the Goliard

June, 2002

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Mo              Mo and her rum and coke

Mo, shown here sporting a rosy countenance brought on by the well deserved string of rum and cokes she enjoyed as her oldest daughter's wedding reception was winding down, has been making Mostaccioli in the St. Louis area for lo' these many years. Though she didn't make her famous dish on this particular night due to fears that her snobby new son-in-law would expect catered food, she regrets it now as he has proven to be the sort that would have appreciated a good Midwestern noodle dish. And according to all reports, Mo knows the Midwest. And noodles.

"The big M takes no prisoners in the kitchen, especially when it comes to party trays and finger foods," marvels middle daughter Kristen Leigh, "Those little folding sandwiches and cucumber stackers and deviled eggs! Come on! She's the best. But when she's about to break out the Mostaccioli, you just get the sense that things are about to progress to a whole new level. She always gets a certain gleam in her eye. It's a confidence thing I guess."

Other family members are equally complimentary about Mo's exploits between the sinks. "Probably her biggest skill in the kitchen is delegating responsibility to other cooks," reports first daughter Lisa Helen, who remembers when Mo enlisted her for meal responsibilities on Monday thru Thursday nights and weekends from the day she turned nine until she went off to college. "She had us on a cooking regimen that included shopping, prepping, defrosting, not to mention doing the dishes. She oversaw the whole operation almost effortlessly with a hands off approach that can only be called impressive. She could even be off playing bridge or in a hot tub somewhere and everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. Then, with the day to day operations safely farmed out, Mo was able to concentrate on honing her party planning and soiree throwing skills. Kristen and I may not have had much social life growing up, but the party going populace of mid central Missouri were the big winners."

Mo is currently in the process of relocating to a larger, brand spanking new kitchen/entertaining space on the outskirts of town and has been busy with the details. With the last of her brood recently leaving the nest for the world beyond the Show-Me-State, Mo has also been diligently training a new staff member, husband Barry, who is taking a well deserved sabbatical from gainful employment after thirty years in the public school trenches so that he might learn the ins and outs of Mo's kitchen. "There are days, believe me, when I'd rather be placating a gang of irate parents or dragging the first period smokers out of the girls restroom as opposed to some of the stuff she's got me doing," says Barry, wiping his brow and narrowly missing taking a slice out of his new Redbirds cap with a potato peeler, "but overall I enjoy it. And with the new house coming online, Mo's got a lot to worry about what with carpet colors, matching bath towels, and curtain material. Not to mention planning the house warming. She's been leaving me pretty much alone lately and I'm thankful for that. As long as I get my work done I've got no problems." 

As far as the house warming goes, the townsfolk anticipate big things. "The first party she throws in the new digs should be a real blowout," said a former neighbor who, despite nearly drowning his dog over and over and leaving a sailboat in his front yard all year round, hopes to make it on to the guest list. "All sorts of little egg rolls, mini sandwiches, Aubrey Thacker's mom's casserole. And the punch. Oh the punch! I plan on being there I can tell you that."

Ingredients:

10 oz package Mostaccioli noodles 
15 oz block chili (frozen, usually in the meat department--"Rices" if you are in Missouri or Kansas, some other kind if you are not) 
2 cans tomato soup 
2 cans tomato sauce 
1 1/2 tsp. anise 
2 cloves garlic (1/2 tsp garlic powder) 
2 tsp. oregano 
2 lbs. ground beef 
2 cans stewed tomatoes
Cut the chili block into pieces and place in large pan. Add chopped stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato soup, and 2 soup cans of water. Simmer. Brown the ground beef with minced onions and salt and pepper. Drain well and add to tomato mixture. Add oregano, anise, and garlic and simmer. Boil the mostaccioli noodles in salt and some margarine. Serve sauce over noodles.

Serving Ideas: 
can be prepared ahead and frozen 
makes enough for two meals - freeze half 
Serve with tossed salad
French or Italian bread

 

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