I've got a hankering

... nag, nag, nag, but I really have deep, dark wish ...

by Betty Rossi

Ever have a hankering? You know, one of those "raise the hair on the back of your neck" hankerings? Well, the
other day, one of my daughter's friends posted a picture of a Melrose High School lunch tray, and all of a
sudden, I was sixteen years old again in good old Melrose High School.

I got a hankering, a right down to your toes hankering for Mrs. Riley's American Chop Suey. Anyone who knows me,
knows that I have been on a quest to duplicate her wonderful, wonderful Chop Suey. You know the kind...ground
beef, elbow macaroni. Easy, right? Wrong!

What in the Sam Hill did she put in there for spices? I've heard, "Don't put cheese on it, it's not Italian" and
"Oh, put in a can of tomato soup" or "Oh, just make it unique to your own family", but no matter how much I've
tried, I've never been able to get "that" taste. What the heck did she put in there? Probably pure grease was
one of the ingredients. I'm Italian. I can cook anything! I don't even need a recipe ninety percent of time But
this? This has me stumped!

Mrs. Riley was old when I was in school, so there is no way to contact her. I can remember, you would give her
your very best smile on American Chop Suey Day and hope that she would fill her spoon a little on the full side.
I don't know of a high school kid today who would even dream of asking a lunchroom person for a recipe. I've
heard in passing.." Eck! The food is gross! Green hot dogs, blah, blah, blah".

Did we complain about the food in the "Caf" when we were kids? I really and truly don't think so. I think that a
lot of the food that they served back then, we also ate at home. Hamburg patties with tiny bits of onion in
gravy (not tomato gravy, brown gravy)...ah, with mashed potatoes and yellow kernels of corn, pudding and milk.
American Chop Suey!

Oh, Mrs. Riley, where art thou?

April 3, 2015

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