They’re back, and so am I!

Food For The Face has been on hiatus for several months as I’ve moved from Atlanta back to my home of Des Moines. Southern living was a great experience and it certainly influenced my cooking in many ways, but it’s good to be back in the Heartland where I belong.

Speaking of the Midwest, I just got back from 9 seasons in Lanford, Illinois. I was staying with the Conners at 714 Delaware Street, in America’s favorite working-class household. Roseanne, in my humble opinion, was one of the greatest and most underrated sitcoms of our time. It featured a blue collar and self-described white trash family, the members of which lived paycheck-to-paycheck, argued and insulted each other mercilessly, talked with their mouths full, and wore the same ill-fitting clothing over and over. Written with fearless honesty, bravery, and endearing hilarity, the show was one of the first of its kind to tell the truth about how imperfect families can be, as well as directly confront the taboo issues of its era. The storylines and overtones were frequently a social commentary on economics, gender equality and women’s issues, labor unions, class, LGBTQ relationships, and even domestic violence. The show was fearlessly bold, and it made us laugh. There’s a reason it and its cast collected 17 Emmy nominations, 14 Golden Globes nominations, and a handful of People’s Choice Awards.

Twenty years after saying goodbye, the lovably unpolished Conners are coming back to television. Upon their return, we’ll get to see the same cast members (sans Roseanne) again back at 714 Delaware on March 27th. I, for one, can’t wait to see them gathered around their nostalgic kitchen table for family dinner, just like old times. Likewise, I have my own plans to break bread for the occasion, and I’ve organized a menu to fit the theme. Like Lanford, this smorgasbord was heedfully designed to be simple, frugal, and a little rustic.
First stop: snacks and cocktails.  

Lobo Lounge Punch

This is so easy and yummy. It’s a shandy made of equal parts ginger ale, a pale or blonde beer, and a lime wedge. 
The beer could be a very Lanford-esque PBR or Coors Light, but I used Blue Moon and highly recommend it. 

Emergency “Real Food” Snack Mix

Just combine the two! It’s kind of a take on a caramel corn and cheesy popcorn combo, a nice sweet and salty crunch.

Lottery Winnings

Or you could call it “Dan’s Poker Money”

Crystal’s Pink Squirrels

Here’s an easy 3-ingredient recipe that uses vanilla ice cream.

Dan’s 4-Star Chili Dip

“It’s a little bland.”
Just spread 4 cups of warm chili into a 9″ pie plate and top it with 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese. Bake it at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with Fritos and sour cream. 

Let’s talk dessert and the centerpiece of our menu. 

Afghan Cake

I just had to pay homage to the iconic couch and afghan, and I did so with a chocolate cake.
I baked the cake in a 13×9″ pan, then leveled the cake and frosted it with a deep black frosting. I piped different colors to recreate the classic blanket throw pattern, but you could also use M&M’s for the same effect. Alternatively, any plain chocolate cake will make everyone just as happy!

The original couch and afghan are in the Smithsonian. The producers of the show tried to get it back for the reboot, but the museum said no. They had to get a replica for the set.

There’s one other iconic nod that has to be made in this menu.

Lanford Lunchbox Sliders

Loose Meat Sandwiches

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 lbs. ground beef
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent and very tender. Add ground beef and break into chunks. Cook, stirring frequently until all meat is browned. 
    2. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Cover and cook 8 minutes, until beef is fully cooked.
    3. Drain meat using a slotted spoon. Serve on slider buns with pickles, condiments, and potato chips.

Last but not least…

Rodbell’s Famous Cole Slaw 

Serve those sliders with a side of this, just like Roseanne used to steal from the luncheonette. Use your favorite coleslaw recipe. 

If you’ve ever been a Roseanne fan, make sure you don’t miss the reboot. Roseanne season 10 airs on ABC on Tuesday, March 27th at 8/7c. See you in Lanford!


Other Menu Ideas:

David’s last meal (meatloaf)
-Dan’s Poker night sandwiches
-Darlene’s vegetarian lasagna
-Jackie’s Swordfish
-Frozen Mallomars
-Pudding pops
-Mommy’s chocolate pudding: fortified with Milky Ways!
White Trash Snack Mix
Dan Dan noodles
-Marge’s BLTs (“Mayo on the bread, then tomato, then lettuce, then bacon! On second thought, mayo on the side, I’ll put it on myself.”)
-Sliced Twinkies (“You don’t think that’s too pretentious, do you??”)
-David’s Favorite Meal (Roast beef and mashed potatoes)

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