Cook the grossest thing you can find from a 50’s cookbook

So a little change had to be made to this adventure.  After searching for recipes Lindsay realized that it is awfully difficult to find a recipe without dairy or gelatin from the 50’s and both her and her boyfriend are unable to eat dairy or gelatin.  So what was our solution?  Obviously, we had to veganize a 50’s recipe therefore making it the grossest thing.  Here is what I made.


I have to admit something to you.  I LOVE tuna casserole.  I think it’s the most comforting, mushy, warm thing in the world and I love it.  Jesse and I have been known to make a huge tuna casserole and eat all of it in one sitting (we try to only do this once a year).  It’s so disgusting.  But with this love in mind I decided to make vegan tuna casserole.  I found a recipe here.

Another thing that should be said is that I’m an absolute omnivore.  I eat it all.  The only thing I feel totally weary of eating is foods that are one thing but claim to be another.  Perhaps you can imagine then the shame, horror, confusion, embarrassment, disappointment, etc. I felt as I was purchasing soy milk, fake cheese, margarine and searching for fake fish.  It all felt so wrong.  Why am I buying this soy milk when there is organic locally produced whole milk right there for the same price?  Why am I going to consume this insanely processed cheese that is all oil?  How can people eat this and feel connected to the earth and its bounty? (these questions are rhetorical.  I don’t want to have a conversation about why being vegan is the way with any of you.  I am going to eat a pulled pork sandwich after I write this, so lets not even talk about it)

After bringing my groceries home it literally took me days before I could build up the courage to actually cook the casserole.  It’s a simple enough recipe, cook pasta, make a sauce, combine pasta and sauce, and throw in oven.  But every time I looked at the recipe I felt absolute dread.  Would I make this recipe and then immediately throw it all out?  Was I really willing to waste that much food?

Finally, this morning I made the f*cking recipe.  I blasted the happiest music as loud as I could and I made the goddamn vegan tuna casserole.  The sauce looked like this:

Mainly its soy milk, nutritional yeast and some flavored powders.  Stirring the fake cheese into the mix was gross because it sort of acted like cheese in that it melted but it left my hands totally covered in grease.  When I added the pasta and the tempeh that I used as my “tuna” it looked like this: 

And that’s pretty much how it continued to look even after it came out of the oven.  

I ate this “vuna casserole” as one of my friends named it while reading Mona Simpson’s editorial in the New York Times, “A sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs”.  Can I tell you right now that this was the worst idea ever?  It’s a beautiful editorial and you see Steve Jobs outside of the context of tech genius, as a loving and passionate man who cared deeply for the people around him and strived to create beauty in the world.  Needless to say it made me cry.  It made me cry right into my horrible “vuna casserole” and as big wet tears slid down my cheeks and into my “vuna casserole” I realized what it might feel to be the exact opposite of Steve Jobs.  Self-repressive, sad, and willing to eat something brown and weirdly textured, thinking that it is somehow OK to only live life half way.

I don’t know what sort of meaningful conclusion I was hoping to reach at the end of this.  All I can say is this: you should not make vegan tuna casserole; if it were up to me we would all eat the things we know are produced with love, passion, and care; and you should never read something incredibly moving and sad while eating something you know you will hate.  

Now I need to try to get the feeling of gelatinous lead out of my stomach and head over to Fatted Calf for some primo omgisthisferreal pulled pork.


More like SNOREgon, amirite?

"Visit a historical place in your city" was tough for me, because when you’ve lived in the same city off and on for 23 years you start to wonder whether there’s anything you don’t know about it. I hate to admit it, but instead of doing the research required to find some new and exciting Portland thing that I’d never done before, I decided just to go to the Oregon Historical Society for a couple of hours (to be fair, I’d never been there) and make some childish snarky drawings. ADVENTUROUS!!

