sauce and water is added.
Waiting for the sauce to thicken up. It was a long wait.
The eggs, stuffed and ready to go. These scene may look familiar to regular readers, since this dish is very similar to the Salmon Egg Casserole that we made this summer. That one was bland and salty, but I don’t really have higher hopes for this one, mostly because of the sardines.
Pouring the thickened tomato sauce over the rice.
Okay, rice covered with blood. Check.
Brainballs pushed into bloody rice. Check.
Hey, I am just trying to get into the Halloween spirit here!
A close-up, just in case you wanted to see details of the carnage.
Here is Tom concentrating very hard on spooning out the casserole. I forgot to get a picture of it just out of the oven and with the “ribbon” of tomato sauce poured over it. Apparently I don’t “ribbon” very well, because it just looking like someone had poured tomato sauce over it. Yum.
The first bite.
Deciding if it is good or not.
“So,” I said, “Do you like it?”
“The eggs are good, they are spicy from the hot sauce in the sardines. But I don’t like the rice. It just tastes like rice with tomato soup poured over it.”
I tried it. The eggs were spicy and fishy, but no more fishy than other canned fish stuffed eggs we have had in the past. (I never thought I would be writing THAT line.) The rice wasn’t that bad, but it did taste like tomato soup over rice.
The Verdict: Fishy and Kind of Bland. Without the hot sauce sardines it would have been really bland.
I also made Rice Muffins from the book. I forgot to take a picture, but I think they turned out pretty good. I subbed the milk with some buttermilk we had in our fridge that was going bad, and they ended up tasting very much like a biscuit.