HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


How do you define trashy?

A post here made me wonder: how do you define trashy? As in White trash cooking? Or do you have another definition? Do you think it is a good thing, a bad thing, or sometimes sorta fun?

A share or two of a favorite recipe or meal (or a tale oof woe) is also greatly appeciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I was wondering the same thing. Now I definitely have to watch this post to see where it goes.

    1. For me "trashy" signifies a dish made entirely or almost entirely from heavily processed and/or mass-produced convenience foods.

      A tale of bemusement rather than woe...Once we attended a potluck holiday party where the hit of evening (for everyone except my partner and me) was a dessert composed of layers of crumbled Oreos, Jell-O brand chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip. Everyone at the party marveled at the fact that we actually made the delicious hummus we brought, but the pudding dish was by far the crowd favorite. Despite high scores for technical proficiency, the hummus couldn't overcome the style points awarded to the pudding...um..."casserole".

      38 Replies
      1. re: hohokam

        I have had that dessert at a potluck too. It was definitely a huge hit made by a teenage girl.
        I grew up in lower South Carolina eating white trash style. I love catfish stew and probably that is as white trash as you can get as it costs almost nothing. If our tomatoes were not ripe enough, we fried them green and fried those catfish instead, using cornmeal to dredge both.
        I will NOT eat crawfish to this day though. I remember seeing them crawling up our driveway during heavy rains. Now THAT would be white trash cuisine.

        1. re: Lewes17266

          I'd consider everything you mentioned low-country, not trashy, cuisine...

          1. re: Caralien

            me, too.. low-country and absolutely delicious.

            low country: made from scratch hot biscuits and bacon fat / sausage white gravy
            trashy: biscuits from a can topped with gravy from a jar that's more food coloring and flour than anything else

            for the record, i love some trashy food -- green bean casserole, tater tot hotdish, etc...!

            1. re: cimui

              Borderline: biscuits made from mix, gravy from a mix. I have a pouch of white-gravy mix sitting in my cupboard waiting for me to have a weak moment...

              I was aghast when I raved over the cookie/pudding/Cool Whip dessert and Mrs. O took me aside and told me what was in it! Our hostess was so proud of it she told everyone but me.

              Is tuna-noodle casserole trashy? Count me in!

              1. re: Will Owen

                gravy from a mix? i'd eat that, especially if there're nice chunks of something fatty and delicious mixed in. biscuits and gravy from a mix only save you about two steps from making these totally from scratch!

                re: cookie / pudding / cool whip... if it's the same thing as "refrigerator cake", boy, i like that stuff, too. a slice of it goes for something like $5 at a bakery down the street from me. trashy? yes! delicious? yes! cheap? no way.

                1. re: cimui

                  Which is trashier, making a pie following the recipe on a store bought bottle of 'key lime' juice (juice, sweeten condensed milk, eggs, store bought crust, food coloring (optional). Or combining frozen limeaid concentrate with coolwhip (r) and putting that in the crust? One is an authentic key lime pie (or close to it), the other a 'fake' one. Or do I have to add another option - pick your own limes, crush your own store-bought crackers?

                  1. re: paulj

                    and lay your own eggs...

                    paulj, i'd say that both are mildly trashy. the second is definitely trashier (trashiness is a sliding scale). that's not to say they wouldn't both be delicious.

                    1. re: cimui

                      ...and grow your own chicken feed which you irrigate using rainwater that you collected in your cistern and/or pumped from your hand-dug well ;-)

                      1. re: hohokam

                        while you're at it, you should just make your own rain, too. ;)

                    2. re: paulj

                      How is store bought key lime juice (which you have in quotes, but is actually key lime juice) trashy or inauthentic? How many people have a key lime tree available to them? It would take about 50 dubious store bought key limes to produce a single pie while a fresh from the tree lime amount would be maybe 15. Store bought graham cracker crumbs are somehow more trashy than graham crackers you crush yourself? The mere act of commercial crushing spells trash?


                    3. re: cimui

                      gravy from a mix is ick. it tastes chemically...like too much powdered bullion mixed with extra MSG and a heap of dried onions. I'd rather have bad homemade gravy than gravy from a can or powder.

                    1. re: cimui

                      I second that - it sounds delicious! :)
                      how about this for trashy:
                      mini hot dogs, canned sliced meats, chips of all sorts (if you could call them that), some unknown mayonnaise concoction, white, pasty bread and more white pasty bread, canned ham salad with miracle whip and so forth ...
                      this was a wedding reception "feast"... I could not believe my eyes ...the memory still haunts me ...
                      happy eating, oana

                      1. re: oana

                        oana, that really does sound bad!

                    2. re: Caralien

                      100% agree- it might be what white trash people eat, but it is, by no means white trash food. In fact, using local ingredients, including tomatoes you grew and locally caught catfish is the opposite of white trash food.

                    3. re: Lewes17266

                      Oh, no, that's not trashy! That's wonderful food!

                      1. re: Lewes17266

                        White Trash cooking would be more like making that Stew with canned catfish meat, instant tomatoe soup & crushed Lay's potatoe chips.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          canned catfish? Where is that sold? Seriously--I've only seen it fresh or frozen, but would probably try it from a can, particularly if it were from Spain (I love the canned seafood from that country).

                      2. re: hohokam

                        My five yo neice and 7 yo nephew make the jello/oreo dessert, and are so proud of themselves when they arrive- their mom ( my SIL) is a fabulous cook and baker, and uses these recipes that are fun for the kids to make. Though I will say, these kids also make amean homemade pizza and great homemade garlic bread!
                        Another "trashy" food that my family loves is "cheesy potatoes" ( sometime call funeral potato casserole). It consists of ore ida frozen home fries or hash bronws, melted butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, lots of shredded cheddar, topped with crushed corn flakes and baked. have to make at least two panfuls when we serve it!

                        1. re: macca

                          There was a time when every party had to have two gigantic pans of the potato casserole, alongside hot dogs/hamburgers and green beans from the garden (boiled until they tasted like canned green beans, of course).

                          1. re: jazzy77

                            And if you want to make a one dish complete "trashy" meal, just add cubed ham and broccoli!

                            1. re: macca

                              Oh I have to disagree there! Broccoli has that dangerously healthy good-for-you factor, ;)

                              1. re: Quine

                                Ha! I've actually heard more than a few people from where I grew up say they were allergic to veggies - all of them.

                                1. re: jazzy77

                                  Somebody once tried to convince my husband that she was allergic to water so she was forced to drink sodas.

                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                    That's hilarious! It's stupid on so many levels. :-D

                            2. re: jazzy77

                              I made this for Thanksgiving. Though I used home baked potatoes and cubed them. The texture was all wrong. Next time I'm using storebought frozen cubed potatoes. Funeral potatoes are glorious.

                            3. re: hohokam

                              There's a charming version of the "casserole" you can serve around Halloween, always a hit, called "Graveyard Pudding". In rectangular dish, put down a layer of chocolate pudding. Sprinkle on the "dirt" - crumbled Oreos. Put some vanilla cookies here and there like tombstones. Dot with some blobs of Cool Whip (ghosts). Serve remaining Cool whip on the side in original plastic tub. A perfect dessert for old people, by the way --I mean it's easy to eat.