Okay, so if you can’t decipher my scribbly pictures or read my scrabbly handwriting, I’ll give you the jist of this. The Oregon Historical Society runs a museum that’s free if you’re a resident of Multnomah County (yesssss), and it’s in the center of Portland’s cultural district (“cultural district” = an art museum, a playhouse, a concert hall, a movie theater, and a big famous sign). On a Wednesday at 2 pm there is absolutely. no one. around. There were maybe two other people in this museum besides me. Not exaggerating. This is typical of Portland: a few summers ago some friends from LA were living here for a couple of months and we’d walk around downtown and they’d be like “Has the zombie apocalypse come already? WHERE IS EVERYONE?” It’s true: it kind of always feels like the zombie apocalypse in downtown Portland.

ANYWAY! Museum! So because I was the only person in the museum, there was this lady who greeted me as soon as I walked through the doors and sat me down at the front desk and pulled out a map and gave me extremely detailed directions about what exhibits were currently on display and the recommended order in which to see them, and somehow I still managed to do it wrong. I spent the most time in the most boring exhibit, and I went through it backwards. The exhibit is called OREGON MY OREGON (name of the state song) and it’s basically a 5th-grade level textbook about Oregon history, with a lot of props.

Highlights, in easy-to-read bullet format:

  • So I did the end of the exhibit first, and I think it was supposed to be about present-day Oregon, but for some reason it was set up like an old-timey drugstore soda counter. There were swively vinyl barstools and mini jukeboxes, only instead of songs you could play things like “FISH,” “RACISM,” and “INDIAN CASINOS.” Woo! Being the funloving gal that I am, I chose “ASSISTED SUICIDE” and BOOM! My grandma’s face showed up on the TV screen above the drugstore counter and then there was my aunt talking all about Oregon’s death with dignity law. I was super psyched about it and looking all around for someone so I could be like, “That’s my grandma!!” but of course no one was there and if there was someone there they probably would have been like “I’m sorry your grandma died? Why are you excited.” Kind of hard to explain, but you know, fight for what you believe in life and in death! My grandma was awesome.
  • There were sooooo many shoes in this exhibit. They should have called it “OREGONIAN SHOES: A HISTORY.” Why? Why were there so many shoes? The ones I tried to draw were logging boots which actually looked a lot like the boots my boyfriend wears all the time so I guess he must be a real Oregonian after all, even though he was born in Texas and I’ll never let him forget it
  • Super old canned food. Was there really food in there? A mystery for the ages.
  • In one part of the museum they had real covered wagon! And near the covered wagon was a display of what looked like a whole bunch of little fondue forks. Because I have a short attention span when it comes to historical museum exhibits, I didn’t read the little blurb about the forks and as a result I may never know whether they ate fondue on the Oregon Trail.
  • Banjo music comin’ atcha from every direction.
  • Narcissa Whitman really wanted the Indians to know that she knew they were Christians, even if they were definitely not Christians. The Methodists’ effort to convert people did not go so well, it seems.
  • There was this one room that was supposed to be like the hold of a boat and I reaaaally hated it. It was this claustrophobic little space with creeeeeeaaking noises coming from every direction, and Dane and I had just watched Paranormal Activity the night before and the only thing I could think was THE DEMON IS WATCHING ME, I CAN FEEL IT BREATHING ON ME.
  • David Douglas actually ate a bald eagle—he shot it and then he ate it for dinner and then he bragged all about it in his journal. This happened many times. The majority of the trees you see when you walk around in NW Oregon are called Douglas Firs, and they are named after this eagle murderer.
  • At one point in the exhibit there was just a barrel with no explanation for why there was a barrel!

And that, friends, was my trip to the Oregon Historical Museum! Honestly not the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done, but it’s just the beginning of this adventuring blog and at least I’m trying! I did learn that there was such a thing as the Seaside Riots, and that was kind of interesting and I blogged about it over here for a minute. That was actually in a different exhibit—to be honest, the OREGON MY OREGON exhibit kind of sucked all the life out of me, so that when I went down to look at the other exhibits I just kind of wandered and harrumphed to myself. “Hm. Governor Kitzhaber’s jeans. How museum-worthy.” 


