A grasshopper walks into a bar. The bartender says, "you know, we've got a drink named after you." The grasshopper says, "you've got a drink named Bob?"
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Dear Mr. Keillor,
I'm a college student and have no idea how to cook. My girlfriend is from Minnesota and raves about this mysterious meal called "hotdish." What is this hotdish and how do I cook it? I need to impress so please tell me your best! I'm depending on you because you're the only Minnesotan I "know."
Thank you for helping me in this dire emergency.
Hotdish is casserole, Patrick. It's a meal in one dish, vegetables and grain and perhaps meat, and its good peasant cooking and it exists in every culture. Surely you ate it growing up. It might have rice or noodles and it needs some sauce and then you add what ingredients you are moved to add. Be inventive. If you want to start with a classic, do the tuna noodle hotdish, which employs a can of cream of mushroom soup (don't add water), a can of tuna, a bag of egg noodles, and perhaps a package of frozen peas. Cook the noodles, glop in the soup, add the tuna and peas, and if you want to be fancy, crush some potato chips for a topping. Then there is hamburger hotdish. Brown the meat, season it with Worcestershire, glop in a can of chopped tomatoes, and combine it with noodles. Or rice. And add whatever else you think might be tasty. (But not tuna.) For more and better ideas, Google "casserole" or look for recipes on the sides of Creamette noodle packages or Campbell soup cans.