One can of refried beans
One can of corn
One small can of bamboo shoots
Corn oil, Crisco, or butter.
First take two pieces of white bread and fry them in a pan in about a quarter inch of hot corn oil.
Brown both sides of each piece. Then take refried beans and canned corn mixture and spread lavishly on the fried bread. Before closing the sandwich add bamboo shoots “for crunch”. Add hot sauce to taste.
This is a very nostalgic dish for me, hearkening back to my childhood. My Mom made this for me when I was about six or seven years old one afternoon after I begged for her to get out of bed and go to the store to buy some food.
She told me that there was plenty of food in the house and that I should just go throw something together. I told her that I didn’t see any food, and that “mommys should feed their kids.” At this she became quite irate and swiftly stood up to give me a smack, but instead of landing a blow, her face went all sallow and she darted over to the bathroom where she proceeded to vomit.
She pulled herself away from the bathroom sink where she had evacuated her stomach and like a cat pouncing on a bug she bolted across the room, grabbed my little arm and positioned our faces inches apart. Her acrid, vomitous, nicotine-tinged breath washed over me as she spoke these words:”Listen you little shit, don’t you ever talk to me like that again. You want some fuckin’ food…?”
Without relinquishing her painful grip, she dragged me across the room to the kitchenette and in one motion of her free arm she cleared the cluttered counter top. Weeks of accumulated kitchen debris, beer bottles, dishes and food encrusted utensils came crashing down onto the floor in a fierce cacophony of destruction.
She pulled out one of the plastic lawn chairs that we used for dining-room/living-room furniture and threw me into it.
“Sit there. I’m makin’ you somthin’!” She opened the cupboards and began to rifle through the sparsely stocked shelves. She pulled out the three cans from the afore mentioned recipe, corn, refried beans, and bamboo shoots.
“See, look at all this fuckin’ food.” She sifted through the clutter on the floor and found an old bag of Wonder Bread. She pulled out the last two stiff pieces, one of which was the heel. A frying pan sat on the hot plate half filled with oil from a previous cooking endeavor.
“Stop your crying. You’re gonna’ get your food!”
She turned on the hot plate to heat the rancid oil, grabbed a Natural Ice from the fridge, cracked it open and downed it with one tip of the can. After which she let out an enormous belch and said, “Just what mommy needed.”
Now it was on the business at hand. In a cereal encrusted margarine tub, mom began to mix the refried beans and corn. She had also opened the bamboo shoots, drained the water and set them aside.
“For crunch.”, she said. Another Natural Ice was gone in seconds, followed by the obligatory belch She lit up a cigarette. Her voice was now softer and warmer.
“It’s OK honey, don’t cry. You’ll have food soon.” She began drinking her third beer, but this time at a more reasonable pace.
The bread was placed in the pan to sizzle and soak up the awful grease. After each piece was nicely browned she placed the pieces of crispy, oil laden bread on a small takeout pizza box, where one piece was slathered with the refried beans and corn. She placed the bamboo shoots in two neat little rows on top of the impromptu mixture and closed the sandwich.
She downed the rest of her beer and opened another. The pizza box was set in front of me with the warm soggy sandwich on top. Mom said, “It don’t look like much, kinda’ like a shit sandwich. I’m gonna’ go back to bed. If it’s too bland there’s hot sauce there on the table.
“Now be quiet so mommy can sleep.” She stumbled back to her bed on the other side of the room, downed her fourth beer, took a long drag of her cigarette and then dropped it onto her empty beer can where it went out with a little hiss. She disappeared under the covers.