Saturday, April 14, 2012

You say potato, I say toboggan; you say tomato, I say slumgullion... let’s eat!


Sometime in the early 90s, after I’d been living in the big city for a year or so, one of my coworkers invited me to lunch & I declined, saying I needed to go to Kaufmann’s and buy a toboggan.  I’ll never forget the reaction I got—“are you serious??”  I said yes, sure.  Winter was coming and I needed one.  He said “I’ll believe it when I see it.”  (Wow, really?)

Later that afternoon, he came over to my desk—“Okay, where is it?”  When I held it up, he said “You bought a ski cap?”  and that’s when I learned that some of the words I used back home weren’t necessarily common ones here.  Oh, people got a big kick out of it—they knew I was from a rural area south of the city & tortured me for it:  “You really call a ski cap a toboggan?  Give us some more hillbilly words!”    Okay, here’s one:

When I was a kid, my mom would say “Doug, chop up a big onion for me” & I’d say “What are you making, potato soup?”  (One of her specialties) and she’d say, “no, slumgullion.”   Ooh!   A mixture of ground beef, celery, onions, pepper, tomato juice and macaroni—she’d make an army-sized pot of it (for her ravenous army of six kids) and we’d wolf it down like there was no tomorrow.  

I’ve tried making it on my own, but it always seems to lack something special.  (Mom, I’m guessing.)  I’ve seen some recipes for it online, but I’m always surprised how much the ingredients can vary per cook.   Anyway, the thing is—I’ve been making my OWN version of slumgullion now for several years & I think it’s pretty good.  (I’m basically substituting the tomato juice for ketchup & cream of celery soup.  Trust me, it works!) 

 Not my Mom’s Slumgullion 

1. Brown 1 LB ground beef & one large chopped onion –OR- two smaller ones; drain. 

(Don’t be afraid there’s too much onion, everytime I make this my first thought is “Why don’t I make this more often?” and my second thought is always “Wish I’d added more chopped onion”)

2.  Stir in 1 can ‘Campbells Cream of Celery Soup’, 1/3 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons Worchestershire Sauce & 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Stir it up good, cover & set it on very low heat (Warm).

3.  Boil 1 cup (uncooked) macaroni to desired softness, drain, plop the pasta back in the pot—add in the soup mixture from the first pot.  Cover & put on low heat and let it heat together for a couple minutes.   You’re done!

(By the way, as much as I love this stuff it’s even better with some VERY crusty bread—that makes all the difference.  I usually heat up a can of green beans too, just to soften the guilt a little from all that carb-on-carb action.) .         .         .

Well, if you’re scratching your head right now & thinking “Did I really just read some hillbilly’s recipe for Hamburger Helper?”  I don’t blame you—but take it from a single guy (and former Hamburger Helper expert), this concoction tastes a whole lot better.  And on a cold, rainy Saturday like today where you want something hot to eat, but you can’t really cook & you don’t feel like going out…this works.  Smile      


  1. God help me, that slop looks good. Mom wrote it down for me somewhere(she spelled it slumgolian). And Dad just called it slum. Doesn't it make us sound like riff-raff?!

  2. Hahaha--thanks Shawn :) Hey--slop?! Anyway, I almost forgot Dad used to call it that, and your riff-raff comment gave me a good chuckle. Gosh darn it, I am embracing my roots here! :)

  3. That looks really good!,

  4. Thanks Ann, if you try it lemme know! :)

  5. Haha! Actually, it had more of a greenish tinge, sir... :)

  6. Doug, you needed to take that smart alec co-worker snipe hunting! $%#$hillbillywords*%&%^^

  7. Hahaha!! Snipe hunting! Thanks for the chuckle there David, well said... :)

  8. Mmm, that looks yummy and I am definitely going to try it. Have been looking for a simple but tasty recipe and by golly here it is. Sorry for not commenting often of late, I had a bad bout of the flu a few weeks back and just have been out of commission in terms of following up with my blog buddies. Good to be here. Now I'm off to by a toboggan and try some slumgullion! :)

  9. Chelly, sure hope you're feeling better! You're very sweet, thank you for your kind words here and for the chuckle :)


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