                              1. re: hohokam

                                Sorry hohokam, but really, is hummus really much more difficult to make than that pudding oreo dessert? I've made hummus and it's terribly easy, not sure your hummus was all that much more "homemade" than the oreo dessert unless of course you grew the beans, dried the beans, made your own tahini etc. Otherwise you're just opening a can of chick peas, some tahini, some olive oil and a few other things and dumping it in the food processor.

                                1. re: Rick

                                  If one actually cares about the flavor and texture of the end product, making hummus takes a bit more than just dumping ingredients into in a food processor and pressing a button. I tend to taste things as I go along and adjust seasonings until I get what I think is right.

                                  Of course, in fairness, I should allow for the possibility of the pudding person devoting hours to producing test batch after test batch, each time tweaking the proportion of Cool Whip to pudding and the size of the Oreo crumbs.

                                  1. re: hohokam

                                    Hohokam, come on, not like I don't taste and adjust before finishing the hummus, but still, not really difficult. Certainly not a high degree enough of difficulty to act like you brought something far superior to the cool whip, pudding, oreo person.

                                    1. re: Rick

                                      I wasn't trying to make a point about differences in "degree of difficulty". I just don't happen to think layering crushed Oreos, Jell-O pudding, and Cool Whip is the culinary equivalent of thoughtfully composing a hummus made from whole foods. My preference is for dishes more akin to the latter than the former. If your preferences don't happen to run that way, that's fine.

                                      The "more difficult" = "inherently better" argument is not one I was making here and not one I would ever make. I eat plenty of simple foods with as much (or maybe even more) gusto as I do with complicated dishes. The difficulty issue is a red herring IMO.

                                      1. re: hohokam

                                        maybe not more difficult, but certainly less processed and definitely less white trash.

                                        1. re: hohokam

                                          I'm coming into this discussion 3 years late but just have to share my "famous" birthday cake recipe. It comes from a time when I had a slew of foster kids (and their friends) and no time for baking from scratch. The kids loved it: a good chocolate cake mix (or Wacky Cake), topped with canned cherry pie filling, then instant chocolate pudding, then real whipped cream. Yummy, actually, and the ingredients can be easily adapted for the occasional person who doesn't love chocolate. For best results, assemble the first 3 ingredients, then poke a few holes and let the concoction sit overnight. Add the whipped cream not long before serving (looks better).

                                        2. re: Rick

                                          Homemade pudding, crushed chocolate shortbread and real whipped cream sounds good to me. But industrial pudding, processed fake cookies, and whipped HFCS with stabilizers just doesn't cut it. I'd rather have homemade hummus from somebody who cares.

                                          1. re: Rick

                                            Rick, come on, now. Hummus is superior to cool whip no matter how you stack it.

                                      2. re: hohokam

                                        The choco pudding/cool whip dessert was brought to our New Year's Eve Party! "Barf in a Bowl" -yuck

                                      3. I've always thought it meant using some sort of processed food product...i.e., spam, velveeta, lipton onion soup mix, etc...

                                        Personally, on occasion, I love me some spam musubi, nachos with cup o' cheese, and a good ol' lipton onion soup meatloaf...

                                        But I'm asian, so it's yellow trash when i eat it! :o)

                                        15 Replies
                                        1. re: soypower

                                          yellow trash, heh!

                                          love spam musubi. this also brings to mind the threads about hong kong fusion cuisine: spaghetti with ketchup, pork chop with ketchup, etc... my grandma's open faced sandwiches made by grilling a slice of white bread spread with mayonnaise and chives until the mayonnaise "melted" and browned. yucky! and yet so yummy...

                                          1. re: cimui

                                            what is it with asians and ketchup? we've taken my dad to some of the best steakhouses in the country and without fail he must have his ketchup with his steak!

                                            i like that open face mayo sandwich idea. i can completely understand how it can be yucky and yummy at the same time.

                                            1. re: soypower

                                              Steak without ketchup? Like pudding without Cool Whip!

                                              I love 'trashy' or 'dirty' recipes. So what is the Oreo casserole recipe? It sounds delish.

                                              1. re: dolores

                                                Literally, you crush up some Oreos and lay them in the bottom of a baking dish (or other receptacle), cover that with chocolate pudding, and then add a layer of Cool Whip. Top with more Oreos. It's like a parfait. Sometimes, I used to get all banada pudding-ish about it and just place the whole Oreos in the bottom of the dish, cover with pudding, and then let it sit for a couple days to allow the Oreos to get soft. This was the epitome of gourmet when I was a kid - and my brother and I used to fight over the leftovers.

                                                1. re: jazzy77

                                                  i don't know where i got this "recipe" from, but when i was a kid, i made this dessert called "on top on top", which consisted of 2-3 layers of nilla wafers and cool whip, all topped with colored sprinkles at the end, then chilled to soften the wafers and set the "cream". my sister still rolls her eyes to this day whenever i mention it!

                                                  this, of course, was before i learned how to make whipped cream from scratch. once my mom and sister hand whipped cream and placed it in the fridge for chilling. being young and wanting to help out, i took the bowl out of the fridge and did some final whipping. they were so mad when they saw i turned their lovely thick cream into liquid. oops!

                                                  1. re: lschow

                                                    Substitute lady fingers for the nilla wafers, and pastry cream for the cool whip, and you have the start of a trifle.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      haha that just goes to show that trashy can be just 2 steps away from classy!

                                                        1. re: lschow

                                                          >trashy can be just 2 steps away from classy!<

                                                          love it! like yuppified green bean casserole. i was shocked it was actually tasty.

                                                      1. re: lschow

                                                        Also, my boyfriend's mom in High school used to make Butterfinger cake - Yellow cake cooked, holes punched in it while hot, half a can of either sweetened condensed milk or evap milk (I can't remember) and then 4-6 choped butterfingers bars all over. The candy bars semi-melt and it is ooey goooey deliciousness!

                                                      2. re: jazzy77

                                                        It's best when you whip cream cheese in the pudding. And it's awesomely trasty-trashy

                                                      3. re: dolores

                                                        I confess: many years ago I made this for a summer picnic, only I recall subbing chunks of devil's food cake (Duncan Hines, natch) for the Oreos and adding a couple of layers of chopped up Heath bars. Trashy? Yeah, I suppose. But folks dove into it like they were all headed to the electric chair the next day.

                                                      4. re: soypower

                                                        Ketchup is said to have originated in China. According to Wikipedia, the word is supposed to from the Fujian dialect in southeastern China: "kôe-chiap" (in the Xiamen accent) or "kê-chiap" (in the Zhangzhou accent), meaning a brine of pickled fish or shellfish.

                                                    2. re: soypower

                                                      in my experience, Asians love white trash food. Chinese and Japanese interpret it and put a new spin on it, hence the genre of traditional Japanese preparations of American food (forget what it's called). also Asian immigrants seem to love all that trashy stuff (genrealizing here) but I see a lot of educated Asians eating stuff their European or South American counterparts wouldn't touch (i.e. cold Hardees or frozen white castle).

