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Today's Case:

Red Spaghetti

----- Original Message ----- 
From: richard 
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 7:36 AM
Subject: Spaghetti Red

My grandmother used to cook in the local school..back in the late 40's early 50's .
she had a recepie for this dish -- made with spaghetti, hamburger, tomatoe sause 
and not sure what else..I thought maybe cheese on top..but not sure and not sure 
of the rest of the ingrediants....any suggestion as to where I might find this? 
It was really grandmother did not write anthing down and unfortunately 
the recepie was only in here memory...thank you..richard  

Hello Richard,

Well, I'm puzzled because I don't see any difference between what you describe and ordinary spaghetti with tomato & meat sauce. "Spaghetti red" or "spaghetti, red" are terms used just to mean spaghetti with a tomato based sauce as opposed to other (spaghetti, white) sauces like alfredo, etc.

The first recipe below was given for the same question that you are asking on a message board, and it's the only recipe that I could find with the actual name of "spaghetti red". Is that it? Maybe without the beans?

The second recipe is actually from a 1950s school cafeteria cookbook. Note that it's an institutional recipe, and serves 100.

The last two are said to be from 1950s school cafeteria recipes, but I have no idea of their provenance.

There is a copycat of a school cafeteria spaghetti recipe here, with photos:

Cafeteria Spaghetti


Spaghetti Red

package (7 ounces) spaghetti 
1 pound lean ground beef 
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
2 cups Progresso® diced tomatoes (from 28-oz can), undrained 
1 can (19 oz) Progresso® red kidney beans, undrained 
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce 
1 tablespoon chili powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (5 ounces) 

1. Cook spaghetti as directed on package. While spaghetti is cooking, 
    cook beef and onion in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring 
	occasionally, until beef is brown and onion is tender; drain. 
2. Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, chili powder and salt. 
    Cook uncovered over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring 
	occasionally, until as thick as you'd like. 
3. Drain spaghetti; divide among dinner plates. Top with beef mixture; 
    sprinkle with cheese.
1950's School Cafeteria Spaghetti Sauce

12 lbs ground beef
5 1/3 ounces dehydrated onions
1/2 cup garlic powder
2 #10 cans tomatoes, with liquid, chopped
1 #10 can tomato paste
5 1/3 ounce beef base
2 2/3 ounces brown sugar
1/4 cup ground basil
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup dried oregano
1/4 cup dried parsley
2 Tab salt
1 tab pepper

Brown ground beef and drain well. Rinse ground beef with 
hot water and drain well. 
Add onions and garlic powder, cook for 5 minutes. 
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour. 
Yields 100 servings
(School Cafeteria) Italian Spaghetti 

l/2 lb. ground beef 
l/2 lb. bacon 
2 onions
1 green pepper
3 or 4 pieces celery(tops,too)
2 cans tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Fry bacon slowly until crisp, then place it on an absorbent 
paper towel. Brown beef in bacon grease. Add onions,celery, 
and green pepper which have all been chopped fine. 
Break the crisp bacon and add it. Then add the tomato paste, 
sauce and water. Cover and let cook slowly for about one hour. 
Serve over thin spaghetti and sprinkle with grated cheese. 
Serves 6. 

l/2 lb. bacon 
1 bay leaf 
1 large onion 
green pepper
1 red pepper
2 cans tomato paste
1 lb. spaghetti

Fry bacon, crisp, chop onion, red and green pepper and fry 
until lightly brown. Add tomato paste and four cans water, 
salt and pepper to taste, simmer very slowly for about two 

Pour over cooked spaghetti and serve very hot.

French Canadian Potatoes

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Bonnie 
Sent: Saturday, July 25, 2009 4:17 PM
Subject: Request

Hi, Phaedrus.  My sister's mother-in-law, who was Canadian-French, 
used to make a potato dish that, phoenetically, was something like 
"Frick-le-keh-say". It involved sliced potatoes, bacon grease, onions, 
salt and was cooked slowly in a pot on the stove.  The starch from 
the potatoes thickens the liquid into a nice sauce, resulting in a very 
delicious side dish.  I've looked all around the internet, but can't 
come up with a correct spelling or any recipe similar to this 
originating in Canada.  Can you help?  
Thanks in advance for your efforts!

- Bonnie 

Hello Bonnie,

I searched dozens of Candadian recipe sites, French Canadian recipe sites and Quebec recipe sites, and I did not find anything at all like what you decscribe or anything with a name similar to that. Sorry.



