Sunday, March 20, 2011

How far we've come

When we were out with The Engineers, we got into a discussion about technology. How obsolete some things are. How it's hard for us to imagine a life without televisions when our parents were forced to listen to the radio paint images. Wondering what our children will think of the technology we hold near and dear.

I heard a television show talking about recording something on a VCR and it reminded me of this conversation. Even the VCR itself seems so outdated, and yet just a few short years ago, it was groundbreaking innovation.

And yet, with all this innovation and technology, there are some areas where we are falling back on past tradition. When I think of the resurgence of farmer's markets, it hearkens back to the days before massive grocery stores. Butcher and cheese shops are popping up with a surprising vengeance. Eating local has become "trendy" when it used to be the only alternative.

Most of this falling back involves food. And it's not terribly surprising. All the shortcuts are taking their toll on both the health of the population and the world around us. Let's take something we're all familiar with - the microwaveable dinner. Microwave meals have become a staple in many households. Controlling portion size, offering something "homecooked" in just a matter of minutes, and fairly inexpensive. It's not hard to see why they have made their way into freezers across America. But most are loaded with more "nonfood ingredients" than food ingredients. And so many people are turning from them and back to their own kitchens. After all, it doesn't take that much longer to boil a pot of pasta instead of heating up some spaghetti in the microwave.

One of Thatdad's favorite instant dinners was Salisbury's Steak. Before there were microwaves, these "instant dinners" were made in the stove. Still quicker for working moms than slaving over a stove all night when they would come home from work. When microwave meals came out, this was one of his favorite to get. Wanna hear something funny? I've never had it before. Wanna hear something else? If I was going to have it, I'd much prefer to make it myself than zap a freezer version of it - to really give it a fighting shot. I turned to Fannie Farmer for this one. I don't know how authentic it is, or if this is what real Salisbury Steak tastes like, but it's fun to make something old, new again.

Salisbury Steak (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
2 slices white bread
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup breadcrumbs

  1. Preheat the broiler. Remove the crusts from the bread and soak in milk until soft. Squeeze out excess milk, then lightly mix with the ground beef until absorbed.
  2. Add the seasonings and shape into a large round.
  3. Broil meat round for 5 minutes. Flip the meat and sprinkle the bacon and breadcrumbs on top. Broil for another 5 minutes.
  4. Slice and serve


  1. I remember ordering Salisbury Steak at out local diner quite often along with hot turkey sandwiches!

  2. I still occasionally make Salisbury Steak. If ever you'd like another recipe check the one at my place. Yours is great. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  3. My mom wasn't a cook by any means but we never had frozen meals, thank the lord. I'd much rather have a homemade version as well, though I've never had salisbury steak. Seems like one of those relics from the past that deserves a new and better reinvention.