What’s for supper? Vol. 6: In which we enjoy the World Meeting of Families by eating

What’s for supper? Vol. 6: In which we enjoy the World Meeting of Families by eating September 28, 2015

whats for supper We took the baby and drove to Philadelphia on Thursday, so I could speak at the World Meeting of Families on Friday. Philadelphia, it turns out, is far away, and it takes a long time to drive there. The baby thought this was bullshit, even despite the crackers and rice rusks and wagon wheel puffs we kept throwing at the back seat. We have decided that next time we decide to drive to Philadelphia with a baby, we will change our minds, and not. Anyway, here is what we had this past week, before, during, and after our adventure:


Sunday we went apple picking corrie apples with my parents, my sister Rosie and her family, and my brother Jacob and his family. apple orchard family Lovely day! Long ride home, frozen pizzas hit the spot.


This was one of those days where I kept on finishing up some task and then saying, “Okay, NOW I can get started on supper,” and then the phone would ring and I would have to throw the kids in the car and drive around for another forty minutes. As a result, I rushed and scrambled and screwed both recipes up six different ways, but they both survived, and will both stay on the rotation. The Zuppa Toscana is one of those Olive Garden copycat recipes. I didn’t have any bacon for the soup, and used half and half instead of cream, but it was still mighty tasty. I bought sausage in casings and squeezed the meat out, blushing heavily the whole time. zuppa toscana Here’s the pumpkin bread recipe. I foolishly tripled the recipe, which was way too much even for us. It made two loaves, a dozen muffins, and a giant casserole, plus a bunch of batter that I just lapped up like the hungry, batter-eating dog that I am. Here’s a picture of Benny helping me make this recipe a year ago, when I had my shit much more together:

She was saying, “Look at me, Mama! I greatest.”

In the blog post where this photo appeared, I said:

Today we were short a few eggs, so we just mushed up a couple of bananas in their place. Sometimes I put demerara sugar on top, sometimes I add wheat germ, sometimes I add walnuts, almonds, or (to everyone’s chagrin) raisins, but mostly I just make the recipe as is — except I double it, which yields 24 muffins and two loaves. They are lovely and moist, and very good for adding to the kids’ lunches; and while, okay, they are essentially cake, pumpkin is a vegetable! It’s a vegetable.

Wheat germ? Settle down, lady. Isn’t it weird when you read something you wrote not long ago and think, “Who is that?”


Tuesday was my daughter Clara’s birthday. (She’s having a Hobbit-themed party in a few weeks.) Spaghetti al carbonara is a magnificent dish, so easy to make, so easy to accidentally eat several gallons of. We follow the Fannie Farmer recipe. I fried up the bacon ahead of time, then disguised it in about eleven layers of tin foil and hid it in the back of the fridge with a threatening note attached. Once that was done, the rest is really quick to throw together. Really good company dish. For the sundaes, I couldn’t find hot fudge sauce at Aldi, so I made this quick chocolate sauce recipe: Mix together in a heavy pot 12 oz. of chocolate chips and 12 oz. of evaporated milk. Heat slowly while stirring until it’s all melted and smooth, then add 2 tsp. of vanilla. It turned out a little grainy, probably because I kept wandering away from the pot; but it was still rich and yummy, and the birthday girl 10556926_10152488408707029_7695607588346500453_o pronounced it good.


Asparagus is the natural choice for a meal like this, because you suddenly remember there is asparagus in the house, and it’s not getting any younger. Whenever my mother would serve asparagus, my father would say, “Look, kids, see how much Ima loves you? She took the time to braid each individual asparagus tip!”

ima and abba
my parents

My only other comment is that few culinary events are sadder than overcooked asparagus. It should be really crunchy when it’s done, so it doesn’t lose that nice nutty flavor. I just put a half inch of water in a pan, boil it, throw in the asparagus with a loose cover, and cook it for a few minutes, and then sprinkle some lemon juice over it. I could eat a bushel of it. Then my husband went out and bought a bag of popcorn and a bag of sugar, and then my mother-in-law came over. Then we left town!

corrie driving

And then the dress I ordered came in the mail. Humph. We managed to get to New York just before the Pope did on Thursday, then we got to Philadelphia just as the World Meeting of Families was wrapping up (I think my talk was the last one) on Friday, then we left Philadelphia just before the Pope got there on Saturday. Because that’s how we do, stuff, okay? We stopped in New Jersey and bought a solar powered waving pope and some salt water taffy for the kids, because certain three-year-olds had extracted certain promises from me before we left. I wish I could tell you more about World Meeting of Families, but I really only went to my event! No time for anything else. We didn’t even get there in time to see the vendors, and we had to leave before everything shut down completely for the Pope. Everyone I met seemed to be having a splendid time, though. Back to the food!

THURSDAY HOT DOGS, CHIPS, RAW PEPPERS and HUMMUS if you’re a kid stuck at home

I think this is what they ate.  We had some kind of overpriced pizza with tons of things on it for dinner. First pizza with anchovies on it. Tasty.

corrie hotel
Corrie settles in to her hotel bed; wonders where her parents will be sleeping.

