Retro Inspired Modernish Remake: Welsh Rarebit

Western Welsh Rarebit  Tonight I set out to make Welsh Rarebit. I knew we had a billion open bags of shredded cheese. I knew we had a bit of white wine. I went to rummaging in the refrigerator. I pulled out the milk, the withering yellow pepper, some cherry tomatoes, all those (nearly) bags of shredded cheese.

I pulled the Better Homes and Gardens Fondue Cookbook from the shelf. I really have wanted to get back to retro-recipes.

There were two Rarebit recipes. Neither was just perfect, but I did get some ideas. That pepper WOULD work in the rarebit. (See left!) I had no beer or celery. I used the whole pepper and it was chopped small and not finely. Process American Cheese? NO! Cheddar. Prepared mustard? NO. Dry Mustard. No mushrooms or Worcestershire sauce.

I instead melted 1/2 stick of margarine, sauteed the chopped pepper a bit, added about 1/4 cup of flour. Made it roux like–added milk slowly to make a medium white sauce. Then the splash of wine, dry mustard, salt, and cheese. Stirred and melted. Added a bit more milk when it got too thick. I chopped the cherry tomatoes longwise. I toasted some rye bread. The cherry tomatoes on top of the toast, then the cheese sauce, then a bit of dill on top to add color. Perfect! Fast! Well-received.

Welsh Rabbit! (yes, I know RAREbit and likely not Welsh at all by the time it made it to creation in my kitchen.)

photo 2

Vegetarian Unstuffed Cabbage

My girlchild and my mother really like cabbage rolls. Denise likes them too. I am indifferent toward them.

They aren’t at the top of my list, but not at the bottom. The pros  are: aforementioned girlchild loves it. There will be leftovers. The family believes that I have cooked. It is time consuming, but relatively simple. (especially with the rice steamer–that way I can set it to run while running errands, housekeeping, or napping.

This can also be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated overnight, so you just have to pop it into the oven.

Vegetarian Unstuffed Cabbage


  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dry cilantro or parsley (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 bag frozen meatless "crumbles"
  • 2 cans tomato soup
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 cabbage cored and leaves separated
  • .


  1. Combine onion, garlic, rice, and water in rice steamer. Set to cook on white rice setting. (or saute onion and garlic on stove, then cook rice in that pot. I just throw it all in the steamer)
  2. Stir in crumbles and spices when rice is cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, cook cabbage leaves in boiling water for 5-10 minutes
  4. Spray 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Put layer of cabbage leaves on bottom of pan
  6. Add layer of crumble/rice mixture
  7. Repeat
  8. Mix together tomato soup and can of tomatoes.
  9. Spread on top of final layer.
  10. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until heated through.

Creamed Onions-For Tradition’s Sake

I like onions. I like them a LOT. I almost wrote an ode to yellow onions over the summer when I was going through a jag of craving them. I didn’t though. Something else I’ve never done is make creamed onions. I know these appear on many a Thanksgiving table–but never mine. I remember my mother having an incredibly visceral reaction when I saw pearl onions at the grocery for the first time. She literally recoiled in horror. Since then, I periodically consider adding them to a meal, but I am afraid that no one will like them…not even me.

Maybe I will this year–because according to this cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookbook, 1959) “it’s not Thanksgiving unless this specialty is on the table.” The description goes on to mention southern accents: peanuts and cheese! How could I not like it? Oh wait–should I substitute cheddar cheese for the American? Or will Velveeta work best? Hmm. Ok…dish to me about your creamed onion experience! Do you eat them? Do you like them? Is this the recipe your grandmother served?

Creamed Onions

18-20 medium onions
1/2 cup salad oil
3 tablespoons enriched flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded process American cheese
Peanuts, chopped

Peel onions and cook in a large amount of boiling, salted water until tender; drain. Blend salad oil and flour; stir in milk and cook slowly until thick, stirring constantly.

Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the onions and heat through. Place in vegetable bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Jack-O’-Lantern Salad

I rather adore old appliance cookbooks. Microwave cookbooks are particularly amusing to me for some reason. This one came with someone’s Litton Microwave in 1981. What you have here is a basic carrot Jell-o salad decorated with dates to make a Jack-0-Lantern. The microwave part…BOIL water in the microwave–4 to 6 minutes on high-and be sure to start with hot water. I am pretty sure that the low wattage microwave that just went to live with the college girl would boil water faster than that even if it started cold.

In any case…

2 cups of hot water (then boil in the microwave!)
Stir in a 6 oz package of orange gelatin.
Chill until soft set and then stir in 1 lb shredded carrots. Pour into round cake dish, chill until firm. Then unmold and decorate with dates to form the face!

Be sure to invite me over then–I have a fondness for orange Jell-o with carrots.

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