This was my all time favorite meal as a kid as I said. I went and got the right (fatty) beef for the job, the green apple and followed the recipe exactly. It was not quite the same. I imagine my mother’s curry powder was not the same as mine. Mine in fact may have been better than my mother’s but it was not my mother’s.
I ate it happily but the wave of warmth and nostalgia I expected to wash over me never happened.
I like her comments at the end of the recipe. “Add as much water as you like, within reason of course…” This is how Indians write recipes.
Many many many years ago the Oconomowoc Shopper, a weekly local newspaper and coupon extravaganza, featured my mother’s recipes. I recall thinking that she was famous. Mrs Patrick J Dillon in the newspaper. It carried 2 of my favorites, stew and curried beef—my personal favorite which I always asked for on my birthday—never mind that no Indian would ever curry beef. What did we know? I loved it. I also loved her stew and since trying times require comfort food, I decided to make it. The stew meat I bought was suspiciously unfatty. And I know my mom would have been using a fatty cheap cut of meat, most likely pot roast. She also would never have used mushrooms, much less fresh ones.
I followed her recipe otherwise. Yeah, no. The meat was all wrong. Tough as nails after an hour and a half. And it had a distinctly livery taste. I ate it but it was not comforting. And as far as being “delightfully different,” I have no idea what braintrust came up with that name, it should have been “Yeah, Same Ol’ Stew.”
As I recall, the best part was pouring the gravy over Wonder bread. I neglected to get the Wonder bread, though. I wish Wonder bread came in smaller packages. Of course, then I’d have to deal with that packaging issue.