Friday, April 23, 2010

Mastering The Art of The Kraft Frittata

The basis of Julie & Julia by Julie Powell rests on the events of one night, when the main character and author Julie, fed up and on her way home from work, picks up a few things from her local Korean grocery store and realizes that, miraculously, the ingredients she held in her hand were perfect for Julia Child's Potage Parmentier recipe. 

So last night, I had my own Julie/Julia moment in my local Bengali-owned cornershop. 

Except, instead of holding items that were the key to a recipe from Mastering The Art of French Cooking, I had the ingredients to a perfect recipe from ... Kraft Kitchen's Food & Family newsletter.  A Oscar Meyer boiled ham and Miracle Whip frittata recipe, to be exact.  Yeah, no pork shoulder or gammon here, the recipe specifically calls for packaged lunch meat.

Now, these are not recipes meant for dinner parties.  These are recipes for soccer moms.  And I know that because the comments and reviews under each recipe say things like, "THANK YOU for this QUICK and EASY recipe, KRAFT!!!  My SIX kids LOVED it and my husband, who's usually a picky eater, dontcha know, ASKED for LEFTOVERS to take to the OFFICE next day!!!  EVEN THE GERBIL WANTED SOME!!! You've made my job as a FULL TIME MOM so much EASIER!!!"

I'm not dissing full time moms.  Nor am I dissing soccer moms.  Or moms with six kids and a gerbil and a non-communicative husband who grunts, caveman like, except to utter the words, "Where's my dinner?" when returning home from the office.  (And for the record, I don't hold any prejudice towards moms who use the phrase, 'dontcha know' either). 

No, I'm just dissing myself, because my mother (bless her, the one who used to loudly proclaim in public that she could "play connect the dots" with the pimples on my pre-teen face) thought I could use some "help" in the kitchen and signed me up to the Kraft newsletter.  Except, she somehow signed herself up instead and now forwards each email to me when she receives them.

The recipes are geared toward people who a) didn't pass 6th grade reading (or can't read at all since there's a video accompanying the recipe) b) either can't or don't have time to cook or c) are lazy.  I think my mom was primarily thinking of b) and c) when she signed me up to this newsletter.  The instructions are basically chop, stir, dump in, put in the oven.  Leave to blowdry your hair (which is what I did). 

As I mentioned before, the recipe called for Miracle Whip, which is not exactly abundant in the UK (actually, it doesn't exist), so I substituted it with mayo.  Bad idea.  It clumped up in the egg mixture like lipids.  Okayyyyy ... so I did what I thought Julie would have done.  I Googled, "What's in Miracle Whip?" and came up with a plethora of answers, one (which I can no longer find, sadly, otherwise I'd link to it) listed the ingredients in Miracle Whip along with the comment, "and other human made nasty stuff!!!"  Okayyyyy ... so I searched my pantry.  Paprika, check.  Garlic powder, check.  A bit of mustard, check.  Human made nasty stuff ... hmm ... not so much (at least, not yet.  Sorry, was that TMI?).  In the end, I sprinkled some paprika in my gloopy mixture and called it done. 

Above is a photo of the result.  The middle is still a bit ... undone, but it's ok, I popped it back in the oven for a few more minutes and it turned out fine.  This particular frittata tasted wonderful (probably because I was starving by 9:15 p.m. when the damn thing finally decided to set) and most importantly, comforting.  There's a reason these Kraft recipes are a good idea, because not only do they save me time, they remind me of real, proper, American food - comfort food.  Brits would sneer at such ideas, but we just keep on keeping on.


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