This week, on the Cooking With Archon Show, we will be featuring a comfort food recipe. This is one that was taught to me by my Father, although, with typical 1940s/50s male entitlement, he made sure that it was my Mother who prepared it. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking about that comfort in a cup – or mug, or bowl, or even on a plate.
Now the term slumgullion actually has a rash of related meanings.
a stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc.
a beverage made weak or thin, as watery tea, coffee, or the like.
the refuse from processing whale carcasses.
a reddish, muddy deposit in mining sluices.
But it’s that delicious, nutritious dish…. Who are we kidding? Often there was barely enough food value to keep body and soul together.
The word started as an 1840s-50s Americanism, coined by poor Scottish/Irish immigrants. It took the Celtic term gullion – a quagmire, or cesspool, and added the term slum, which was where it was common. The first definition says that it was a stew with meat, but there was often little or no meat.
It was one short step up from stone soup, a warm, filling, often vegetable, stew. There is no “recipe.” My Dad referred to it as an empty the fridge meal. Boil a beef bone for stock if you have one, and chop up and add all the leftovers. Serve with a piece of bread if you have some, to sop up the last drops.
I recently viewed a video where, for the first time ever, I heard someone actually use the word ‘kludge.’ This is a kludge dish! It ain’t pretty. It ain’t fancy. It ain’t gourmet. It’s just jammed together from whatever is on hand – but it works. I’ll probably still be licking my spoon when you return in a few days for the next course.