Another reader, Timm, says this:

RE: French Canadian Potatoes 
I think Bonnie may have the name confused with another dish. "Frick-le-keh-say" 
or Fricassée is usually a poultry dish; although there are some recipes for 
vegetable Fricassée that usually involve wild mushrooms.

I think the recipe she is looking for is called Lyonnaise Potatoes or 
Potatoes Lyonnaise. 
The dish is usually made with butter but can be made with bacon grease. 

Timm in Oregon

Lyonnaise Potatoes 


4 pounds baking potatoes, baked and cooled, about 4 to 6 large baking potatoes
1 cup bacon fat
2-1/2 pounds Spanish onions, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Sea salt to taste
White pepper, freshly ground to taste
1 teaspoon fresh curly leaf parsley, chopped


Cut the ends off the potatoes, peel and slice in half lengthwise. 
Cut each half across into 1/4 inch thick slices and set aside

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When warm, add 
half the bacon fat and heat until hot. Add half the potatoes and toss. 
Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until light golden brown

Add half the onions, season to taste with salt and pepper, and sauté 
for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a large bowl, 
cover loosely, and set aside to keep warm. Repeat to make the 
second batch with the remaining fat, potatoes, onions and seasoning. 
When all the potatoes are in the bowl, add the parsley and toss. 
Serve immediately.
Potatoes Lyonnaise


2 pounds baked potatoes, sliced
1/2 cup Spanish onions, sliced
1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon bacon fat, divided use 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground 
1 teaspoon parsley, freshly chopped


Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/8 cup of the bacon fat 
and lay the potatoes down in the bacon fat. If the pan is not big enough 
to hold all of the potatoes you will need to cook them in two batches.

While the potatoes are pan frying; working with a separate sauté pan, 
warm the remaining bacon fat over medium heat. Add the onions and 
sauté until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.

Once the potatoes are golden brown, flip the individual potato slices. 
Add the sautéed onions and toss well to combine and garnish with 
the chopped parsley.

You can also find recipes listed as “Pommes Lyonnaise” 
Hi to both of you. 

Yes, when I first heard about this dish, I also thought perhaps the name 
was just a regional or old-fashioned way of saying fricasee.  I'm sure this 
isn't the case, though.  The recipe for Lyonnaise potatoes would result in 
a brown, crispy potato; my sister's potatoes are neither brown nor crispy; 
they are pale, soft and saucy.  I just had the idea of contacting my 
brother-in-law's older brother and his wife to see if they have any other 
information. My brother-in-law was the youngest by ten years, so his older 
brother might be able to clear this up by virtue of the fact he was around 
his mom longer.  While this recipe continues to be a mystery, I do very 
much appreciate both of your help!  Should I let you know if I find out
anything or would you prefer to just let it drop?  Whatever works for you 
works for me.
Thanks again,

Perhaps Krysta has solved the mystery...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Krysta 
Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010 9:05 AM
Subject: French Canadian Potatoes

There is a request in your archive for French Canadian Potatoes 
(July 25, 2009, from Bonnie).

I think she might be looking for "Fricot Salee" (there are accents in there 
I cannot make, but the phonetics are "free-coh Sah-lay".  

Fricot is typically a sort of stew made with meat (chicken is very popular), 
potatoes, and onions.  Many recipes also include browned flour to thicken 
the sauce.  Fricot Salee is the same dish, but without the meat. Supposedly 
made when the hunting had not been so good, or when there was no 
chicken for the pot.

The technique I know calls for browning onions in rendered fat (bacon grease, 
salt pork, what have you).  Add potatoes, and any other veggies you like, then 
add liquid and allow to simmer until it is all tender.  Chicken stock is added 
almost to cover (water, I suppose even wine or beer could be used).  
Salted herbs would also be used, but I have no recipe for that and I have never 
used those.

Simmer until the veggies are tender and the liquid has thickened.  To thicken 
it more or make a richer stew, you could add browned flour (a typical french 
canadian ingredient, I think!). Brown some flour in a dry skillet over medium 
heat until it is light brown, but not burned. The thickening power is less than 
plain flour, but it adds a nice rich flavour.  I would stir it into the onion/grease 
mixture before adding the liquid, myself.

To make the meat version, simply brown your meat in the rendered fat first, 
then remove to a plate.  Continue with the onions, then deglaze with your liquid.  
Stir potatoes and veggies in, then add the browned meat and any juices back 
to the pot.  Simmer until the meat is cooked through, the veggies are tender, 
and the juices are thickend, again adding the browned flour if wanted.

