Surprise! It’s time for another Mid-Century Menu meal! Much to my joy, and Tom’s consternation, this week’s menu contains two elements that guarantee that this will be a memorable meal. The first one is the title of the recipe. Now, in the real world, the word “surprise” usually has a pleasant connotation. Oh, not all of the time. I know this. There are good and bad surprises. But they vary. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.
This is not the case in Mid-Century Cooking. “Surprise” in the title of a recipe is bad. Always. It signals that there is an ingredient lurking in that rather bland looking casserole, an unexpected and crazy ingredient. And you are almost always sorry when you find it.
In this case, “surprise” means that we are going to be jamming unsuspecting fish sticks and dill pickles into innocent corn muffin mix, and then laughing manically because, well, I am pretty sure that is how you act when you’ve gone over the edge.
As a super-bonus, and as the second element that guarantees a memorable meal, the cookbook I got this recipe from has “unusual” in the title.
Unusual Old World and American Recipes, 1972, brought to you by the awesome people at Nordic Ware, who just weren’t able to leave good, solid corn muffins alone, god bless ‘em.
So, are you surprised?
That means it’s time to rock and roll.
As a change of pace, and in an attempt to be a more agreeable person overall, I am only going to say good things about this recipe. Starting…..now.
Good Thing #1: This recipe didn’t take long to prepare. It used pre-packaged products, so I didn’t have to slave over a double-boiler filled with white sauce that doesn’t want to thicken.
Good Thing #2: I was able to cook the fish sticks ahead of time so that they wouldn’t be all soggy inside of the corn muffin mix.
Good Thing #3: I got to use Jiffy Corn Muffin mix, which I enjoy but hardly ever make.
Good Thing #4: Tarter sauce is actually gooey enough to glue a pickle to a fish stick.
Good Thing #4.5: That was a sentence I never expected to be typing on this blog, and yet there it is.
Good Thing #5: Mini loaf pans can fill in when you are in a pinch because you can’t find your corn stick pan.
Good Thing #5.25: When you call your mom to ask her where a pan is you haven’t seen in 10+ years, she doesn’t get mad at you. (“Mom! Where is that stupid corn stick pan thing????” “Honey, I have customers waiting for me to cut them fabric. Can this wait? Please?”)
Good Thing #5.5: The cat with a gluten allergy that likes to eat corn muffin mix was taking a nap. (Take that, Smidge!)
Good Thing #6: To everyone’s utter astonishment, this stupid recipe actually works.
Good Thing #7: Tom looks awesome in his new glasses.
Good Thing #7.5: Tom was willing to eat these things for lunch.
“There are fish sticks in here.”
“Yeah, I know.”
I took a bite, too. We chewed thoughtfully together.
“Not too bad, if you don’t mind eating a corn muffin with a fish stick in it.”
I nodded. “The pickle isn’t too bad either. Though, if I was going to make this again, I would use sweet pickles.”
“Don’t make this again.”
“I won’t, don’t worry.”
We both kept chewing. Finally, Tom finished his loaf. “So, what’s this called anyway? Corn Muffin Surprise?”
I laughed. “That’s close. Really, really close.”
The Verdict: Edible. Not something delicious by any means. Would probably be enjoyed by small children, sans pickle. But, in the spirit of keeping things positive, the recipe totally delivered what it promised: A fish stick surprise.