                                                      1. re: soypower

                                                        I made spam musubi and we loved it!! But the mangoes threw us out of ketosis. I haven't made it since. I've also made split pea soup with spam, and black beans & rice with spam in our younger leaner $wise days. I told the kids it was Spam/ham, and they all liked it. I use a ham butt now, and don't make either but once or 2x a year as they are so high in carbs. Guess you can tell we eat low carb all the time. There is a sushi roll with mango on /in it that I love, and we don't go out for sushi often. I guess I fit into the trashy cook mold sometimes, but we do not buy processed foods, so I am a scratch-trashy cook.

                                                      2. Anything based on Bisquick or Jiffy, tubed food (dough or cheese), yellow cake mix, onion soup mix, canned fruit in heavy syrup, Velveeta, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, leftover packets from Chinese takeout (sweet & sour goo, metallic mustard, salty soy sauce), hot dog casseroles/stews, anything involving road kill...

                                                        Is there a time and place for it? Sure. I've sliced hot dog buns into mini toasts, baked them, cut up hotdogs into pieces, and served them with yellow mustard dipping sauce for my neice, who loved it. Made Twinkies from yellow cake mix+water with a can of frosting. I'm still tempted to make a Frito-Pie on the engine manifold if I'm ever severely dehydrated, although my '88 VW would probably impart a better flavor than our Prius.

                                                        A recent one I heard of was "Granma's 5 can soup"--Cream of Mushroom, Vegetable Beef, Tomato, MInestrone, Rotel.

                                                        Barbie Salad (recalled fondly by my father, from his Aunt Barbie, served during the 50's in LA County): Jello with marshmallows & fruit cocktail with a sour cream & Cool Whip/Jello base, made in a ring mold. Similar to pistachio pudding blended with Cool Whip and molded.

                                                        Similar post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/307870

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Caralien

                                                          I really like Jiffy cornbread mix, but I grew up in the lowcountry

                                                          1. re: efrashhi

                                                            I used to eat jiffy blueberry muffins as a kid, and to this day still prefer them to premium blueberry muffins with real blueberries


                                                        2. The word is, IMO, misused in the post you refer to. The common definition of "trashy" includes synonyms like cheap (not as in inexpensive, but as in lesser quality) or inferior or having little or no value. Some might even say low class or without merit. If the chicken dish described in that post is "trashy" I guess I'll have to admit on growing up on trashy food and learning cooking basics with recipes that produced trashy food. I wouldn't use processed food ingredients or "quick" anything today, unless there was no other choice (like being snowed in and having to make do with what's on hand) but I applaud those who choose to use those methods in the spirit of adventure while traveling through the wonderful world of culinary experience.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: todao

                                                            I agree with your comment, todao, but I have to laugh...you say you wouldn't use anything processed unless there was "no other choice (like being snowed in and having to make do with what's onhand)", but how would anything processed be "on hand" in your kitchen if you never used it otherwise.....? (BUSTED! LOL)

                                                            1. re: TAGcaves4me

                                                              Because if you know that there is a possibility of being snowed in/stormed in/whatever, then it pays to have an Emergency Stash in the pantry, and processed foods last forever. Plus if they don't taste particularly good then you're not going to break into the stash unless it really IS an emergency!

                                                              Which reminds me, I just gave away the last of last year's hurricane stash to the food pantry and it's time to restock the shelf. I give it away before it expires and let somebody who really needs it have it.

                                                          2. I think that it describes foods or dishes that purport to be faster/simpler/less intimidating versions of the real thing--e.g., using canned condensed soup instead of making bechamel. Cool Whip and Velveeta also fall into this category. Bisquik doesn't allow you to make anything you couldn't make from scratch, just as quickly and easily...and don't get me started on those "impossible pies" that are supposed to be just like pot pies!

                                                            However, I figure, Jell-O is Jell-O--well, OK, back in the day, it was invented as a way for everyday folk to make the kinds of fancy jelled desserts that up till then, only rich people with lots of servants could have (all that boiling of calves hooves, yum). A Jell-O salad can't be made with ingredients that are lower on the food chain. On the other hand, a Jell-O poke cake is a version of a cake that's supposed to have some sort of fruit glaze on it. And Spam musabi--it was never made with a good cut of meat, and if you tried, it would just be pretentious.

                                                            I'm probably overthinking this by a whole lot. I personally think that trashy food, no matter how you define it, is fun--every now and then, and if you don't mistake it for the real thing. I adore Kraft mac 'n' cheese and always have a box or two in the cabinet, for comfort food emergencies.

                                                            A family member is fond of making meatloaf and wrapping it in those crescent rolls that come in a tube that you have to smack against the counter. She mashes the perforations together and serves it as Beef Wellington.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Erika L

                                                              not to be difficult, but you can make your own "Jello" with Knox gelatin and juice.

                                                            2. I suggest an alternate definition; consider the "mud pie" or "pudding casserole" above.

                                                              To me, truly "trashy" would be making the same recipe, but without using higher-priced brands such as Jello, Cool-Whip, or Oreos. Instead one would use generic pudding (also, it would have to be instant), something like Sunshine "chocolate and creme" cookies (or a cheaper equivalent), and a generic brand whipped topping (probably the store brand). It would also need to be served in a light green plastic bowl that has seen better days and served with an old slotted "spaghetti" spoon that must have come from the 80s.

                                                              I'm not sure that I would called any food in particular "trashy" - I mean, I'm just as comfortable eating at the chef's table of a fine restaurant as I am dipping Fritos in a crock pot full of Velveeta, salsa, and sausage. But, the main difference is the fact that "trashy" dishes use lower-quality, often cheaper ingredients than what the recipe calls for, ending in a dish that isn't as good (and is at least two steps below what would be considering optimal).

                                                              15 Replies
                                                              1. re: jazzy77

                                                                Hmm...I'm not sure I agree with the store-brand/generic vs. name brand distinction. Would using Newman-Os be even less "trashy" than using Oreos? And where would Trader Joe's Joe-Joes fall on that spectrum? Is Kozy Shack pudding from the cold case more "trashy" or less "trashy" than Jell-O pudding mix?

                                                                I don't pretend to be above eating "trashy" foods (see my post in the recent "Dirty" dishes thread), but I do tend to distinguish between dishes made from scratch/whole foods and those made from manufactured products.

                                                                My point was that if someone used the word "trashy" to describe a dish, I would assume they meant something like a sandwich made from Wonder bread, Miracle Whip, and Ruffles (or store brand equivalents). Yeah, I made and ate more than a few of those when I was a kid.

                                                                I don't use the word "trashy" to describe food, but when someone else does, (I think) I know what they mean.

                                                                1. re: hohokam

                                                                  All goods points - I think my point in that post was to be able to exclude those products that were routinely served to me and my parents as children by people who learned to cook in the 50s, and honestly believed that these foods were healthy for people.

                                                                  However, having grew up in the very rural midwest (many of my father's students proudly claimed to be related to the Hatfields or the McCoys), the line of demarcation between high-end and low-end was the brands in one's cabinets, not the actual recipes in the cookbooks.

