Poor Man’s Chow Mein

My Mom could make a dinner out of anything she could find in the cupboard. This is a skill that should be taught at school. Unfortunately, it’s a skill developed under poor circumstances; no one wants to be a master. But there was one meal that we used to eat quite a bit, and I still make it ot this day once in a while. Poor Man’s Chow Mein. You see, our favorite place to go eat when I was a kid was  little Chow Mein place in Forest Lake called Bing Louie’s. To this day, in my opinion, the food is unmatched. But we would only get the Chinese food on special occasions-usually when my Mother’s round of overtime shifts had ended. As an adult, I can see that as a valid cause to celebrate! That being the case, to my sister and I, Chinese food became a kind of comfort when things weren’t so great. My Mom therefore, came up with her own, cheap version: A pound of hamburger, 2 or 3 cups of rice depending on how much you needed, some celery and onion, and some cream of chicken/celery/mushroom soup with a spoonful of soy sauce mixed in. That’s it! She would serve it to us in a bowl with the crunchy noodles on top and we would eat every last bite! Did we know that it had a psychological component back then? Hell, no! But I can see it crystal clear today.


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