Wicked smart with an insanely devious sense of the ironic, Connie Brockway is a former Mrs. Minnesota who wowed judges with her flaming baton routine performed to the University of Minnesota Pep Band's rendition of "The Theme from Titanic."
OK. I just wrote that because she likes to rib Lisa Kleypas and me about being old queens. But the first part's true, and nowhere more evident than in her debut contemporary, "Hot Dish," out Nov. 7th.
I wanted not to like it cause, as you know we dig her historicals here and want her to write more of those men like Harry and Kit who are dynamic men, dynamic in all ways. Anywayz, "Hot Dish" is tremendously good, and Connie's a lot of fun, so give her a big Bella buongiorno...
Minnesotans are a subtle people. While others exchange opinions and views through in-your-face methods like ...talking, we here in the heartland use abstract and arcane methods of communicating. Like cooking.
Take “hot dish.” At first glance “hot dish,” that quintessential Minnesota answer to the Italian bravado called Lasagna, that upstart bit of Greek culinary nonsense termed moussaka, and the French affectation entitled Cassoulet, is simply a hearty, easy to produce sort of casserole.
Legend has it that “hot dish” was created by a never-to-be named --because that would be self-aggrandizement and therefore *wrong*(it was Hildie Osterland)-- over-worked woman preparing food in the Good Sam Lutheran Church basement for the Dahlquist funeral.
She was just setting out the jello mold when one of her Circle Sisters called with the completely unacceptable excuse that she was “a little under the weather” and therefore incapable of bringing the promised Swedish meatballs to the church.
The unnamed woman (Hildie) fell to her knees- no, not in prayer but to scrounge around the bottom shelf of the basement kitchens food stores, seeking inspiration. Inspiration came in the form of a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup, a bag of elbow macaroni and a freezer full of raw hamburger patties left over from the Boy Scout Jamboree. A bag of potato chips and five pounds of shredded American cheese later, “hot dish” was born.
Since then, a thousand hot dish recipes have been created on the spur of the moment by frugal, practical and phlegmatic Minnesotans. How does this have anything to do with communicating? Well, at their best hot dishes are delicious, nourishing, comforting and familiar. The worst are perfunctory, unappetizing, and filled with empty calories.
Get it? “Hot Dishes” are a metaphor for life. That’s right. And if you don’t believe me you need to watch more Ingmar Bergman movies. At least they are in my very very soon (November 7th) to be released contemporary entitled, you guessed it, HOT DISH!
So, in honor of the very very soon to be released HOT DISH, I’m challenging you to
Submit your favorite hot dish recipes today, which will be judged by a panel of authentic Lutheran Basement Church Ladies based on the following criteria:
1> Must include three of the four following ingredients: noodles, canned soup, processed cheese, ground or canned meat.
2> Originality—but not too original. We’re talking Minnesota hot dish here, not Iowa.
The winner will be announced Nov. 1 on my site www.conniebrockway.com where you can also see a trailer of HOT DISH. The prize? A Minnesota casserole in which to bake your own hot dishes and an autographed copy of my book, HOT DISH.
Thanks for reading!
ConnieBrockway.com and SquawkRadio.com