                                                                  1. re: jazzy77

                                                                    LOL yes what s good for you has certainly changed in the the last several decades. I seem to recall that frozen veggies were considered trendy not good for you at first, canned and boiled to death so much better. he he he.

                                                                    I recall rumors of waxed milk containers (OMG!!! only glass) causing almost instant cancer (hey I was 5 year old and it was the late 50's)

                                                                    1. re: Quine

                                                                      I grew up in rural central Ohio, right at the mouth of Appalachia. Ohio is considered the eastern-most state of the midwest.

                                                                      Now, I never asked anyone to provide documentation of their lineage to the Hatfields or McCoys, but whomever said it was very proud of that claim, which gives more insight into the local color of the area rather than actual historical fact. However, a lot of people in that area have ancestors/family who lived in either West Virginia or Kentucky as well, including myself, so those types of stories are fairly common.

                                                                    2. re: jazzy77

                                                                      Jazzy, I wouldn't call eastern KY or WV the rural "midwest." Appalachia is more descriptive of where the Hatfield McCoy feud took place. Where did you grow up?

                                                                      1. re: amyzan

                                                                        I grew up in rural central Ohio, right at the mouth of Appalachia. Ohio is considered the eastern-most state of the midwest.

                                                                        Now, I never asked anyone to provide documentation of their lineage to the Hatfields or McCoys, but whomever said it was very proud of that claim, which gives you a little insight into the local color of the area. A lot of people in that area have ancestors/family who lived in either West Virginia or Kentucky as well, including myself, so those types of stories are fairly common.

                                                                  2. re: jazzy77

                                                                    Jazzy, I have that spoon, it's indestructible avocado plastic right??? I also always have a box of Mexican Velveeta on hand, makes great mac & cheese, chili relleno casserole, potatoes au gratin, grilled cheese and cheese burger on those days you feel like slumming. .

                                                                    1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                                      That's exactly the spoon!

                                                                      What is Mexican Velveeta? Is it better than regular Velveeta?

                                                                      1. re: jazzy77

                                                                        Mexican Velveeta has Jalapeno peppers added, I used to buy hot but can only find med. anymore so I usually add addl jalapenos.

                                                                        1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                                          Ooooh...that does sound good. We have a local pizza place here that takes the salsa/velveeta/sausage combo and stuffs it into jalapenos, coats the jalapenos in potato flake/panko, and fries them. They are the best poppers I've ever had.

                                                                          1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                                            So you boil pasta and then just put cubed velveeta in til it melts?

                                                                            1. re: lilmomma

                                                                              When I have used velveeta for Mac and cheese, I make the cheese sauce separately, using heated milk and adding the cheese slowly as it melts then strung in the cooked pasta. SO loves this. Haven't made it in about four years though.

                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                does velveeta still make its mexican version (with hot chilies)? it is salty, but it melts really well for some uses -- like quickie nachos or queso-sausage dip (totally trashy and addictive…..).

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  Yes, they do! And it IS trashy. Deliciously so.

                                                                        2. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                                          Melt half a block of velveeta, mix in one can of hormel chili (beans or no beans) poor it all over some frito corn chips. I could not make myself eat this today, but would be lying if I said I haven't eaten my share of it!

                                                                      2. For me it was the white trash food I grew up with, Tomato soup instead of of pasta sauce, pork chops braised in mushroom soup, the big dish of bacon fat next to the stove that everything was fried in.

                                                                        Though I did have what I called a white trash feast a short time ago, Fried Pork Chop in a potato chip coating, and Tater-tot blue cheese casserole. (Both courtesy of Alton Brown)

                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                        1. re: mindsoup

                                                                          I think everyone has forgotton that the convenience products that are now considered "trashy" were a big deal when they were first introduced. They were labor saving and "modern". This was about the same era (50's) when breast feeding was considered old-fashioned and something only ignorant poor people did. I'm a mother who let her child enjoy Chef Boyardee products. They were quick lunch fixes and boxed mac 'n cheese was the first thing our always hungry teenager learned to cook. Eventually we figured out that cooking from scratch was better and more healthy. Friends now avoid things with high fructose syrup. Convenience foods are still useful but I think a person becomes a "trashy" cook when that is all they use. They don't care enough to cook better meals for their family even though they may have the time to put more effort into trying new recipes and spending more time in the kitchen. I will never ever consider the jello salads the elderly aunts used to make as "trashy" food. They were special recipes made for family get togethers. Years ago a neighbor volunteered for a foods and nutrition program for low income families. She was shocked that young mothers considered convenience foods to be the kind of food they should feed their families. They had fallen for the notion that the manufactured food was "better".
                                                                          Perhaps I don't like the use of the word "trashy". I think "retro" would be more appropriate. I grew up on cheap food available in suburban supermarkets. Gardening was old-fashioned. Casseroles made with canned soups used to be modern recipes a loving cook made for her family. Herbs and special spices were unheard of. My grandmother still canned green beans but I remember my mother thinking they were probably full of botulism. The tins from the market were safer and supposedly healthier. Lots of us fell for the sales pitches from big business. Now we know better.

                                                                          1. re: dfrostnh

                                                                            I really agree with you. I have an older aunt who still makes the same layered jello concoction, and would not be averse to serving wienies in a blanket if called upon. She is a product of a certain era of middle-class consumption (that not all engaged in - witness my mother who always cooked from scratch and who used fresh veggies from our large gardens). To use a word like trashy to describe my aunt's food seems unnecessarily critical. For me, when my aunt shows up with the famed jello salad, it is an affirmation of the social nature of food and of how family traditions tie people together across space and time (though I still go for the Italian pastries for dessert!).

                                                                            1. re: Cachetes

                                                                              Beautifully expressed, dfrostnh and Cachetes. My wife has made a special layered jello salad with strawberries, pineapple, bananas and sour cream for Christmas for the past fifty years. She didn't make it this year and the entire extended family expressed disappointment. "Retro" - I like that. "Trashy" gave me the impression that I grew up in a low class neighborhood. "Retro" is cool .... I feel better now.

                                                                              1. re: todao

                                                                                I also appreciated dfrostnh's and Cachetes' posts. I think they did a good job of noting some of the reasons processed foods grew in popularity and hung around in this country. Because there were many reasons for it. First of all, technology made its preparation, packaging, storage and distribution possible. I don't think we can overlook the role that the United States' post-World War II scientific orientation played in this, the fascination we had with being able to send astronauts into space and sustain them with things like Tang and freeze-dried ice cream, and the romantic view we held at the time of our own technological prowess. More women returned to work, long hours, outside the house, and the habit of many strictly middle class homes having a housekeeper who did the cooking, or helped with it, disappeared after the 1940s.

                                                                                So, I don't think it's historically accurate to refer to processed foods, even the most ooey-gooey, petroleum-based, sodium-sodden ones among them, as "white trash" food. I don't think a lot of this stuff knew many class boundaries, in its heyday.

                                                                                I'm not going to dance around this. I wish the terms, "trashy", and, especially, "white trash", could be wiped out this instant from both the cooking vernacular, and, of course, the social one. Now, I understand that most people aren't using the words in *any* way to denigrate a certain groups of Americans, but that--the communication of a certain contempt and, as you mentioned, todao, a judgment of "lesser value"--IS the pedigree of the term "white trash". It is a class slur, even though I do understand nobody here is trying to use it in that way. But, in 2009, do we find it acceptable to speak about "[insert any of the well known ethnic, racial or class slurs here] Food" when discussing pizza or tacos or collard greens?

