It’s so ironic

I am crumbling crinkle-cut, ranch-flavored potato chips onto a casserole. My husband enters the kitchen and does a horrified double-take. “How long have you been in Alabama?” he asks.

Ha, I say. This is not a new recipe, I say. (I was like this before I arrived. You wait til I start cooking with Giada, then I’ve gone native.) THIS recipe is one from the New York Times Magazine, from when we lived in New York. Well, spring of 1998, so we were actually in London but I clipped it from the Times.

I had tuna noodle casserole for the first time at my friend’s house in sixth grade. I told my mother about it, this amazing dish, and asked her if we could have it sometime but this was exactly the kind of thing she had run to New York City to escape. She made lasagna from a 1950s magazine clipping of her own. She copied the recipe for me when we moved to London. It’s from Glamour. It was my birthday dinner and that was the only time we put pasta in the oven. We never ate noodles. We never used tinned/canned soup as an ingredient.

You would think, perhaps, that the casserole-making mom of my friend was some kind of throwback housewife, but oh, no. She was divorced and did EST. And my friend lived in a loft that used to be the office for a popular gay magazine. They still had the magazine’s men’s bathroom, with urinals and a stall with graffiti. About the last place you’d expect to find tuna noodle casserole.

Rebellion against type takes many forms.

In the 90s, there was this revival of “comfort food,” and the New York Times ran this recipe. I share it with you, but sauté the vegetables first.


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