A few days before Christmas, Husband, planning for a trip to the grocery asked, “How about lasagna for Christmas Eve?”
“Sounds good. Are you going to cook it?”
“Well, kind of.”
I knew immediately that meant he would be perusing the frozen food aisle of the store. I thought I could do better, so I said, “I’ll make it.”
I have a lasagna recipe that I found in a Good Housekeeping magazine in the 1970s. It was a “Susan learns to cook recipe” that I had never had any complaints about, but neither do I receive accolades the last time I served it to Husband and Son.
Not what I want to hear after spending hours preparing a meal.
I knew immediately where to find a new recipe.
I had seen someone on a morning show make her recipe to raves from the rest of her cast members. I’d try that.
I sat down with my computer and googled, “Joy Behar’s lasagna recipe.” Of course, the result was hundreds of sites offering the recipe.
I started with the first, clicked on the link and started to read. The ingredient list appeared short; it didn’t even include lasagna noodles. I scrolled down to the comment section where the first one mentioned the abbreviated list.
Back to Google, I chose the second link. I read the list of ingredients which was longer than the previous one I had read. I did, however, come across something even I, the self-acknowledged recipe follower rather than cook, questioned. About half way down the list I found this: 1 oz. crushed italian tomato.
One ounce crushed italian tomato?
I felt sure it was supposed to be 1 ounce of capitalized Italian tomato paste or capitalized Italian tomato sauce or anything other than the teeniest bit of capitalized Italian tomato.
Back to Google and a third recipe.
This time, the ingredients list seemed complete and understandable.
I made a grocery list derived from the recipe and went to the store for the ingredients.
A couple of hours before supper, I started to prepare the sauce. Soon I called Son to help with preparing the lasagna noodles and chopping onions, parsley, and basil.
I then asked him to prepare the cheese and egg mixture.
I had what I thought I needed for the sauce at arm’s length so I could quickly add ingredients as the directions called for.
All went well until the directions” Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.”
I added the crushed tomatoes. I added the tomato sauce. I had Son help me with the tomato past since the easiest way to get the most from the can is to open both ends and push the paste through and then removing the lid from the top of the paste glob. Next oregano.
I asked Son if he could find oregano in the list of ingredients.
I didn’t have the fresh that the recipe called for. After a quick examination of the cupboard, I found dried oregano. I dumped (yes, dumped) a bit in the almost sauce trying to compensate for the age of the herb.
Can no one get this recipe right?
I let the guys layer the ingredients. As they were ready to put the dish in the oven, another light bulb went on over my head. I said, “We forgot about garlic bread.”
Fortunately, the grocery was open for about 40 more minutes, so Son and I took off in search of garlic bread.
Of course, while we were in the store, we thought of a couple of other things we’d forgotten. We split up to get what we needed and allow the Kroger employees to get out on time.
I rounded a corner by the pharmacy seeing the pharmacist in the aisles. Having seen me earlier in the day with a very large bottle of cream sherry, she questioned if I’d run out already. (I wasn’t making that recipe until Friday.)
She shared that there wasn’t a drop of egg nog in the entire store. “It’s our family tradition.”
I suggested that she might make her own.
“How do you do that?”
“Well, when you get home, sit down at your computer, bring up Google, and type “e-g-g n-o-g.”
I’m willing to acknowledge, now, that I evidently suffered a disconnect from Google recipe experience.
The finished lasagna was a hit. Son had at least 3 helpings. Husband gave me better than, “eh, it’s okay.” I was content.
Stouffer’s might have been easier. Stouffer’s might not have tasted as good. But Stouffer’s wouldn’t have given me the family time nor this great story to accompany it.
Now, how much oregano do I need to add…?