Upchuck Buckshot

Deep in the dregs of my memory is a simple meal of honest ingredients:  potatoes, meat, gravy.  It was called buckshot and I imagine it as something served in crude clay bowls to men who had been working on the frontier, cajoling mules to plow a rock-strewn field, setting snares for small animals, and chopping down trees with a massive double-bladed axe.  Buckshot went down easy and never met with any objection.  Maybe it wasn’t the most flavorful or inventive but, like macaroni and cheese, was a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for me and my siblings.  The premise is simple:  in a mound of creamy mashed potatoes, form a deep crater and pour in a thick ground beef stew.  Rivulets of gravy goodness run down the sides like runs of lava from an active volcano.  Buckshot doesn’t require much imagination, cooking skill, or teeth.  It’s  warm, soft, and unobjectionable.

This weekend I decided to recreate my childhood dish.  But, being a clever adult with good taste and reasonable kitchen skills, I would update it with an intermediate layer of peas, and some onions sautéed in butter.  It would be a three-layer masterpiece, a buckshot for the ages!  Imagine my confusion when I served up this wholesome all-American dish for dinner, sat down, and discovered that a dog had gotten sick all over my plate.  If I were a special-effects propmaster I couldn’t have recreated fresh vomit with higher fidelity.  If your stomach is already feeling queasy, please don’t scroll down.  I apologize to my ancestors for desecrating the memory of buckshot, and we will never speak of this again.

  1. Samantha said:

    Buckshot!! i think there was too much mixing involved there…

  2. Actually this is day two of the buckshot and we’d run out of the mashed potatoes. Not that it helped at all with the presentation–with a base of potatoes it looked like vomit on snow.

  3. This was your Granma’s last minute-save-a-penny meal. You’re suposed to cook the ground beef with onions and make some gravy and simmer it all a long time (minus those nasty peas, mind you) then whip up a big batch of real mashed potatoes and serve the ground beef goo on top of the mashed potatoes. Stir it all up, if you like, but you risk having it look like dog puke. It never really had much flavor but isn’t that what kids want??

    • You know, this is exactly how I did it. I made gravy by adding water (I know, I know!) with some flour and let it simmer with the ground beef and onions. Each time I reached for a spice jar I thought, “No. Keep it simple.” Even with this, Child Harbat STILL wouldn’t eat it. [sigh]

      • The look of it might have been a bit off-putting. Time to re-read Bread and Jam for Frances a few times….or call in Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

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