Tuna Noodle Casserole

Cook egg noodles according to directions. Warm condensed cream of mushroom soup with a splash of milk before it’s ready for pancake day. Drain the noodles. Add cream of mushroom soup and a can of tuna. Stir away your crushing depression. Can be served with white bread and margarine if you hit your sales quota that day.


Here’s another dish my wife brought to the table. When we first got together, this was on heavy rotation. The fruits of divorce, feeding our young love. Upon reflection, it’s a mark of resiliency that our relationship survived this period. The texture of canned tuna against the sliminess of egg noodle coated in cream is not a sensation soon forgotten.

Hawaiian Delight

Slice one can of Treet (imitation Spam) lengthwise. Fry in skillet. Top with canned pineapple. Best served while wearing the Hawaiian shirt your kids’ mom hates so fucking much. Pardon me, Christina, if I enjoy the freedom of island life for one evening!


I still remember the first night we ate this. My brother and I stood close to the Treet as my dad extracted it from its can. Was the container a prison or a Pandora’s Box, protecting all humanity? Who could say for sure? I had never eaten fruit on cooked meat before. It was beyond bourgeoisie as far as I was concerned. A dish to be enjoyed at country clubs and upscale restaurants, like Bob Evans. Many years later, I met a guy who went to college in Hawaii. The first thing I thought was, “That lucky bastard got to eat Hawaiian Delight whenever he wanted.”

3 Stars

Hot Dogaroni And Cheese

Prepare one box of macaroni and cheese. As the noodles cook in the pot, cook no more than four hot dogs in a skillet. Want to put in more? Well, go right ahead, Mr. Rockefeller. When hot dogs are done, cut them into “pennies.” After draining the noodles, add cheese powder, margarine, more of that milk you’re saving for pancakes next month, and the cut-up hot dogs. Mix well with tears.


After watching like an attentive apprentice, I learned to make this meal on my own. It was the first thing I ever cooked. Let me tell you, my little brother appreciated the hell out of it. I felt like a god as he stared in wonder at the steaming bright orange pile of noodles and sliced tube steak. Before that day, only my father had been able to make terrible food for us. Now I had the power. My brother is married and in his early thirties, but he can’t stop chasing this dragon. When he boasted that he still eats Hot Dogaroni and Cheese regularly, I could see in my mind’s eye the little boy he once was, jumping up and down in a grubby kitchen in a drab apartment complex whose aesthetic value was only improved when it burned down.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Buy one rotisserie chicken. Add a side of coleslaw and a generous amount of potato wedges, known as jo-jos where I come from. Serve the kids a few slices of breast meat. Leave the remainder of the chicken in its plastic container and place in the sink. Consume standing up, with your bare hands, while grunting in pleasure and staring directly out the window. Suck fingers clean.


This one is rarer than Thanksgiving. It only appears when your numbers come in on the Pick 3. You can’t bank the winnings—garnishment of wages!—but you can reward the kids with a nice hot meal, cooked by someone else for a change. Just two weeks ago, I found myself chasing a dragon of my own. Having served the kids their rotisserie chicken cut into little pieces, I reached into the remains, tearing the legs and thighs from the body. I placed them on a plate and glanced back at the carcass. Still had a lot of meat on it. Shame to let it go to waste. I carried it to the sink and stared out the window as the kids chattered in the background. Soon there was nothing left but bones and cartilage. Then I turned to my plate of dark meat. My wife was working late. There were no leftovers.

Geoffrey Redick is a freelance writer and radio producer. He lives in Memphis. He’s on Twitter.


Illustration by Tara Jacoby.

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