Even before the current stay-at-home reality, I spent a lot of time on Twitter, both for my job and because I’m the type of fidgety no-attention-span person the platform is built for. And in my time there, I’ve noticed that one of the most reliable sources of entertainment is the church cookbook dunking-on.
If jazz is America’s native art form, then church cookbook horrors are a reliable #2 for that crown. And here in the Midwest, dueling Catholic and Lutheran palates drive the art form to new heights—culminating, perhaps, in this tweet from a couple of days ago:
There’s so much going on here. Pureed fast food! Unappetizing terms like “a hard dough”! Sour cream for no particular reason! I demanded this assignment as The Takeout’s sometime Ambassador of Seems Terrible But Hey Maybe. And you know that I’ve got it bad for White Castle. You’re on, Judy Holt.
First off, I acquired the necessary materials. And, no joke, much love and respect to the fast food workers who still have to show up every single day for idiots who need things to chuck into a blender. White Castle workers (and food service folks in general), I appreciate you and hope you’re all safe and well.
Now is when you’re probably thinking, “Wait, did he really huck a bunch of whole White Castle sliders in a blender? I don’t want to see that.” Which is why I’m so sorry for what you’re about to see.
It happened. All the screaming at your laptop screen that you’re doing right now? That won’t undo the fact that it happened. So let’s make a fast food burger pâté like adults.
That recipe again:
- 10 entire White Castles
- Water (or pilsner, if you’re already at it), to thin—I ended up using about a cup
My blender didn’t love this, but it persevered, and eventually we got results. It went into the oven for 45 minutes at 325 degrees in my fanciest Pyrex dish. And behold, it came out as a real damn pâté-looking bastard:
It went into the fridge to cool until showtime. By then, I had roped my wife into this, because I am a bad husband. New box of Triscuits secured, and fortified by alcohol, we dove in, much in the same manner as one flinchingly jumps into a cold park district pool in mid-May.
Our reactions, in order:
- Not ... bad?
- Wait, not not bad. Decent.
- Is this good?
- Holy shit, this is good.
- Oh man, this is great.
Seriously. Dunk on the Third Coast and our general vicinity all you want—this recipe is fucking delicious and I will swear on this platform as many times as is needed to underscore this very unexpected point. Your grandma might be an absolute legend, held back only by a pre-pandemic ingredient snobbery that has no place in our present situation. So cut the cool-kid shit and dive back into those spiral-bound print shop beauties until you also find some gold. I was as surprised and circumspect as you currently are. None of this changes the delight I was (and am currently) experiencing.
With a dorky enthusiasm not seen since the Wham! video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” Emily and I then pulled out every relatively compatible condiment from the refrigerator and had ourselves the most unexpected two-person fine dining party in the history of our kitchen.
Here are capsule reviews of various pâté pairings:
- Dijon mustard: Delightful. That mustard definitely belonged in the back of that limo.
- Thousand Island dressing: Not bad! Animal-style pâté, if you will.
- Sweet pickle relish: This suuuuuuuuuuuucks, unexpectedly. Do not do this thing. Like a toothpaste charcuterie.
- Sambal oelek: Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.
- Jarred salsa: Decent!
- Stone ground mustard: Even better than Dijon.
- Hot sauce: Great way to cut the richness.
- Pickles: Yes. Pickles and Thousand Island, yes +25. Pickles and hot sauce, double yes.
Part of doing weird food experiments is crashing and burning for fun and cheap likes. But a way smaller part of it, the BEST part, is finding something really, really tasty that you never saw coming. My friends, today I come to you as late-Ratatoullie Peter O’Toole. This is delicious, and you can dunk on me all you want because I have been set free by love and flavor and a probably inadvisable amount of sodium. Blend you some White Castle, friends. And thank that Twitter account while you’re at it.
Here’s the real magical part. At some point, well past 9 p.m., my four-year-old daughter came downstairs because she does not respect my parental authority (you wouldn’t either if you knew me). She pointed to the W.C. pâté and said, “Is it peanut butter?” I lied like a real shitty dad and said yes. She’s a picky eater, and as such, I will absolutely game her like a poker player with an obvious tell. So she tried it and she loved it, devouring cracker after cracker until I realized, hey, I’m the parent here and she should be in bed. This isn’t just farty-food-writer-approved cuisine here, people. This is toddler-approved stuff.
There’s still a big chunk of this magical pâté left in the fridge, and I assure you it will all be eaten. You won’t even have to forcemeat.