                                                                                All those things mentioned, that a lot of us who are fortunate enough to have a choice in the matter don't really like to eat that much, or sometimes look down upon in our food snobbery, are really just processed food, and as for processed food in general, to answer Quine's original question, it has its place. Erika pointed out the role that Jell-O played in the evolution of our food history, and I suppose we could say the same thing about Knox gelatine, without which, I don't know how most of us today would make an elegant Persian cream, a Cabinet de Diplomat, a chiffon pie or Charlotte Russe.

                                                                                I'm not sure how my MIL, who will be 90 years old next month, would feed herself. She spent decades standing on her feet all day in the kitchen, cooking elaborate, delicious, nutritious meals from scratch for her large Italian family. Now she can't cook much for herself, but refuses to give up what little independence she has, and makes her suppers out of prepared soups she never would have used before, a can of apricots or peaches, and a little slice of Entenmann's, whose ingredient lists can be absolutely appalling.

                                                                                I don't know how, in certain circumstances, we'd move modern armies in the field without MREs, which, from what I hear, may be some of the most dismal facsimiles of real food, but I can imagine one might look pretty good to a tired, hungry troop out in the bush when he finally has a few minutes to sit down.

                                                                                We all use processed items from time to time, whether it's prepared mustard or ketchup or pasteurized milk or Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

                                                                                So, I can't stand the term, but, to answer Quine's question about these types of foods, I think you pretty much covered it, Quine. Sometimes it's good, in the sense of useful and expedient and long shelf-lived, sometimes it's bad and when carried to extremes it can be downright destructive (of our health), but, yeah, in moderation, it can be lots of fun.

                                                                            2. re: dfrostnh

                                                                              Bravo! Those guilty pleasure ingredients like Velveeta, Miracle Whip, and cream of mushroom soup were standards 40-50 years ago. Most homes didn't have more than a couple of cookbooks, and housewives looking for something new were likely to try the recipes in the ads in women's magazines, where such products were heavily promoted. Grocery stores were quite small compared to today, and the limited selection roughly equivalent to what you'll find in a modern convenience store.
                                                                              Those meals became the comfort and nostalgia foods of the baby boomers. Home gardens and canning were passe - the "modern" thing was to buy canned/frozen, and the wherewithal to do so was a sign that you were financially successful.

                                                                              The first thing I learned to cook, in 7th grade "home ec" in 1961, was Tuna Noodle Casserole. My German-immigrant mom, a meat-and-potatoes cook who had never made a casserole, rather liked it (or maybe it was just that having me make dinner gave her a rare reprieve from the kitchen). I rarely think of it today, other than when Garrison Keillor makes a reference to "hot dish". I wouldn't make it but if I encountered it at a potluck I'd have some and I'd enjoy it, probably more for the memories than the flavor.

                                                                              I'd reserve "trashy" for the high-fructose corn syrup/preservative/hydrogenated-fat/salt-laden processed "foodstuffs".

                                                                              Today's trendy dishes will doubtless be the nostalgia foods of the nest generation.

                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                Yes, great point. A couple of years ago, I received my great Aunt's recipe box after her passing so that I could compile a family cookbook for everyone to share. Imagine my shock when about 90% of the recipes in the box were from newpaper articles, food can labels, and food boxes! In the end, it made a lot of sense, but a lot of the ingredients in her recipes used processed ingredients that haven't been around for decades.

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  It is amazing how far we've come though, using the same old ingredients forever, as far as techniques and how to put the ingredients together.

                                                                                2. re: dfrostnh

                                                                                  this is really interesting. i was born in the late 70's. grew up with a single mom that really cared about what I ate - to the point that we ate vegetable and chicken stir fry most nights, and didn't keep any junk in the house.
                                                                                  I remember though my aunt, who was wealthier, had things like flavored Yoplait custard yoghurt, Beechnut apple juice and Gerber baby foods for her kids, and who I'm sure did not breast feed.
                                                                                  Funnily enough now that I'm a parent I do model myself more after my mother and natural foods -but I have a distinct feeling for that awe of the wealthy, modern mother and the "right" products.

                                                                                3. re: mindsoup

                                                                                  mmmmm pork chops braised in cream of mushroom soup.

                                                                                  Haven't had that since I've been an adult

                                                                                  1. re: laliz

                                                                                    I ask my mother to make this for me whenever I go home. It was one of my favorites as a kid. She cooks hers in a cast iron skillet. Makes some mashed potatoes....oh so good. But I never make this. My DH wouldn't eat it and there are far more intersting things I prefer to spend my time cooking.

                                                                                    1. re: laliz

                                                                                      Yum. I made pork chops with rice in CoM soup for my Italian BF...he knew it was from a can, but he thought it was great.

                                                                                  2. Food is innocent. There is no trashy food.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          Thank you for saying it so well. I wasn't sure how to put this opinion and you summed it up quite succinctly.

                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                            Good point. It's what you want to do with it that makes a meal. Some people don't mind "trashy" food, and some are fussy about everything, but it all comes out the same in the end. Pun partially intended.

                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                  Food is innocent, yes.

                                                                                                  But a processed trifecta of chemical-treated factory farm pork mixed with canned soups and doused with MSG and served with potatoe "buds" is not innocent. It might not even be food.

                                                                                                2. Tater Tot Hot DIsh

                                                                                                  Fry a pound of ground beef.
                                                                                                  Stir in a can of cream of mushroom soup.
                                                                                                  Pour into a casserole dish.
                                                                                                  Cover with a layer of velveeta
                                                                                                  Add a layer of frozen tater tots
                                                                                                  Bake for 20 minutes at 350

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                                                                    I was hoping someone would post this! Thank you!

                                                                                                    Do we have more recipes?

                                                                                                    That Funeral Potato dish, is this it?

                                                                                                    1. re: Quine

                                                                                                      The name is the recipe: Minute rice mixed with cream of mushroom soup. You could probably add some Lipton's Onion Soup Mix to this if you want to get kicky with it.

                                                                                                      Someone from where I grew up invited me to her house for dinner and served this next to Shake and Bake pork chops and boiled, canned green beans. Honestly, the whole meal wasn't bad....

                                                                                                    2. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                                                                      I have a vague memory of some well respected chef who had nice things to say about tater tots, but can't recall who, or what he did with them.

                                                                                                      But just as you can make a green bean casserole from scratch, I'm sure you could make a fine tasting dish hot dish around tater tots. For example a turkey tetrazini (tarragon flavored bechamel) using the tots instead of noodles.

                                                                                                      1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                                                                        Tater Tot Casserole, Variation

                                                                                                        Cover browned grown beef/cream soup concoction with package of Tater Tots, *then* shredded cheddar cheese. And bake 350 for 20-30 min.

                                                                                                      2. Id say trying to pass off any store bought prepared food, frozen foods, or processed food as homemade is "trashy". aka "pulling a Sandra Lee"...

