So, we’ve talked about The College Woman’s Cook Book a few times now, but we haven’t talked about the year it was published. What happened in 1923?
For starters, the first issue of Time magazine was published. It featured Joseph G. Cannon on the cover, retired Speaker of the House of Representatives (1903-1911) who was and is still considered by many to be the most powerful Speaker in our history. 1923 also saw the building of the Hollywood sign, though it originally read “Hollywoodland,” and was meant to advertise a housing development above Los Angeles. The original Yankee Stadium in the Bronx also opened up that year with a game against the Boston Red Sox. John Philip Sousa led the national anthem, and Babe Ruth hit a home run into the right-field stands.
A lot happened in 1923. But, there’s one particular thing that happened that really had an effect on my life, and that still continues to affect millions and millions of lives today. Roy and Walt Disney founded the Walt Disney Company. The Disneys first started out as just animators, but they soon began producing cartoon shows and animated movies that turned into an empire. And, like millions and millions of other kids around the world, my brother and I grew up knowing Mickey Mouse; we can probably sing entire soundtracks for movies like Aladdin, Cinderella, and even Mary Poppins; and, we believe in dreams and magic and happy endings.
So what are we cooking? Hungarian goulash from The College Woman’s Cook Book published in 1923.
Back in 1923, the Disney brothers probably had no idea what they were about to create. They probably had no idea that their names would be so famous. It’s kind of funny to look back 94 years, and to imagine a pair of brothers dressed in funny clothes, poring over drawings on a table under lights that had only just become electrified. Let’s pay them tribute. Put on your favorite Disney music while you cook this recipe.
Let’s go into the kitchen and make some history!
Here are our ingredients: Elbow macaroni, butter, carrots, celery, green peppers, onion, lean ground beef (I’m actually using turkey), diced tomatoes, salt, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese.
Step 1: Boil eight ounces of elbow macaroni in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Step 2: Start your vegetable prep while the macaroni boils! Chop up the carrots, celery, peppers, and onions.
Step 3: Once your vegetable prep is done (minus the mushrooms – we’ll get to those!) melt two tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
Step 4: Dump in all those vegetables, and salt them with a teaspoon of salt. Start getting some flavor to them! Let them cook for eight to ten minutes. They’ll sizzle and smell absolutely wonderful!
Step 5: Okay, now to those mushrooms. Make sure you rinse them off well; mushrooms have a tendency to be a little dirty. Then, chop them up just like you did with the other vegetables. We could have prepped these earlier when we did the rest, but there’s plenty of time now while you wait for those vegetables to cook anyway! Set the mushrooms aside.
Step 6: After eight to ten minutes of cooking, add in the ground beef (turkey, if you’re using turkey like I am). Break it all up into small pieces, and let it cook for six to seven minutes until it’s completely brown.
Step 7: Then, add in your mushrooms and the tomatoes. Season with another teaspoon of salt. Tomatoes need a lot of salt to give them flavor, so don’t be afraid!
Step 8: Stir everything together, put a lid on the pot, and bring it to a boil. Then, turn the heat down and let everything simmer for ten to fifteen minutes, or until you can pierce your carrots with a fork. You’ll also have a nice sauce by this point!
Step 9: Remove the pot from the heat, and add in the macaroni you cooked at the beginning!
Step 10: Then add in about 3/4 of that wonderful cheese! Stir everything together, and then adjust your seasonings. I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of salt at this point, and it made my goulash absolutely perfect!
Step 11: Dump all the goulash into a 13×9″ baking dish that you rubbed lightly with butter (you can do that when you have time at any point during this cooking process!), and spread it out evenly.
Step 12: Then, top it with the remaining cheese, cover it with foil, and bake it in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes!
Final step: Spoon out a big, cheesy, comforting scoop of pasta and vegetable goodness. Did you listen to Disney music while you made it? What’s you favorite Disney movie? Mine is probably Mulan. I like tough-girl characters, and she’s inspiring!
Now, I know that most of the Disney movies I grew up with are part of the “Disney Renaissance” era, and that the Disney brothers had long passed on by the time they were created. But, how amazing is it that two brothers created this company back in 1923, and it’s still kind of synonymous with the ideas of growing up to have dreams and believing in magic. And, as a company that was perhaps started to bring joy to children, it’s become a brand that means just as much, if not more, to adults!
I know it means a lot to me. When I’m feeling bad about life, I put on Disney music to cheer myself up. When I feel like everything is really tough, I think of the movies and the characters who taught me to never give up. When I feel like what I want to do is impractical or a little silly, I remember that it’s the most natural thing in the world to have dreams. And, when I’m not sure how I’m going to get to the next step I need to take, I still wish on stars. Disney gave me all of that, and it’s funny to think that it all started with two brothers back in 1923.
From 1923: Hungarian Goulash
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
- 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and lightly butter a 13×9″ baking dish.
- Cook the macaroni by package instructions in salted water. Drain and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, green peppers, and onion. Season with 1 tsp. salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until onion is translucent.
- Add the ground beef or turkey and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the meat is browned completely.
- Add in the mushrooms and the tomatoes. Season with 1 tsp. salt. Stir everything together, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer with the lid on for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots can be pierced with a fork.
- Remove from heat, fold in the cooked macaroni, and then fold the cheese. Leave a handful or so of cheese out to top the goulash with.
- Pour the goulash into the prepared baking dish, and spread it out evenly. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover with foil.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the macaroni has absorbed all the sauce. Cool for ten minutes before serving.