Visit a Historical Place in Your City- Historical Streetcars, San Francisco

So it turns out that San Francisco has a super cute obsession with rail transit (see here).  Which should have been obvious to me before moving here.  The whole rice-a-roni thing used trolleys to represent the city, I’m pretty sure there were trolleys in the opening credits to Full House (I never watched that show so I’m not totally sure), any guidebook to SF you get tells you to ride the trolleys and streetcars, but I guess I hadn’t really thought about it because I was too concerned with galavanting around the city, eating burritos, surviving earthquakes, etc (see here). 

The other night though, as I was making my way from a martini bar in the Tenderloin to a karaoke place in the Castro, (yes, I know my life is very glamorous) I found myself participating in a little piece of San Francisco history!  I probably would not have realized this had my friend not screeched, “REN THIS IS YOUR HISTORICAL PLACE!!!!”  So thank you Colin, for helping me see what was right in front of me.  We were on the historic F train!!!

The funny thing about the F train is that it actually isn’t that “historic.”  It was officially opened for regular transit in 1995 after being a “summer success” for the previous 5 years as part of the annual Trolley Festival, (see what I mean about the really cute obsession with rail transit?). The only reason why they started running the F-line at the Trolley Festival in the first place was because they were doing a major revamp of all other public transit so the city hoped the novelty of the old trolleys could maintain tourism while also getting San Franciscans around the city.  Turns out people loved travelling like old-timey people and they demanded the street cars come back every year!

So like I said, in actuality the F is a pretty new line and its reason for being reopened isn’t entirely for the love of rail transit.  What makes it cool and historic though, is that the trams, street cars and trolleys that operate along the F line are from all over the world!  The F line is made up of vintage street cars that were retired and then picked up and restored by MUNI and then sent to rattle, jerk and shake up and down Market st.  You can ride in a street car from Milan, Japan, New Orleans, Australia, Cleveland (!!!), the list goes on!  It’s pretty cool!  And you feel like an active player in the super cute obsession San Francisco has with rail transit!

So here’s my experience riding the F-line: I don’t recommend it for daily use.  It’s slow.  It stop abruptly every 10 seconds like a 15 year old learning how to drive.  And it’s really uncomfortable.   As a fun thing to do though, it’s the best!  The single-cars are brightly painted and look like submarines and you get to see what it was like to travel around SF before there were electric buses and things that go underground!  Also the novelty was really great, I can’t lie. 

So there it is!  My historic place in San Francisco! I feel kind of dishonest to represent it as the only historic place I visited because as it turns out every place in San Francisco is pretty much historic.  The neighborhood  I live in for example, Hayes Valley, was an underserved neighborhood with, as wikipedia describes it, urban blight and decay.  Then during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake the entire elevated freeway that ran over Hayes Valley collapsed which revealed the neighborhood to actually be really nice and sunny when not being shrouded by concrete.  The collapse of the freeway and subsequent removal of freeway bits led to the neighborhood’s eventual “revitalization.”  That’s why now I can walk out of my house and go to 6 stores to buy $400 boots but can’t get groceries or do laundry, which if you ask me is pretty “historic”. 

Week 1 Adventures

1. Visit a historical place in your city.

2. Cook the grossest thing you can find from a 50’s cookbook. 


About this blog: Simultaneously we found ourselves unemployed.   Lindsay in Portland, OR and Ren in San Francisco, CA. We both had jobs we loved but due to the economy they both ceased to exist.  After talking almost every day about sitting at our computers in our underwear we decided to take action.  Collaborate, create, motivate, find something that could get us to put on pants and leave the house! We decided to assign ourselves aventures every week that we will then write about, photo document, doodle etc. Follow our adventures!  Join us on our assignments!   BE BRAVE! GO FORTH! ADVENTURERS!

About this blog: Simultaneously we found ourselves unemployed.   Lindsay in Portland, OR and Ren in San Francisco, CA. We both had jobs we loved but due to the economy they both ceased to exist.  After talking almost every day about sitting at our computers in our underwear we decided to take action.  Collaborate, create, motivate, find something that could get us to put on pants and leave the house! We decided to assign ourselves aventures every week that we will then write about, photo document, doodle etc. Follow our adventures!  Join us on our assignments!  

As a way to allay the despondency of unemployment, we are assigning ourselves 2-3 adventures each week.

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