                                                                                                        eg. using velveeta, bisquick, canned soup , etc as part of a recipe.

                                                                                                        Other foods I think fall into this category: Kraft Mac-n-Cheese, box cake mixes, frozen dinners.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                          How about using store bought cookie dough to make the base of a strawberry tart?


                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                            "trashy" is such a strong word being used in this thread, so I will calirify my answer, buying store bought items, and incorprationg them into a recipe is just something I wouldnt do. I feel I can make a superior product at home vs a store bought item. One with less chemicals, and preservatives as well. I dont condemn others for this practice, but they should come clean that they have "cheated".

                                                                                                            1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                              May I make an appointment for confession? I use store bought items all the time in my cooking. I can't remember the last time I used something I grew or gathered myself.

                                                                                                              I've even used bisquick (or the TJ equivalent) to make a 'crustless' quiche. I just bought a tub of peeled garlic cloves, and toasted sesame seeds, despite the fact that I could have peeled and toasted my own. I cooked frozen meatballs (TJ minis) in hard cider for a Christmas eve tapa. And stuffed jarred piquillo peppers with store bought salad shrimp (frozen, cooked, peeled). And served canned membrillo paste with store bought cheese at Thanksgiving. Today I made a tortilla with crushed potato chips and deli ham (and imported mushrooms).

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                its all good,

                                                                                                                I dont hunt or gather myself, but prefer to make as much as I possibly can.

                                                                                                          2. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                            When I opened Encyclopedia Brittanica to Volume 23, page 575, section "White Trash Cuisine" it simply lists this URL: http://www.foodnetwork.com/sandra-lee...

                                                                                                          3. Well, I think "trashy" is too loaded, so in the thread I recently started, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/577088 I used the word "dirty", which to me describes a recipe that uses processed ingredients and has little-to-no nutritionally redeeming value. But, as I noted in that thread and has been mentioned here, people are suckers for these recipes.

                                                                                                            1. Any savory dish with Marshmallow Fluff (sans Fluffernutter---Fluffernutters are comfort food. Fluffernutters were my pregnancy craves. Fluffernutters are haute cuisine)
                                                                                                              Any recipe off of the back of a Ritz Cracker box.
                                                                                                              Any recipe with Spam
                                                                                                              Lipton Onion Soup/Sour Cream Dip
                                                                                                              Any vegetable dish with marshmallows (even candied yams)
                                                                                                              Green Bean Casserole (YOU know--the one everyone makes for the holidays)
                                                                                                              Balls made of chipped beef and cream cheese.
                                                                                                              Any dish made with Cheez Whiz
                                                                                                              Slumgullion--THAT has to be the number one trashiest dish of all time!

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                we have "white trash mocha" when backpacking - coffee (or instant coffee) with off-brand hot chocolate packet. mmm... perfect for camp though.

                                                                                                                trashy is cheesewiz, margarine and pressed meat things. and oh! meat from a can...

                                                                                                                  1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                    Slumgullion is the original trashy grub. Miners, cowboys, frontiersmen, soldiers, and immigrants in the US back in the 1800's used to make it because it was the only way to make sure the food and water in the stew was fit for human consumption.

                                                                                                                    It's basically any combination of meat (dried salted beef or pork), fat (salted pork), and starch products (especially hard tack) which could be scavenged or hunted up and dropped into a boiling pot of water. It usually turned gray and was either runny, or greasy gruel by the time it was finished cooking.

                                                                                                                    Instant Ramen, Burgoo, and SOS are a higher class of grub than Slumgullion.

                                                                                                                    1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                      In our house it was a dish also called Bean Savory. My dad called it 'scrape up the kitchen', but it was delicious and I still fix it sometimes. It was sausage, fried out, frozen corn added, and canned baked beans. It needed no seasonings, and is a quick meal that 'sticks to yer bones'. And I don't fix it often, because it does 'stick to yer bones!!

                                                                                                                  2. I must be a white trash girl :-) Make that a 50 year old white trash woman haha
                                                                                                                    I personally call it cooking country, I am proud to call myself a briar!
                                                                                                                    I make homemade meals everyday for my family and will continue till I can't.
                                                                                                                    I might be an old fart in this forum but I bet I can make some suppers that would make ya slap ya mama hahahahha

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: pamelakrest

                                                                                                                      Love Ya Pamela! Your post made me giggle and hope you have many more years of cooking!

                                                                                                                      Have some recipes you want to share?

                                                                                                                    2. A good number of posts and thoughts here point back to the famous BestSelling cookbook _White_Trash_Cookbook; which is what I think of when I see trashy used in reference to cooking. However, some years seemed to have gotten between the time of publishing that book and now and perhaps some meaning. While many of those recipes used "store bought" prepared items, perhaps at that time these were sort new trendy? And I do think that poor, rural and potluck/community/bible-meeting just plain sharing with one's community are also defining factors.

                                                                                                                      What cha think?

                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                                                                                        It was that cookbook that came to mind when I saw the thread title, though I have only looked at the cover, not the recipes.

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          It's a great read! Look at some of the reviews. The photographs are great. And there is one possum recipe that is to die for funny!

                                                                                                                          I recommend this cookbook as a great read, fun to own, book, And the recipes I tried (there were a few) were yummy. Definately not totally healthy, everyday meals, but fun and good.

                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                            My mom bought that cookbook once as we were traveling through West Virginia on vacation. I don't remember a lot of the recipes, but there was a great recipe for caramel corn that didn't require a candy thermometer. Other than that, the recipes weren't that interesting.

                                                                                                                            Also, check out the recipes page for Southern Culture on the Skids, an NC-based band who takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the idea of "trashy living": http://www.scots.com/recipes/default.htm

                                                                                                                            1. re: jazzy77

                                                                                                                              Well.... if ya liked the book, you'll love the Blog:


                                                                                                                        2. I am reading this thread with interest, and particularly laughed at how everyone assumed that processed food is what makes a food trashy.

                                                                                                                          I am from an East coast background that is as waspy as it can possibly be, and a few years back I flipped through my mother's collection of church cookbooks, junior league cookbooks, ladies' auxiliary cookbooks, which were mostly published in the 1950s-1970s, and a very common ingredient was:

                                                                                                                          canned Campbell's soup, preferably "cream of..."

                                                                                                                          As in:

                                                                                                                          Take a can of cream of...

                                                                                                                          Add a can of cream of...

                                                                                                                          Add chopped up chicken breasts

                                                                                                                          Add a large helping of sherry


                                                                                                                          Serve with rice/toast.

                                                                                                                          Believe me, I well remember such dishes from my childhood, served by a maid on good china and sterling silver.

                                                                                                                          I don't define trashy food as processed food.

                                                                                                                          For me, trashy food would be country food such as raccoon, muskrat and squirrels. Kool-aid as part of the regular diet. An entire meal from the local 7-11.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                            Great perspective. I think you echoed a lot of what dfrostnh had to say, and with a great example to boot! I like that you emphasize that your version of trashy food is exactly that, your version. While you think squirrel is trashy, there's probably a number of rural hunters out there who would disagree (gotta think that most of 'em aren't on chowhound), and might even think of your canned concoction as either trashy, or even possibly uppity! (I grew up pretty rural, and if I had to guess, most of them wouldn't call it either, or even bother to categorize food in this way.) As for me, I'd much rather eat something caught by a coonhound than something rotating on those scary rollers at 7-11.