FRIDAY RAVIOLI if you’re a kid stuck at home

Buck-a-shuck raw oysters, and then cheesesteaks, if you’re in Philly

oysters We’d never had raw oysters before, and we weren’t super hungry yet, so we got a bunch of buck-a-shucks at some place called The Olde Somethinge. Verdict: they taste fine. They are pretty good with horseradish. No regrets, but no particular reason to ever order raw oysters again, either. (The chicken and fries were for Corrie, after the waiter tipped us off that it would be cheaper to buy her a whole kid’s meal than just fries.) Then we walked around the city for a while

You people of Philadelphia, you live like gods.
You people of Philadelphia, you live like gods.

until we got hungry enough to look for cheese steaks, which turned out to be yummy, being as they were made out of cheese and steak. Good one, Philadelphia!

yummy little cheesesteak
yummy little cheesesteak

SATURDAY I dunno. Pretty sure people ate things.

 meal plan (1) So, Philadelphia! We briefly met some wonderful people, caught glimpses of some gorgeous neighborhoods, and had the impression that it’s an awesome place. I heard someone speaking Spanish with an Australian accent, and watched some Franciscan friars in patched robes patiently, kindly engage a sweaty man with a giant “NEW ‘CHURCHES’ ARE CORRUPT” protest banner. After driving seven hours with a screaming baby who somehow didn’t need to sleep at all that night, and arguing with a front desk clerk who insisted that our room wasn’t paid for, and getting on the wrong train repeatedly, and going to the wrong door repeatedly, and then ending up in the wrong building, and calling people who said they could be called for help, and hearing that their voice mailbox was full, we found ourselves dashing around the Convention Center, which is the size of Rhode Island, trying to figure out where, if anywhere, my credentials were. Seeing our plight, a woman came up and said, “I’m from Philadelphia. Want some help?” She then walked us alllll over the place until she delivered us to the right spot, pointed out the best-stocked bathroom, and disappeared. If I get to Heaven and my guardian angel has her face, I won’t be surprised. Here’s a few pictures my husband took during my speech while he held the baby (him holding the baby was kind of a theme that weekend): wmof 3   That is Bishop Gainer of Harrisburg, much-beloved of his flock. wmof 2 Here is where the audience’s attention started to wander, so I just started singing show tunes: wmof show tunes   And here I am on the street afterward, suddenly realizing that I’d rather get Pennsylvania Hookworm than spend another second in those heels: wmof shoes off   Oh, one more: Here is us finally meeting Tom McDonald, who was covering the event for the Register. Corrie could not take her eyes off his hair: wmof with tom Whew! What a week. Then we came home and went shopping so we could eat this week, too, and then watched one of the Pope’s speeches*, and picked the grapes before they withered on the vine, and even caught the lunar eclipse. All Hail my mother-in-law, Helen Mary, who kept everyone happy, healthy, and whole while we were gone; and all hail to my husband, for making the crazy drive and dealing with that crazy baby and crazy me, and carrying a million bags all over creation. He even took a picture of my eyeliner so I would believe him when he said it wasn’t smudged. I think I’ll skip the link-up this week. Let’s do this again on Friday! *** *Me: We’re going to listen to the Pope’s speech now.
Irene: What if I don’t understand all the words he uses?
Me: Just keep listening. Anyway, he’s not one to use really big, fancy, complicated words, like . . . like . . 
Irene: Like “metamorphosis”?
Me: Yeah. Wait. Irene, you know what metamorphosis means.
Irene: Oh, yeah. 

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  • Jen

    Oh wow. Yeah, I was at the WMOF most of the week as well, and I’m telling you, the devil was busy in the details! There was no end to the mix-ups, mash-ups and mess-ups that were really no one’s fault, but just the result of bringing that many excited, passionate people, and one very high-profile and popular pope together in a city that is rather cramped and confusing on a slow day. Still, it was an awesome experience and my only regret is that I didn’t get to stay for your talk. I waited all week, and then we had a family emergency and I had to leave on Thursday. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Back to real life….

  • Eileen

    You’re a very pretty girl! And you look like you really enjoy public speaking!

    Our week in food:

    Saturday: Steaks on the grill. Corn on the cob. Copycat Friday’s potato skins. Broccoli
    Sunday: My husband and I went out to a birthday dinner for a dear friend of ours. Fortunately, we checked the restaurant menu before we left, saw it was ALL fish (we hate fish!) and enjoyed some hot dogs with the kids before we left for our overpriced dinner where all we did was shuffle the food around our plates.
    Monday: I don’t remember
    Tueday: Chicken broccoli stir fry.
    Wednesday: I made chicken pot pie (filling only) in the crock pot. I never did this before. Super easy. I just threw everything in and let it cook all day. The hardest part was slicing the chicken and potatoes. Some recipes call for putting in the veggies toward the end, but I threw them in frozen in the morning along with everything else and let them cook all day and I don’t think we were any worse for the wear for it. We ate it with some Pillsbury Grands that I must’ve bought last Thanksgiving – I figured we should eat them before they went a full year out of date. 🙂
    Thursday: Chicken tacos
    Friday: Frozen pizza.

