37. Beef Stroganoff

Russian dinner! Woo-hoo!

Beef Stroganoff

I wish that I had a phenomenal dating story to share about a brooding Russian expat named Vlad, but no. And we all know that it is because of the dating stories that most of you are reading Dinner is Served 1972.

But, oh, what the hell? I can tell you about a date I did have with a European dude of a different flavor!

So this guy, Christian, we met on a Saturday afternoon at local coffee shop. I am waiting at the front of the place and then he walks up, all (nearly albino) six feet and six inches him. Yeah, nearly albino. He was really pale. Ginger. No eyebrows. Not a bad looking fellow, I supposed, but I do find the whole no eyebrows a bit disconcerting.

So we sit down and he orders a triple espresso (I guess you need triple the caffeine for that much man) and I get an iced tea (coffee gives me the heartburn because I am so old now). So anyway, on his dating profile there was no mention at all about him not being from the US, so when he opened his mouth and sounded all European, I was all “what the fuck accent is that?”

I couldn’t focus on anything that he was actually talking about–except that he was a vegetarian. OF COURSE. But mostly I was just thinking “where the hell is this guy from?”

That was until–UNTIL!–we started talking about the cicadas, and how this summer Baltimore was supposed to be overrun with cicadas. WHICH DID NOT HAPPEN!


But anyway, as I am sipping on my iced tea I start talking about a short documentary I watched about said bugs (best to know your enemy) and then Christian describes some show he saw years ago about how imitation vanilla is flavored with the extract of the anal glands of beavers.

Yes, you read that right. Imitation vanilla flavored with the extract of the anal glands of beavers. 

So many questions. Namely–who is the person that discovered the fact that the secretions from the anal glands of beavers tastes like vanilla?

Seriously. Who found that out?

And then my other question was “where the hell does one watch a documentary about the origins of imitation vanilla flavoring?”

Answer: Dutch TV.

Ah, Dutch! Mystery solved.

But this is how the date ended–I said that I needed to go the CVS. And Christian says “I’ll go with you.” Weird. But whatever. So I go and pick up a prescription, and while he is looking at dental floss, I go over to the hair dye aisle because I needed to do my roots. So he joins me in the hair care aisle and I’m basically all “well, I have the coupon for this brand, but I have’t tried it yet. Hey, you’re up there and have a good look at the top of my head–do you think this shade will blend with my current color?”

So right after I got home,  Christian sends me a text: “you did something at the drug store that really turned me on, but I can’t remember what it was.” Me: “Um. OK.” Him:  “I might have to ask for the security camera footage to see what it was.” Me: “Are you sure it wasn’t me talking about all of my grey hair?”

That was the last exchange I had with the basketball-player-sized, nearly albino Dutchman.

The moral of this dating story is: everyone should buy real vanilla extract. Unless you want beaver ass juice in your cakes and cookies.

But here it is 37. Beef Stroganoff!

DSCF5641[1]Everything on the card was pretty standard. In fact, I had some of the ingredients already in the kitchen! It looked like I would be able to score all of the Stroganoff ingredients from my Safeway.

Well, except the Borscht. Bottled Borscht? Screw you, Dinner is Served!

I began looking on the web for easy Borscht recipes because what are the odds that they’d have that at the Safeway? I mean, they don’t sell veal. Or endive.

But lo and behold! Look what we have here:


Straight from the Safeway shelves!

Frickin’ jarred borscht from the Kosher foods section.

Oh, but the Safeway didn’t have a single bunch of parsley, so their streak is still unbroken!

bottled borscht

Not from concentrate!

Yeah, so the borscht was basically beet juice. With some little beet bits floating in it. It seriously just tasted like the juice that is in a can of beets. I don’t know what made this borscht and not just the leftovers from a can of beets. Isn’t there supposed to be beef? Whatever. I had a taste and then put the rest in the fridge (don’t worry, I ended up using the leftovers).

I did not make the salad because I just wasn’t in the mood. Plus, a green salad isn’t terribly interesting, amiright?

Onto the Stroganoff!

I followed the directions on the card to a T:

Meat browned.
Added onions and mushrooms.


Everything cooked!

Flour added to make that gravy!

Flour added to make that gravy!

So to deglaze the pan and make the gravy, I doubled the amount of sherry to a full cup. Because I really like Sherry. And a 1/2 cup just didn’t seem like enough.  And I was right, because this dish was thick. Really, really thick. Take a gander:


This photo is horrific and does not do the dish any justice. The lighting in my kitchen is utter crap!

So in the future, if I opt to make #37 again,  I would also add a cup of broth. I think it would be much more successful with a thinner gravy. And it would have been more successful had I been able to have my noodles buttered with real parsley and not that sad, dehydrated crap (damn you, Safeway!).

But overall this was a winner. I liked it.

In a later post I will tell you all about the magnificence that was my Charlotte Russe. I had to go to another card (#96) for the recipe so I think that it deserves a post of its own. It does involve unflavored gelatin, after all.

This entry was posted in 1970s, Beef cuts, Food, International Cuisine, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to 37. Beef Stroganoff

  1. Mum says:

    i do love starting my week with a ‘dinner is served’. a vegetarian Dutchman with no eyebrows…..come on….you made that up!

  2. rusty cunningham says:

    I like how the good people at Manischewitz felt the need to say, “Borscht with diced beets”! Ummmm, really?

  3. chef mimi says:

    Oh my. I’m so glad I’m not dating any more! And good to know about vanilla…

  4. Pingback: Blender Borsch | Dinner is Served 1972

  5. A vegan dutchman who somehow found a documentary about imitation vanilla/beaver anal glands? You have such an interesting life! lol
    And I’m homemade vanilla extract all the way. Vanilla beans and Everclear. No beaver ass glands to be found!
    Now I want some beef stroganoff…..

  6. Pingback: Charlotte Russe | Dinner is Served 1972

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