                                                                                                                          2. This is so funny I just received a cook book made from alot of my relatives from rural Arkansas. My Cousins and I had a great laugh over Christmas reading all of these recipes. Almost every recipe calls for some kind of Creamof something soup sometimes more than one flavor and some velvetta. Even though I don't cook like that I do recall with a certain fondness looking forward to those family reunion potlucks with all those good gooey dishes and of course the Oreo pudding dessert was a favorite. I have to admit I made a verison of it for a Holiday party I did kick it up a bit I added butter to my crust and baked it off then I made a Chocolate mousse for the pudding used whipped topping and shaved Ghirradeli on top. I have to tell you everyone raved about that dessert. Thanks for the memory.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: Analisas mom

                                                                                                                              I was just thinking that made with homemade pudding (mousse, even better!) and real whipped cream, the Oreo dessert would be just fine. Somehow Oreos transcend.

                                                                                                                            2. My sister gave me a cookbook from the Loire valley, with recipes that were the favorites of french kings. The possum/squirrel discussion prompts me to add that one of these recipes is braised eels with prunes.

                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                Braised eel with prunes sounds like high cuisine to me. I've hunted and cooked squirrel - certainly not a trashy dish. When I was gwoing up, one only saw opposums as road kill.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                  But jellied eels from the otherside of the Channel were popular pub food. Abundance and scarcity have a lot to do with 'height' of a cuisine or dish.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                    The Nov 24 New Yorker was the annual food issue - one of the cartoons shows a diner with a billboard that reads "Eat Locally - All Roadkill from 8-mile Radius".

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, my grandmother used to say that her parents had served the preacher possum. Grandad would interrupt her and tell her that might be so but it's not something to be telling people! I suppose it was better than serving the preacher something like greens and cornbread without any protein, but I wouldn't know, never having eaten possum. It seems like it would be kind of unappealing.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                        And I understand that armadillos are eaten & enjoyed in certain parts of south America. Even cajuns don't eat the armadillo (and that puts it on a short list, cher.)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                                                                                                          Armadillos (their shells) are made into charangos (a stringed instrument) in Bolivia. I never saw them being eaten there. I haven't seen any here in Colombia.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                                                                                                            What about nutria? I have a friend who is a veternarian, and if it moves and he can shoot it he'll feed it to his wife and kids.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                              Smoked capybara (ronsoco) was my favorite meat in the Peruvian Amazon. Delicious. Cuy in the Andes is equally delicious! We shot a few nutria in the waterways in Central California as kids, but never ate them. They were small ones. I'd eat a big one taken from clean waters.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                No one's been successful in getting nutria adopted as a table meat in south Louisiana, which is saying quite a bit about its lack of potential marketability in the States!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                                                                                                                  Someone issued a challenge to Paul Prudhomme to put nutria on the table and save the marshes, but I don't think a recipe came from it.
                                                                                                                                                  And that from the man who almost 'extincted' Red Fish.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                    Wasn't there some segment of Feasting on Asphalt, the river run series, about a stuffed nutria? Alton went on and on about it, and then learned that it wasn't what he thought it was. I don't recall if it really was a nutria, or really wasn't.

                                                                                                                                                    Here's a source:
                                                                                                                                                    “Wait a second, this isn’t a nutria at all."
                                                                                                                                                    “It’s a porcupine and I’m a moron.”

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                      Yes, he was at a pharmacy in Memphis (I think) that had an old fashioned soda shop. There was a big stuffed porcupine, covered in dust, that he pulled down and said, "Oh, look it's a nutria." We wondered how it was even possible to confuse the two of them.

                                                                                                                                      2. Read The Sweet Potato Queens Cookbook and Financial Planner

                                                                                                                                        wonderful stories and trashy recipes

                                                                                                                                        One I remember is smooshing (pre-made) pecan pies in an aluminum disposable pan and covering with cool whip and refrigerating

                                                                                                                                        1. Just heard Jacques Pepin talk about deglazing a pan with chateau de sink.

                                                                                                                                          1. No mention of Spam? As in Spam and potato chips on Wonder bread with Miracle Whip?

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: PutneySwope

                                                                                                                                              Now I must admit, Spam, Miracle whip( tho' Hellman's can do ) on wonder bread is a secret eat it over the sink craving/comfort. Never thought about the chips. I'm in trouble

                                                                                                                                              1. Trashy? Something thrown together without care and attention to quality of ingredients. No food is trashy if someone who has prepared it has done so with care and concern.

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks. I truly believe love, care, and concern are the best ingredients. If a cook is doing the best (s)he can with what is available and truly cares and puts their best into it, it cannot be designated trashy.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliedawn_98

                                                                                                                                                        This thread made me add somethin that is realted but a bit OT. I have to add it. It is something to this that happened in the last week. Our shop is inside a restored building. In the back of the building is a Kelly Services office. We are all quite friendly. Bloomington, IN has very strict smoking laws, they are even trying to pass a law to make it illegal to smoke with minors. The manager came out on her way to lunch with a new employee who does not live in this town. She popped in and asked if it was legal to smoke on the street. I answered that you could....but would be tacky and trashy to do so, especially if you were walking. Sitting on a park bench would make it less so. We all laughed. Still it was something drilled into me from a young age, no walking and smoking at the same time.

                                                                                                                                                1. Trashy = overly fatty, canned meat by-products: spam, vienna sausages, potted meat, corned beef.

                                                                                                                                                  That said, there's no better "fill the gap" snack than vienna sausages w/saltine crackers or sloppy joe's made from canned corned beef (ketchup, yellow mustard, worchestershire, brown sugar, water (to cook down) and possibly a sprinkle of garlic and dehydrated onion). Delish!

                                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                                    I once saw a guy at the supermarket, checking out with a shopping cart full of packages of dried spaghetti and canned vienna sausages.

                                                                                                                                                    Like, a shopping cart *full* to the top of saugages and dried pasta and nothing else.

                                                                                                                                                    I've got a feeling I wouldn't eat what he was making, but I'd *really* love to know what it was.

