Everyone has meals they go to in case of emergency.
Either you're so hungry you need to make that one thing you can make quickly and have it still taste good, or you're so lazy you have no desire to try and make something else.
For most college kids, the typical example of this type of food is ramen noodles. My go-to meal used to be ramen, too — until I swore off it with a vengeance when I created this column. Then it became boxes of Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese, which, to be honest, isn’t that much better than ramen in terms of culinary simplicity and general boringness.
In a previous column, I attempted to make corned beef hash, which you probably don’t remember unless you’re a regular reader (in which case you’re probably a friend of mine, my mother, or a friend of my mother. Thanks for the support, guys!).
For the rest of you, corned beef hash is a food I crave at least once a week, depending on how many times I’ve eaten meat and potatoes in some other iteration. That attempt was successful if your standards for success are “edible and not the worst food I’ve ever eaten.”
However, I did not really make corned beef hash; I made a meat and potato stew. I tried to make corned beef hash with stew meat, so obviously it would turn into a stew. Who would have figured?
There are two reasons why I decided to try and make corned beef hash again this week. The first is that I already had all the ingredients in my fridge, and I had just woken up from a nap and didn’t feel like driving to Walmart.
I didn’t really have a recipe, but I had a potato and some ground beef in my fridge, and I figured I’d see what would happen. I knew if I messed it up again, I would cry because I was so unbelievably hungry. I would have picked up crumbs off the ground and eaten them.
I wanted to try again because my mom flew into town last weekend. It was nice to see her, but the reason I’m telling you this is because my mom’s credit card also flew into town with her, and we had an absolute blast.
We went to Bed Bath & Beyond and threw a whole bunch of money around so I could upgrade my kitchen. More specifically, we dropped some dollars on a grater, which means now instead of having to dice potatoes, I could shred them, which is way more straightforward and also my preferred way to consume potatoes.
With my handy shredder and my prestocked fridge ready to go, I began my conquest. But halfway through cooking though, I decided I wanted some cheesy hash browns instead.
Conveniently, I had a whole bunch of cheese in my fridge, and I threw most of it on top of the hash browns. I mixed it all up until the cheese was melted and the potatoes were soft.
I’m somewhat ashamed to have copped out from my corned beef hash mission and opted for much simpler cheesy hash browns. But those cheesy hash browns were super good and super easy to make, and now I have a new emergency food that I’m no longer ashamed to integrate heavily into my diet for the rest of my life.
So long mac ‘n’ cheese, there’s a new highly-unhealthy-but-super-tasty-and-simple food in town.