Sometimes I get a hankering; you know a craving, for this food or that dish from my childhood. I do this even though I know that my cholesterol and my derriere do not need to eat anything but salads and drink water. Be that as it may I will invariably get out iron skillet and other assorted cooking utensils and assuage my urge. I know I have no self control.
I had one of those cravings recently and I did not control myself nor did I protect Kahuna from it either. I broke down and broke out the Fritos, wolf brand chili, and a package of chicken tamales. I lined my pan with foil I stripped and laid my tamales in the bottom of the pan already laden with Fritos. I then opened the chili, spread it all over the tamales letting it drip down to the Fritos and covered all of this with onions and grated cheese. I then lovingly and reverently slid this concoction into the 350 degree oven and let it bake until the cheese was a golden color. We then partook of this scrumptious meal. Oh it was so good and cheesy and frito-ey. It was so warm and yummy. About an hour after said dinner I began to feel warmth in my chest and a pain in my arm. I looked over at Kahuna who was squelching a belch. It was revenge of the Frito-pie. You see Frito-pie is what got Trooper Bob banned from cooking for his children.
One time Trooper Bob was left at home with his three children. The three well behaved polite children became hungry and pled with Trooper Bob to make his specialty. Trooper Bob never used a recipe. He would just start throwing things together and usually it turned out edible. This cold winter afternoon he decided Frito-pie was just the thing to warm up his adorable little children. He looked in the pantry and low and behold there in all its glory was a big can of Wolf Brand Chili with beans. The with beans is very important when making Trooper Bob Frito Pie. Then he spotted a can of Hormel Beef Tamales and he thought now that looks like a nice addition to my recipe so he grabbed that can too. He then employed his young daughters to chop up some onions, and grate a big pile of good old rat cheese. (I’ll tell you a little secret here. I was sixteen years old before I knew that rat cheese was actually called cheddar cheese.) Then he took a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes. I must tell you if you have never had Ro-tel tomatoes go buy a can mix it with a block of Velveeta and you will have the best queso you’ve ever had. He then added that into the mix. With the finesse of Bobby Flay he added a dash of cayenne and a smidgen of cumin and finished it all off with the cheese covering the concoction. Then he hefted the big casserole dish into the hot oven and let it brown.
My siblings and I sat salivating at the kitchen table anxiously waiting our tasty dinner. The timer bell chimed and Trooper Bob removed the heavenly Mexican themed concoction out of the heat and onto the table. We had sat the table with our best Chinet paper plates knowing that the regular Dixie plates would be eaten up by the tamale juice. We wolfed down our food like we had been stranded in the Andes Mountains with nothing but snow to eat. We ate our first helpings and went back for seconds, thirds and fourths until there was nothing left of the Trooper Bob Frito-Pie. We wiped our faces on our paper towel napkins and burped ready for our ice cream desert.
Later that afternoon the first pains started. Then the urgent trips to the bathroom came next. Pretty soon there wasn’t a toilet or a waste basket in the house that wasn’t being utilized. There was a retched and fetid smell in the house that was emanating from our feeble bodies. We were weak and pitiful when my mother, Meme, got home from her shift at the hospital where she had just spent 15 hours tending to the wretched and feeble. She looked at her poor wasted children and at her husband sitting in his recliner biting back indigestion and said “What did you feed them?” We all weakly and breathlessly croaked Frito-pie. She looked at Trooper Bob and said “what the hell did you put in the Frito-pie? Ptomaine poisoning?” Trooper Bob huffed indignantly and went on to tell her his list of ingredients. It was then that my mother took all kitchen rights away from Trooper Bob. He was no longer allowed to cook for the children in the house. She figured they were better off fending for themselves with a box of cereal and a jug of milk