MILFs are very confused by this word, "casserole." They are picking a tiny piece of lint off their $270 Acne brand needle-skinny jeans and looking at this word with disdain under their perfectly threaded eyebrows. Fresh Direct doesn't deliver casseroles. MILFs don't use canned cream of mushroom soup as a base ingredient in anything. The mothers of the Frumpy Revolution, we understand that there is nothing more comforting than combining mashed potatoes with anything. Granted, the meals I am suggesting may not be the healthiest choices, but just about anything you shove into your mouth-hole that comes from your kitchen is better than anything you can purchase from a bulletproof glass drive-thru window. I'm demanding the frumpy revolution includes a healthy dose of the frumpy comfort meals the frumpy moms from which we were born come from used to serve us while we were growing up!
When I was a girl child of about yay big (extend your right arm out to mid-length mom-jean-clad thigh) my own sometimes MILF-y and something frumpy own mother used to serve our family a concoction she regrettably entitled "Mush." Mush was made by browning ground beef with onions and sliced mushrooms in a frying pan, draining off the grease, adding a can or two of cream of mushroom soup, and serving the mushy slop over buttery mashed potatoes. This meal was grey. As in the color grey. I think on occasion she may have served it with a side of canned corn, or cut up carrot sticks. It's a meal I remember fondly from my childhood, but the one time I served it to my own family most of my children cried hysterically and my husband threatened legal action. It's frumpy food at its finest. Economical, filling, and possibly something she may have concocted after consuming an afternoon cocktail or 4.
Speaking of cocktails (whoever is writing the Frumpy Mom manifesto, please take notes here) I demand the revolution includes cocktail hour. While we are filling our crock pots with cocktail-sized hot dogs and bottles of store-bought BBQ sauce, I demand we enjoy a larger than cocktail-sized hot dog cocktail with either maraschino cherries and/or paper umbrellas in them. Actually, we possibly need maraschino cherries for all of the other food items we need to bring back into fashion, like ambrosia salads and jello molds. When you hear of the world-wide maraschino cherry shortage, you can blame the Frumpy Mom revolution. Despite her notorious MILF status, a celebrity chef who hides her true Frumpy Mom insides in a candy-coated bombshell skinny jeans shell is Food Network's Sandra Lee. Those of you familiar with Sandra Lee can truly understand my segue from demanding cocktails to discussing the food styling of our beloved Sandy. She may not look like a frumpy mom, but she sure as hell cooks like one. And most of her menus include at least one cocktail recipe.
Another celebrity mom chef we can look to for guidance in regard to cooking, but totally not lookin', because she is also too-good lookin' and non-holiday sweater ownin' to be a frumpy mom, is The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Ree may not fit the frumpy mom aesthetic, but her recipe choices totally do. I know a lot of people in the internet land have issues with Ree and the fact she has stuff like money, but the girl includes a healthy dose of grocery store purchased ingredients in her recipes, and I have never seen her add a blood orange coulis to anything, and one thing I'm convinced that doesn't belong in the Frumpy Mom Revolution is molecular gastronomy of any sort. I want sloppy joe's and green bean casserole, not a sixteen-course tasting menu including items like melon tenderloin and foie-gras cotton candy.
In my own little frumpy mom universe, I look to the kitchen stylings of totally-on-the-cusp of frumpy despite having millions of dollars and a house in the Hamptons culinary goddess Ina Garten. Her food is usually just really good and not very frumpy, but she also wears the same shirts constantly and has wash-and-wear hair and doesn't wear a size 6. You cannot buy Ina's frumpy-chic shirts. She has them custom made for her. Another chef who I adore and admire is Deb Perlemen from the Smitten Kitchen. Despite concocting amazingly good recipes that always turn out amazingly well for me, Deb doesn't do a lot of frumpy mom food. But she is so incredibly sweet and kind I may be able to convince her to wear a sequined sweater or clogs. A busy mom of an adorable little guy, Deb has a new cookbook coming out that I have already pre-ordered. She may not embrace the frump, but she totally should. Even though she is pretty and MILf-y I'm sure Deb could whip us up something involving tater tots.
For me, The Frumpy Mom Revolution involves homemade food that can usually be made with a baby sleeping in a swing in the kitchen or a toddler helping by dumping in piles of chocolate chips in cookie dough and looking to my mother's and grandmother's recipes for inspiration hidden in yellowing cookbooks and 3x5 index cards with pictures of roosters on them. It's all sitting down at the table together and talking about our days as we eat food like pot roast and lasagna. We can still have skinless chicken breasts and spinach salads, but there is something to be said for homemade soups and freshly baked bread finished off with desserts that may contain marshmallows.
I'm busting out my crockpot and looking for recipes that include bargain cuts of beef and canned soup. I'm busting out my cocktail shaker. I'm going to start collecting jello molds. It's The Frumpy Mom Revolution! Pull up a chair and join me!