I hope this is helpful!


Hi Krysta, Your clues led me to this site, which calls the meatless dish "weasel fricot" or "Fricot a la Belette"and gives a recipe. There is also a recipe there for the "Herbes Salees".

Acadian Weasel Fricot - Alas, that link is no longer valid.


Subject: Tofaille
From: Nathaniel 
Date: 11/2/2020, 10:32 AM

Good morning,

I recently just by chance came across an eleven-year-old request for 
"French Canadian Potatoes." There was some discussion as to what 
that might be—a fricassée, pommes de terre à la lyonnaise, etc. 
I realize this is probably no longer relevant, but I immediately thought 
of tofaille, which is a specialty of the Vosges region of France uncommon 
elsewhere. Below is a recipe. I do not know whether or not you care to 
publish it in case someone else is searching for it (or even if that 
lady from 2009 is still looking), but I thought I would send it along anyhow. 



Tofaille Vosgienne

2 lb. potatoes
1/2 lb. smoked bacon
2 T. butter
1 shallot or onion
2 cloves garlic
2 large leeks
Salt & pepper
Nutmeg, optional

Slice potatoes into thin disks. Slice bacon thin, then split the leeks and 
cut into slices (including the pale green). Butter a casserole, and fill it 
alternately with the potatoes, leeks and bacon, seasoning each layer 
with chopped shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, and dash of nutmeg. Cover 
the casserole and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours.

Noodles from Crackers

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Phyllis 
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 4:38 PM
Subject: noodles

My grandmother was Slovak and would make noodles from white 
soda crackers. They were awesome. All I could remember as a 
young child was she would crush the crackers up and add 
something to the crackers to make them moist and then 
put this filling made from the crackers in the meat grinder and 
grind out long noodles then cooked them.
Thanks for listening.

Hi Phyllis,

Sorry, I had no success with this.


Timm sent this recipe:

Noodles from Crackers:

When I was young, a Jewish neighbor lady would make noodles with 
matzah crackers or sometimes Saltine crackers. She would grind the 
crackers into a fine meal or flour.

To make the noodles use 2 cups ground crackers and 2 large eggs.

Sift the meal onto a clean, preferably wooden surface. Make a well 
and drop 2 eggs into the well. (Add salt if using matzah). With your 
hands, work the flour and egg mixture into a dough, similar to
to bread dough. Clean the surface, dust lightly with flour and knead 
the dough for 5 to 10 minutes until the surface is smooth and elastic. 
Cut dough into 4 sections. Roll each section one at a time on a flour 
surface with a floured rolling pin until thin. Cut the pasta into any 
shapes you desire. I imagine the dough could be put through a meat 
grinder to spin out noodles.

Timm in Oregon

Original Hamburger Recipe

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Paula
To: Phaedrus 
Sent: Sunday, July 26, 2009 2:39 PM
Subject: Hamburger Recipe

Hi there,

I recently watched a program on TV about a "Hamburger Festival" in Akron, Ohio 
and learned that the hamburger was inventer there.  They interviewed the man who's 
grandfather (?) created the hamburger and he said the secret ingredients were coffee 
and brown sugar!  That certainly piqued my curiosity.  Do you have a recipe for this 
hamburger mixture???

Thank you again for your assistance.


Hi Paula,

Sorry, the only folks who have that recipe are the Menches brothers of Ohio. You can taste the burgers at their Menches Brothers Restaurant. Their grandfather's recipe had brown sugar, coffee, and other spices, and was first sold by Frank and Charles Menches at the 1885 Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. The recipe was lost for years until their descendants found a copy in their attic. There is a "tastes-like" recipe below.

The origin of the hamburger is not settled, though. See here for other contenders:

Hamburger History


Original Hamburger "tastes-like" recipe

2 pounds ground sirloin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup instant coffee

Combine beef, sugar and coffee in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, 
for an hour or more to incorporate the flavors.

Grill to your liking.

Morrison's Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel Like Morrison's Cafeteria

2 Spanish mackerel fillets, skin on, bones removed 
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon paprika

Place mackerel skin-side down in a buttered baking dish. Mix the mayonnaise 
with the milk and spread on top of the fish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and 
paprika. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees. 
Bake fish until done, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness; the fish is ready 
when the flesh becomes opaque and can easily be pierced with a fork. 
Makes 2 servings.