  • Tori

    I am totally making that Spaghetti Carbonara tonight for dinner, thanks!

    Here was last week:
    Saturday: This was Saturday over a week ago, and my brain just can’t remember. I’ve been doing really easy stuff on Saturdays for the most part, so I’m sure you’re not missing anything.
    Sunday: Weekly dinner at my parents’, my mom made my grandma’s meatballs in mushroom sauce recipe. A family staple and so, so good.
    Monday: Chicken parmesan, I could eat this every day. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/chicken-parmigiana/
    Tuesday: Date night! The kids had tortellini soup. Hubby and I had a coupon to Mimi’s cafe, and I think we were the youngest couple there by a long shot. The food was fine; I had pot roast and he had roasted chicken. Stuff we could have made at home, but it was nice to have someone else cook it anyway.
    Wednesday: Hey, we also had Zuppa Toscana last week! One of my favorites. Our recipe doesn’t call for bacon though. And I usually add lentils because it seems healthier. Haha. Good to know it works with half and half, I don’t always have cream on hand.
    Thursday: Cornmeal-breaded pork chops and smashed potatoes, a la Smitten Kitchen. I couldn’t follow the recipes exactly (poor planning) but they still turned out great! I put cream cheese in the potatoes instead of goat cheese because I just don’t ever buy goat cheese. http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/03/cornmeal-fried-pork-chops-goat-cheese-smashed-potatoes/
    Friday: Baked parmesan tomatoes on garlic toast and salad.

  • Anna

    You look great and so put together for your talk in spite of all the confusion! And I love all the pictures of Corrie – she’s even yummier than all the food talk!

    The main thing I remember about last Sat. was that free Krispy Kreme was the primary item on the menu. We had actual food too, but I don’t remember what. That might have been basil chicken strips and honey garlic angel hair pasta, but maybe that was some other day last week.
    Sunday was our (Leisure, the Basis of) Culture Club’s Talk Like a Pirate Day party, so we served rotini (b/c it starts with arrrr). Doesn’t everyone read Josef Pieper and decide that talking like a pirate logically follows?
    Then people ate either leftover pasta or pizzawiches from the extra sauce for a couple days.
    Wed. was teriyaki pork loin and rice made by someone else since we’d gotten a “casserole (or whatever) of the month for three months” at a charity auction. Good stuff, though my husband (who would have gotten on well with Tib) pointed out that perhaps it was a bit ironic that we got that meal delivered on a day that I had signed up to bring a meal to friends who just had a baby. But no one else had signed up for that day and I only had that one slot left to fill, so…
    Thursday was leftover pork.
    Friday was salmon dill salad on rolls. Canned salmon mixed with cream cheese and mayo and some other stuff. It always surprises me that my kids all like it, but they do.
    Sat. was chicken tacos.
    Sunday was celebrating my dad’s birthday and my mom made baked spaghetti. I chipped in brownies.

  • sarah

    I’m not sure who Tom McDonald is but that guy looks like Robin WIlliams. Maybe that’s why Corrie is staring. (her arms are sooo scrummy)

  • Rebecca Anderson

    This week I decided to write down what we had so I could actually post it. Knowing I would be exposed, I made a big effort. Until the end of the week.

    Saturday: Cajun chicken and salad. I fried frozen, cooked chicken in tons of butter until it was hydrated again. Use as much cajun as the kids will stand.

    Sunday: Salad, rissoles, oven baked wedges.

    Monday: Vegetables, sweet and sour sausages. Used Simcha’s recipe for the sauce!!!

    Tuesday: Baked potatoes, baked beans, fried eggs and salad.

    Wednesday: Toasted savoury mince wraps and salad.

    Thursday: This was the night I gave up. Hauled a frozen chicken tomato thing from the freezer.

    Friday: Gave up again. Frozen chicken casserole with cream added to make it edible and pasta.

  • Eileen

    I’m such a hayseed I didn’t even know they sold hot fudge sauce in the store. A really, really easy way to make chocolate sauce is to mix just a little bit of water with powdered Nestle’s Quik. You might want to experiment with consistency. Some of my kids like it thicker (less water) than others.

  • Jordan

    Hey, you stole my baby joke about Corrie stealing your bed! That makes me feel special 🙂

  • Karyn

    Oh my goodness — Corrie’s baby pudge. Too cute!!!

  • KRN

    Loved your talk…have a transcript somewhere? Funny…I don’t remember the show tunes and certainly not anyone’s attention wandering:-)

  • anna lisa

    I meant to comment yesterday but got bogged down with actually making dinner, which was broccoli, squash and chicken soup. I made shrimp beurre blanc with roasted sweet peppers the day before. That’s all I remember. The rest is a blurrrrrr.
    What I wanted to say is that you overwhelmed us with bounty in your post:

    Fat baby girls unglue me with happiness. Good Lord what luscious rolls.
    Your parents are adorable.
    Your dress is tres chic. (I bought sunbrella pillows with the same mod design in lime, teal and yellow for my outdoor couch and chairs. I keep peering at them and sighing with satisfaction at how cool they look.)
    I wish the pope had invited you for a glass of tinto so you could explain what makes Americans tick. Oh well, his loss.