hobo casserole

If you had to pick one food/dish that reminded you of your childhood, what would it be?

My first inclination is pancakes.  My mom made pancakes every Saturday morning.  As I got older, we were allowed to sleep in, but that didn't mean I missed out.... there was a green bun warmer that lived on the stove, and without fail - there would be pancakes in there, still slightly warm.  I can picture the yellow mixing bowl full of batter as we speak.  Some days after school, we had pancake pb&j as our snack.  Pancakes are a natural choice for my response.

But pancakes don't make for a very exciting blog post, so I'm switching midstream.

I realize now that there were days we had really limited resources. I guess I didn't see it then because we never went without a meal. No matter what, we always had a warm "supper" to sit down to and eat together as a family. I loved my mom's homemade pizza and chalupas, but I have to go with a dish that is somewhat notorious in our home. It is lovingly referred to as "Hobo Casserole."  That isn't what we called it when we were kids - I think we called it "hot dog casserole." Because that is what it is.  It consists of potatoes, hot dogs and celery in a flour based gravy.

This is the closest picture I can find, but it is totally wrong:

Our hot dog pieces were smaller, there were no peas and I don't remember having cheese on top.  But MAN, it was good.  I think it is true that "love" is sometimes the extra ingredient - that is the only way I can make sense of this now that my palate is a little more refined.

We haven't had Hobo casserole in a long time. Fortunately, none of us face the reality where a $1 pack of hot dogs is the only meat we can afford.  But when I think of it, it may as well have been caviar or foie gras - because it provides me with memories that are just as rich. 

Scratch that... the memories are priceless.

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