Classic

When I was a kid ┬áin the 90’s there were several meals that were staples in our family’s diet: Hamburger Helper, some sort of meal of a protein, a roll, and a canned or frozen veggie, or casseroles. Now, my parents and I cook more like Barefoot Contessa than the Hamburger Helper Glove. This is fitting of current food trends: less boxed kits and freeze-dried mashed potatoes and more artisanal ingredients and organic produce.

When I graduated from college, my mom thoughtfully assembled our families favorite recipes in a cute recipe box so that I could make some of home wherever I was. One of my favorites include Grandpa’s Party Potatoes, which my grandpa did not make but some cute Grandpa somewhere in America did and sent it into Southern Living for my mom to then adopt. I also love other recipes that my mom gives credit to people that mean a lot to our family; My Aunt Pat’s yeast rolls are in there along with my Great Grandmother’s sour cream pound cake.

I love getting to make food that has a history behind it. Whenever I have a friend who has lost a loved one or going through a challenging time, I want to make them something that they can start having a history with and that kind of thing is a casserole. I think something warm, gooey, and “safe” can be such a comfort.

I think I may be one of the few people who buys the Cream of Chicken soup at my hipster neighborhood Kroger. Solely because casseroles are responsible for the rare occasion for Cream of Chicken soup. Like, when was the last time you wanted a bowl of warm Cream of Chicken soup?

Friday night, my boyfriend and I were both tired from the week and not in the mood to go out to dinner so I pulled up trusty ‘ol Pinterest for some inspiration. To be frank, there is a lot of garbage on Pinterest. Sometimes, I will pull up a recipe and it looks like it’s just cream cheese, butter, salt, and 1/2 of a clove of garlic. I was looking for something easy, yummy, and in the vein of what I was craving (buffalo wings, natch).

I found “Buffalo Chicken Tater-tot Casserole” on PlainChicken.com

Here’s the link to the recipe

It filled all of my cravings: warm, gooey, carb filled, and buffalo slathered. I personally omitted the celery that they said to bake on top and I swapped one of the cups of sour cream for a cup of ranch dressing. Next time I make it, I will add bleu cheese crumbles.

After I pulled the casserole out of the oven and took a big bite, I felt calm. I could finally unwind with my kind, supportive significant other and watch Haunting at Hill House. (Which the show is like a really spooky “This is Us.) This is the new memory of home I’m glad I can now associate to a new casserole recipe. Buffalo Chicken Tater-tot Casserole is a great new addition to my comfort food repertoire.

 

 

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Dreams

I am that person who tells you about their dreams. When I was a kid (and teen), I would wake up and HAVE to tell my mom what I dreamt. She would listen but let me know (in that Southern motherly way) that talking about dreams is pointless. I have always been fascinated with dreams regardless of the times my family would role their eyes when I started, “Last night, I had the weirdest dream…”

A year and a half ago I found the therapist of my dreams. She is a dream person too! We both share the belief that dreams not only a way to process what you experience in your waking hours but they are our subconscious speaking to us. There have been many discussed dreams that felt so significant and she helped me to understanding their impact in my waking life. I dream virtually every night and occasionally dream about reoccurring places. Seriously, I dream of a mall where I know where all of my favorite stores are, just in case you want to go back in time to Claire’s and get some bff earrings.

A few nights ago, I dreamed about wings! No joke, for the first time in my wing slinging life I pined for wings in my slumber. In my dream, I was at a restaurant counter about to order a 10 count wing special and my so-called friend told me I only needed 5. Needless to say, I need new dream friends.

It’s not surprising that I dreamed about wings because I generally crave wings on a weekly basis. I think there is more to my poultry desires. To me it represents limitations, especially the ones that others put on us. Ideally, I would like to think the wings in my dream represent the things I love and am passionate about it. The “friend” telling to order less represents people in my life putting limitations on what I’m capable of.

A few months ago, I was asked to speak on a Women in Film panel at Dragon Con and I told my employers about this exciting opportunity. I was met with a jaw-dropping response. I was told that I was not capable of speaking on the subject and that they want me replaced. I was stunned, shocked, and immediately began questioning my abilities. Were these people right? Am I not experienced enough to speak on my time in production, my time as a writer, my time as a show producer, my time as a stand-up comedian, my time as a junior agent, my bachelors degree, and everything I have done in the Atlanta entertainment industry? It took a few days for me to finally say to myself…

Why the fuck are you letting these people define you and question your abilities?

I got the courage to stand up for myself and I told them, “This was a personal invitation based on my experience and eduction.” They dropped it until it was brought up again to the company president in an effort to create unnecessary hurdles.

I was done and it inspired me to rip off the restrains of others insecurities and definitions of me.

It was the toughest, scariest, and best decision of my life to take control and say, “I want ten wings, I am going to order 10 wings even if you think I cannot handle it.”