I’m a lucky guy.
I say this a lot and then I feel lucky to be able to say it so often.
I have a great partner and our life is good. I had a great upbringing and great parents. They are gone now, but I still feel lucky to have had the start I did. I also have a job that I love…so it isn’t really “a job”.
My reason for telling you this is that, because of what I do for a living, I am often asked what my all time favorite meal might be. I should explain. Part of my job responsibility is to review restaurants in and around Disney World. Tough gig…huh?
When people ask this, I always assume that they are asking what’s my favorite meal at Walt Disney World. I have a couple of meals that fit the bill and I’ll share them someday, but…the real truth is that none of them are my real favorite.
My absolute favorite meal is something my Mom made from leftovers.
My all time, most favorite meal absolutely ever is my Mom’s Pork Goulash.
I don’t want anyone to get the impression that this is sentimentality talking. The love for this meal was well known amongst everyone in my family.
Growing up, my Dad worked as a butcher. This meant we always had meat on our table. I’m sure the barber’s kid always had a good haircut and the shoe salesman’s kid always had new shoes. My Dad was a butcher, so we always had good meat on the table.
One of things everyone liked was roast pork loin. While we all liked the first meal, it was the leftovers that thrilled us.
I’m not going to write the recipe for roasted pork loin, but I will tell you that my Mom coated it with butter, flour and salt and pepper. This gave it a great crust.
She would also make pan gravy with the juices from the roast. This was made with butter, flour, meat juices and a bit of water. This is important.
While we all enjoyed the original meal, it was always the second version that we loved and we realized at a young age (10 or 11 years old) that having left over pork and gravy meant goulash.
I remember having a secret conversation with my brother that we shouldn’t use much gravy with dinner. This meant that there would be enough to make our favorite.
Eventually my Mom caught on and from that point on….we skipped the first meal and just used the roasted pork and gravy to make the goulash. It was all we really wanted anyway.
For each birthday, my brother and I were asked what we would like for our birthday dinner. Invariably, the answer was pork goulash.
As we got older, and all worked on different schedules, family dinners were less frequent. This meant that not everyone was at the table when our favorite meal was served. Being left out of goulash night was terrible. I actually remember calling in sick to my nighttime job, so as not to miss goulash night.
My Mom finally solved this dilemma by purchasing three re-sealable bowls and labeling them with each of our names. This meant that everyone got an equal amount without worrying about work schedules.
At this point in my life, I look back and see the silliness of this, but it’s part of my history and I love the fact that it happened.
Here is the way to make my Mom’s goulash.
First of all, you need to roast a pork loin with a flour and butter crust. With the pan juices, you will need to make gravy.
When ready to make the goulash, you will need to do the following:
Saute one green pepper and one sliced onion until soft
Mix in one can of tomato soup
Add leftover pork and gravy
Serve over one pound of cooked elbow macaroni
That’s it. It’s that simple.
When I decided to write this piece, I spent some time thinking back.
I miss that time. I miss my folks. But with all of that, I am left with the feeling of being lucky.
I’m lucky to have the family I had then and lucky to have the family I have now.
I’m going to go make goulash.