Monday, 23 September 2013

Reader Recipe: Mushroom Fluff


When reader Bernice sent me some recipes from her mother’s New Zealand church cookbook, I was pretty pumped. I mean, these recipes came from cakers who lived across the world. Considering the farthest I’ve been is across the street, you can imagine how National Geographic-ish I felt as I set out to make Mushroom Fluff.

Ever get the sense that something’s not right when you take it out of the oven? I suppose that applies to most caker food. But in this case, things seemed more "off" than usual. Mushroom Fluff came out looking more like mushroom soup. But, being the trooper I am, I dug in.

A half hour later, the fluff started flopping. Like, real bad. I haven’t moved that fast since Sears had a sale on Wrangler jeans. Naturally, I was mortified when the police showed up at my door. The neighbours had called to report sounds of a “violent commotion.” I couldn’t apologize enough to the police officers and offered to make a caker candy tree for their next fundraiser.

Was it the eggs? The milk? Was it not cooked enough? Who knows? Bernice, I wish I could say my first experience with New Zealand caker food was a good one. But the next time fluff comes a’knockin’, I ain’t a’answerin'.

1 tin mushroom soup
4 ounces grated cheese
½ teacup of milk (see note)
2 eggs

Stir together the soup, the cheese, the milk and the egg yolks. Beat egg whites stiffly and fold gently into mixture. Place in greased dish and bake in hot oven (400 degrees) for 30 minutes.

Note: I assumed this was a ½ cup, but maybe the measurements are different in New Zealand. That might’ve explained the soupiness.

Source: Hataitai Methodist Church, 1964

20 comments:

  1. Wow - that looks truly terrible! Not at all the kind of thing you'd want to impress the girls with on a Canasta night! As far as I know NZ cup measures are the same as US/Canadian ones - I'll check with my Mum. Maybe the soup was a different concentration? Who knows? Doesn't look worth a second try anyway. Gues I'll be sticking with Hukanui Hotpot - mmmmm mutton! Bernice x

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    1. I can't imagine this one impressing too many people, Bernice. Unless those people had been on a desert island for a really, really, really long time. But thanks for the recipe.

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  2. I can't even be polite and honestly say what that looks like. Sorry! :D

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    1. Just say it looks like a piece of abstract art in a exhibition you'd never, ever want to see.

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  3. Tea cups are generally 6 oz. so that would have been 3 oz. or 1 oz. less than 1/2 US cup. I really can't see the extra oz. making that much of a difference. Maybe canned condensed soups have more water in them than they did back in 1964?

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    1. Thanks for that info. You're right - I can't see an extra ounce creating the eggy, steaming swamp that emerged from my oven. Eeesch. Just thinking about it again makes my stomach cringe.

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  4. Yikes, was this photo taken before or after the fluff started to wreak havoc on your digestive system? Frankly though, who hasn't had at least one of these recipe disasters before? This is why you find those handwritten cookbook margin notes that say things like "never again". Thanks for sharing the experience Brian. It has excellent entertainment value for us blog readers.

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    1. If I can spare one other caker from experiencing a gastrointestinal typhoon, then it makes all my pain worthwhile.

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  5. Okay, if we look at this logically, it's really sort of a Caker Souffle: the mushroom soup=cream sauce base, add the egg yolks for richness and stability. Then fold in the stiffly beaten whites and we're definitely into Souffle Territory. Or, rather, what Peg Bracken called a "Whiffle"--a souffle for cowards.
    So what went wrong? Because that looks terrible. Like, the worst thing you've posted on this blog. Like--if you'll pardon the expression--something my dog ate and decided she no longer wanted.
    Whoo.

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    1. "What went wrong?" is a question I've been asking for most of my life, veg-o-matic, in relation to my life in and out of the kitchen. Mushroom Fluff probably is the ugliest thing I've posted, which in its own way, makes it sort of distinguished, I suppose.

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  6. hate it when your stomach starts turning.....I always keep a bottle of Imodium in the medicine cabinet for just such emergencies.

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    1. I keep a pepperoni pizza in my medicine cabinet in case of emergencies. Does the trick every time.

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  7. Love your work Brian - not feelin it for Bernice's Mushroom Fluff though!

    Here's a link to a retro cook-off over at my blog:

    http://lucyvioletvintage.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/i-raise-my-glass.html

    that I thought you might be interested in...be prepared to gag!

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    1. Good lord! Peach Spam Bake? Cod in Custard? You and your fellow bloggers are brave people.
      If anyone likes their food served with a side of WTF, check out the link above. Thanks for sharing, Kylie!

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  8. Oh dear lord... : ( I thought the Tomato Jello was the worst thing I'd ever see on this blog but she passed the crown to Miss Mushroom Fluff. Veg-o-matic was spot on: it looks like dog puke. It's making my stomach turn just seeing it on my screen, I can't imagine it in living colour! You're a trooper Mr. Francis ; )

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    1. Given this blog, I'm pretty used to eating ugly food. I have calluses on my eyeballs. But you're right - this dish hit every branch when it fell out of the ugly tree.

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  9. sounds like it should have been cooked for longer... but then maybe it would have hardened. thumbs down!

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    1. Suzanne, this thing could've been boiled, fried, barbequed and given a once-over with a blow torch and it still wouldn't have helped.

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  10. I think a teacup is actually 5 oz - so half would be 2.5 - and if you used 4, well, I think that's a significant difference in liquid content. But I wouldn't eat it anyway. So it's a difference that makes no difference.

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    1. "A difference that make no difference" is my new favourite expression, right after "A bird in the hand is worth two in your bush."

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