Monday, December 24, 2012

"Reynolds Wrap Carefree Cooking with Aluminum Foil" (for the Winter Solstice) - Family Steak

Date I made this recipe:  December 21, 2012 (Winter Solstice)

Reynolds Wrap Carefree Cooking with Aluminum Foil
Published by:  The Supermarket Book Company
© 1975
Recipe:  Family Steak – p. 51

Every so often, my friend, Jen, will talk about a person as being part of the “tinfoil hat brigade” (i.e. somewhat delusional).  I think this recipe might just put me in line for a year’s membership although you can be the judge, right behind my husband, Andy, who now thinks that I am one cuckoo short of a clock after telling him my rationale about using this book and this recipe.

Here’s the deal:  I thought it would be fun to make something in honor of the Winter Solstice on Friday, the 21st.  Once we achieve the solstice, we start gaining daylight (and hopefully sunlight) hours.  I am ALL about this event. Light = warming up = summer = hooray!  Sad to say though, I do not have a “solstice” cookbook in my collection (not that anybody’s written one but details, details).  So what to do, what to do?

And then the light bulb came on (hahaha) and I thought about the two Reynolds Wrap cookbooks I have, one published in 1975 and the other in 2003, and so I was all excited:  “Honey, I’ve got it.  I’m going to use a Reynolds Wrap cookbook because aluminum foil is shinny and it reflects light and it’s perfect, don’t you think?”

People, he did not think.  The look he gave me was priceless.  But then I went in for the kill and said  And I know just what I’m going to make.  I’m going to make this recipe for steak and Lipton Onion Soup mix wrapped in a foil packet.  Oh wait, here’s one for steak and Lipton Onion Soup and mushroom soup.  Oh, my mom used to make that!  It’ll be perfect.”  (For the record, I could have sworn the recipe called for cream of mushroom soup but it called for mushroom gravy.  I didn’t care and made it anyway but I’m telling you right now, I have pretty crisp memories of aluminum foil and cream of mushroom soup so there.)

People, let me just say that the second look I got was the one that suggested he was about ready to call the authorities and cancel my near-membership with the tin-foil hat brigade. He did not like the sound of the “family steak” recipe at all but that’s because the man has never had meat prepared that way in his life.  I find this sad.

I think though, I was more stunned by the fact that he was deprived of this meat and foil packet (let’s not forget the Lipton Onion Soup Mix) than I was the fact that he didn’t seem to grove on my solstice/foil concept.  At our age, there is really NO excuse for not having that recipe but then again, his mom didn’t really like to cook.  Still, I took an informal survey of my friends and before I knew it, I had several people waxing poetic about foil-wrapped meat; back in the day (and by “day” I mean the 60’s and 70’s), this concoction was considered to be gourmet!  Hell, even my Girl Scout troop made “hobo pies” at day camp; ground beef, vegetables and onions wrapped in foil and cooked on a campfire.  (For the record, while the “camping” part continues to elude and perplex me, I am a mean cook over a campfire!)

So after learning about lack of foil-wrapped anything in his life, I was doubly-determined to correct that problem, pronto!  And so I made the meal and it was good and we are still eating the leftovers.  And I felt much brighter about my future after the solstice and my brilliant (if I do say so myself) concept of using foil. 

This is perhaps the easiest, but most nostalgic, recipe I’ve ever made.  My only advice is to try to use round steak if at all possible:  Andy bought a combination of chuck steak and round steak (if there is such a thing—actually, he wasn’t sure what he bought!) and it was almost a little too thick for this recipe but I made it work.

I’m already writing a note on next year’s calendar to use the other Reynolds Wrap cookbook for the solstice because I think I’m on to something.  Perhaps I should invite Jen and the rest of her tinfoil hat brigade over as well?  There’s something about safety in numbers that is comforting.

Now remember folks, and you heard it here first, nothing says “solstice” like Reynolds Wrap.  I could so be their marketing person….

As to the recipe, brace yourself because this.gets.complicated.

Family Steak – 6 servings
2 pounds chuck or found steak, 1 inch thick (Ann’s Note: try to stick with that thickness for best results)
1 can (10 ½ oz.) mushroom gravy
1 envelope (1 3/8 oz.) onion soup mix

Trim excess fat from meat.  Place sheet of Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap in shallow pan and arrange meat in the center.  Pour mushroom gravy over and sprinkle with onion soup mix.  Close Reynolds Wrap into bundle (if you absolutely need a tutorial, it’s on p. 111).  Bake in 325F oven for 2 hours.

No comments: