We may have mentioned in this space before that we enjoy food, both the preparation and consumption of it. We may also have mentioned that we enjoy Sid Crosby. So imagine our delight when the always fabulous Empty Netters provided us with an opportunity to combine these two loves! Furthermore, as fans of the most repulsive thing on television (no, not Devils hockey — Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee), when we saw the details of this recipe we realized the Hockey Gods had bequeathed unto us a gift of unrivaled epicurean delights. And now we want to share with you, Gentle Reader, the joys of Sid’s meatbits.
Okay, this recipe starts with a heap of ground beef, and we went off script immediately, since we’re not big into the beef thing. We could almost feel Sid’s disapproving, narrowing gaze when we lifted a tray of ground pork out of our butcher’s case, but it had to be done. We wonder if Mama Sid ever ruined his birthday dinner by substituting pork for beef in this recipe? Probably. And that’s how JP Parise managed to recruit him to Shattuck in the first place — “We’ll never make your meatballs out of pork here, son…” But we digress. The next step involved mixing the ground meat (Sid, we’ll keep the meatstuffs non-specific if it makes you more comfortable that way) with soy sauce and ice water. This made for a dishearteningly soupy bowl of meatstuffs. But then we added the mix of surprisingly robust spices — chili powder and curry powder? With a bit of garlic salt and steak seasoning to boot? Sounds spicy! Sid was such a brave little eater when he was a kid, wasn’t he? — and the mixture crept a bit closer to “solid” status. It was gelatinous, but substantial enough that we could shape it into meatbits, and then we left them to bake up aromatically, steeping stately IPB Manor with the mouthwatering stench of Sid’s childhood meals.
Now, the next step was the part that intrigued us the most: Mama Sid’s “Sweet and Sour Sauce”. In case you have not perused the recipe yet, Gentle Reader, here’s a hint of what goes into this concoction:
That’s right: grape jelly and Heinz chili sauce. Now, it should be noted that when we returned from the grocery store with the bounty that would eventually yield Sid’s meatbits, Boomer, who grew up in Chicago in the ’50s, took one look at the bottle of chili sauce and said, “Oh good grief! They still make that?”
Mama Sid was woefully terse in her explanation of how to make this Sweet and Sour Sid Sauce, but we’ll cut her some slack because the point of the recipe was the meatbits, and this was just an especially generous bonus she added. That said, we would have liked some warning before we stirred the two elements together and ended up with this:
We decided the best approach to salvaging whatever about this Sid Sauce was edible would be to heat it gently in the hopes of melting the jelly. Bad idea. The jelly melted, but the smell blossomed. If you are ever planning to put your house on the market, Gentle Reader, we don’t recommend putting a pot of this on the stove to make the place smell like delicious home cooking to entice potential homebuyers.
Step three was the plating, and we wanted our meatbits to look as dressy as possible, as befits Sid. Here they are, in the nude:
And here they are, enrobed in Sid Sauce:
So, how does Sid’s childhood taste? Well, it was kind of a curate’s egg. The meatbits were hardly inedible, although they tasted pretty much like meat-textured balls of curry and chili powder. The Sid Sauce was not as horrifying as the smell would have you believe, but that’s not saying much. Once a meatstuff is coated with Sid Sauce, it’s just not a very tasty meatbit. Sid would probably tell us these are better with beef.
Now, this adventure in gustatory Sidsations was hardly a total loss. These were, after all, more than just run-of-the-mill meatbits — these were hockey-imbued meatbits, and they spelled out for us a truth about the NHL that we have often tried to deny. Observe:
The meatbit you see in the foreground is the New Jersey Devils, and the one in the distance is the Vancouver Canucks. They’re so far apart! Yet somehow it’s just so easy for the Devils to travel…
…And just so laborious for the Canucks.
Seriously, Gentle Reader, that just took the Canucks seven pictures to go the distance it only took the Devils one. They should petition the league to get more home games next year. Or just have to play fewer games altogether. That’s just totally unfair. If only Gary Bettman and Lou Lamoriello hadn’t put that damn continent in their way, maybe they’d have more Stanley Cups.
Anyway, we want to send a hearty thank you to Sid and Mama Sid for this amazing recipe, and to Empty Netters for bringing us and it together. And Sid’s meatbits want to say a very special message for all our Gentle Readers: