Growing up North Dakota, I was raised on hotdish. If you’re new to hotdishes, this excerpt from How to Talk Minnesotan: A Visitor’s Guide, might help introduce you to its cultural significance:
On your visit to Minnesota, you will sooner or later come face to face with Minnesota’s most popular native food, hotdish. It can grace any table. A traditional main course, hotdish is cooked and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears at family reunions and church suppers. Hotdish is constructed on a base of canned cream of mushroom soup and canned vegetables. The other ingredients are as varied as the Minnesota landscape. If you sit down to something that doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen before, it’s probably hotdish.
I was pleased to find Hotdish entry in Wikipedia, just one more testament to the brilliance of this collaborative encyclopedia (eat your heart out, Encyclopedia Britannica).
The last couple months, I’ve been getting in touch with my roots by cooking more hotdishes myself (as well as crock pot dishes, which I consider a sister to the casserole). Wednesday night I decided to try out a hotdish standard—tuna hotdish with peas—though embellished with a few different ingredients (a butternut squash soup base and farfalle noodles).
I based my dish on a recipe from Epicurious.com, which included this remarkable review from japanesesteve from Agusta, ME:
(Too disgusting for words. I would rather eath cockroaches on fear factor. Bottom line, tuna cassarole is food from hell. (in the background, vomit spewing) Sorry about that people, I just want to emphasize my absolute hate for your weird tuna trash. Why can’t we eat sushi? Why can’t we eat sushi? Hacks should stop selling their trash on the Internet. I have a good recipe: my world famous C-Dawg’s pizza with bbq sauce and all kinds of vegies and meats. Now that is food.
Such display of bile is impressive, and I found it oddly satisfying that tuna hotdish could inspire such vitriol. Clearly, japanessteve has some unresolved issues here, perhaps even a secret attraction for casseroles that he lets slip in the last line: his recipe sounds more like a casserole than a pizza (who really slathers “all kinds of veggies and meats” with bbq sauce and throws in on a pizza?).
Just stop fighting your natural urges, my friend–throw it all in a casserole dish, turn the oven to 425, and be at peace. I’ll look forward to the recipe for C-Dawg’s bbq pizza hotdish when you finally come to your senses.