Here at Matilija House, the old dude (that's me) is making his popular beef stew. This recipe kinda evolved from my starving student days, when money was more myth than reality, so one learned how to stretch a food dollar.
It all began on a cold rainy day in Boulder, Colorado. If memory serves it was late in the month, on a Tuesday evening. I couldn't afford to go out with the guys for beer and pizza, but I was hungry, so like a flash of lightning the idea struck me, why not make beef stew, how hard could it be?? I hit the market and I got some beef, some carrots, some celery and some potatoes. (I even got change from the $5.oo bill I paid with. I guess I should tell ya this all happened way back in Oct, 1955.)
I wasn't totally sure, but I opted to brown the beef in a big iron 5qt pot, then I added all the other stuff, --yes I chopped it up first, added water and let it simmer. Lets just say this first attempt was nothing to write home about, and even now it embarrasses me to talk about it. Bad as my first attempt was, it made me all the more determined to get it right-----and so after getting over my first blah attempt, I snuck a few glances at beef stew recipes when I came across them---learned tomatoes are your friend, salt, pepper, learned how to brown my meat dredged in flour-----anyway today----my beef stew is pretty damn good---hell maybe even capable of winning a ribbon at a county fair. but (sigh) its still not as good as Mom made.