EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of guest columns in which long-dead or never-alive authors answer real food questions
that I stole that are inspired by real listener questions from real food podcasts.
Long before Americans turned to YouTube celebrities and social media trolls to provide terrible answers to life’s most important questions, we had humorous housewife essayists to fill that need. From the black and white pages of newspaper Lifestyle sections in the 70s (which were an actual thing with lots of pages), these cranky but cuddly gals told it like it wasn’t about waxy yellow buildup and cream of mushroom soup.
At the top of that cantankerous laundry heap was Ima Bombast, beloved columnist and author of the best-selling book, “A Home Cooked Meal is Like Shangri-La (My Husband Will Never See Either of Them.)” Sadly, Ima pulled a Richard Simmons and disappeared from public life in 1980 when her stash of Canadian saccharine and Jello 1-2-3 ran out. But she’s back and ready to answer your questions.
TODAY’S QUESTION: “I want to talk about cooked salsas”
I want to talk about cooked salsas. Part of my frustration is that everything I buy from the store tastes like canned tomatoes. The tastes are flat, the textures are flat. I love fresh salsas, but I’m looking for something that can last a little longer in the fridge but still have a depth of flavor and textures that pop.
— Derrick from Decatur, Georgia
Well, you certainly know your way around the kitchen big fella.
But Chrissy-and-Janet-on-a-cracker, I haven’t heard a man complain so much about things being flat since my honeymoon. As I told Husby just yesterday, if big boobs are what turn you on, go watch the Watergate hearings on TV. Just don’t tell me about it afterward.
I may not know what salsa is (and I’m not positive what all those knobs on the stove are for either), but I do know a thing or two about tomatoes in the can. After bridge club today, I found that the 3-year-old had picked a ripe Big Boy from the neighbor’s garden across the street and was hiding in the bathroom to eat it. I gave him a good talking to for that.
“If only you had thought of this an hour ago,” I said. “I’d have had more than half a bag of mini marshmallows and a bottle of vermouth to serve the bridge club. Next time, don’t forget to pick a bottle of Italian dressing too.” Then I asked, “Are you going to finish that?”
Let me tell you, tomatoes in the can are not so bad.
Now If you want something with depth of flavor that ages well in the fridge, I recommend a box of baking soda. Mine’s been there since 1958.
I hear that was a very good year.
– Ima, still in the bathroom