                                                                                                                                                    But hey, I make a lovely barley and green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup, and I practically lived on radiation sandwiches (= cheese + ketchup + bread + nuking) when I was 12, so who am I to judge?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tariqata

                                                                                                                                                      Vienna sausages and saltines are great to take on a day long fishing trip!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliedawn_98

                                                                                                                                                        I prefer to mix my 'cuisines' and eat canned broiled sauries (Japanese style 'sardines') with pilot bread (heavy duty unsalted crackers). :)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alliedawn_98

                                                                                                                                                          Vienna(pron: Vye-eenee) sausages, potted meat, and saltines were *the* iconic foods of my childhood fishing trips with my dad and his friends in North Carolina.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Naco

                                                                                                                                                            Best trash food ever: split vy-eenie sausages lengthwise, and fold a slice of American cheese into rectangles. Put a piece of cheese onto a saltine, top with a half vy-eenie, and microwave for 15-20 seconds until the cheese melts. I can eat this, but I can't stomach potted meat.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Naco

                                                                                                                                                              Absolutely. White bread or crackers and Redneck pate-potted meat- is what my husband takes fishing. For extra class, he spreads it with his pocket knife.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MellieMag

                                                                                                                                                                LOL Welcome MellieMag!
                                                                                                                                                                Lots of spice in them pocket knifes.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                  mellie & quine, the pocket knives are well seasoned. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: alliedawn_98

                                                                                                                                                              My Dad and his friends take Vienna sausages on Fishing/camping trips call them puppy peckers!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Deedine

                                                                                                                                                                ROFL!!! That is SO totally funny. Thank goodness I never eat them, I could never again with a straight face!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Deedine

                                                                                                                                                                  I really like the puppy peckers. When we wrap little smokies in bacon and roll them in brown sugar, we call them Poodle Dicks.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I was looking that the Amazon excerpts of White Trash Cooking (1986 10 Speed Press). Based on the contents and a small selection of the recipes, I'd say most of the definitions and examples in this thread have nothing in common with the small town/rural Mississippi that this book is about. The most common meat in the samples was fat back or bacon, not Spam. Yes there were recipes using canned corn and lima beans, but also ones without any canned items.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                              Whoever is writing the White Trash Cookbook blog does indeed have a number of Spam recipes:


                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                I wonder if any are as good as the ones that wo\wed Tony Bourdain in Hawaii :)

                                                                                                                                                                If 'white trash' is taken to mean small-town Mississippi (or the likes), not just your Coolwhip loving mother in law, I can see where its cooking would include Spam. I've stopped a small groceries in rural Oregon where the only meat products were either in the can, or vacuum sealed wieners. It, in effect, replaces the salt pork and slab bacon used by previous generations.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Maybe when the "flavor" of the food is "sweet" or "greasy."

                                                                                                                                                              1. If Ferran Adria used potato chips in a dish, would foodies call it white trash, or just brilliantly playful?


                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TheGloaming

                                                                                                                                                                  Gloaming, I love it---can you hear me stomping and whistling?

                                                                                                                                                                2. growing up, i ate at a friend's house regularly, and i just thought the food was weird. i realize now that i would call it trashy- boiled hotdogs with velveeta, ellio's frozen pizza, dinty moore, and burger king were the staples. never a veggie in sight. i would define trashy food as food that is easy to make, processed, cheap, and lacking in food group representation.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. one time my bf from hs invited me over for dinner w her and her husband. the main course was something called "frito surpise". she sent me home with the recipe, which has since been misplaced. i tried to find the recipe online and found something resembling a taco salad made with fritos but that wasnt it. i do remember sorta watching as she prepared and recall seeing...velveeta(melted), hormel chili, fritos, i think some pace picante. this was also made with undrained ground beef, and topped with dollops of sour cream. it was technically a "surprise" in that it was actually really good, but definitely trashy. (sorry angel)

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: yomalachi

                                                                                                                                                                      And people have a way of ruining perfectly good food!!!! Here is a *&&^%^ healthy version of Frito surprise:


                                                                                                                                                                      And welcome to chowhound!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: yomalachi

                                                                                                                                                                        Frito pie is what you're referring to; I first came across it in the Bad Girl's Guide to the Open Road, with a recipe for making it on a car's manifold.



                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yomalachi

                                                                                                                                                                          Our little league baseball concession stand would sell frito chili pie. Cut open a snack-size bag of fritos, and ladle some chili and nacho cheese over the chips. Toss in a plastic spoon.

                                                                                                                                                                          But I had it for dinner once or twice, too. Mom used shredded cheese and added onions.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I don't know if this is exactly "trashy," but it's somewhere in that spectrum: I had a friend whose mother liked to compete in baking contests at the local fair, taking home several ribbons every year, but he always joked about the year she got first place in "Best Cake Altered from a Mix."

                                                                                                                                                                            1. The White Trash Cookbook defines that cooking genre as defined by the use of salt meat, corn meal, and molasses. It continues that all vegetables are cooked with salt meat and corn meal is used not only for cornbread but for breading on fried foods. The roots are probably Appalachian. Otherwise, what's trashy seems subjective. I always remember a chowhound post of a man's happy memory of making "chocolate eclairs" with his grandmother. What that turned out to be was that Grandma would fill up a big dish with instant pudding and Cool Whip and the little boy would lay in the layers of graham crackers then Grandma would finish with chocolate icing. Not chocolate eclairs!--- and fairly disgusting besides---but of course a four year-old boy would love it and he had such a lovely memory of making it with his grandmother. So who's to say what's trashy?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Oh my. I grew up eating all of these trashy foods and loving every bite. While I don't cook with processed foods now, I still love eating them when I visit my mom. Casseroles, corn meal fried everything, cole slaw, hotdogs, whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                But the real reason I'm posting is to say that a burrito joint by my old place used to serve a "white trash burrito". Flour tortilla wrapped around white rice, pulled barbeque chicken, and cole slaw. Best burrito ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Trashy is anything you have to qualify before you serve it to a group of your foodie friends.
                                                                                                                                                                                  My all-time favorite is what has come to been known as the White Trash Cheese Ball. I had made it for a party, and my mom's best friend set down her Merlot and Roquefort cheese ball next to ours. I commented that ours looked like the trailer-park version, and the name stuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Even though everyone always loves it, I feel like I have to make excuses for it, since it does kind of look like something from one of those fifties cookbooks. The sliced olives are, um, a festive touch.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                  3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
                                                                                                                                                                                  1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                  3 tablespoons mayonnaise
                                                                                                                                                                                  1/4 cup chopped green olives

                                                                                                                                                                                  Mix ingredients, form into ball. Roll in additional sliced olives. Serve with Wheat Thins. Stop pretending to be classy.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, being from the South, I'm a huge fan of people calling Jello or Cool Whip-based things "salads." My favorite is the one made with orange Jello, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, and mini marshmallows. I think the real name is Ambrosia Salad, but we just call it Moldy Jello. I could eat the entire thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caffeine826

                                                                                                                                                                                    I love this stuff. Pink for bridal showers, green for baby showers, unless it's a girl, then pink, and green for christmas too, with maraschino cherries thrown in.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caffeine826

                                                                                                                                                                                      The Ambrosia salad I grew up with was called 5 Cup Salad. It consists of a cup of each of the following: Sour Cream, Mandarin Oranges, drained, Pineapple Tidbits, drained, baby marsmellows, and dried coconut. No seasonings, but I have added cinnamon on occasion, and one time added blueberries, which turned it purple!!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. How do you define "porn"?

                                                                                                                                                                                      Similar question, with a similar answer; "I know it when I see it."

                                                                                                                                                                                      One of my best food examples is desserts made with oreos, jell-o, or cool whip.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                                                                                                                                                                        the answer's similar in my case: only if i get off on it. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                                                                                                                                                                          The funny thing, Brandon, is that in early days jello was a status dessert in that you had to have an electric refrigerator to make it set. Serving a fancy jello thing at a ladies' luncheon was thus a subtle way of showing off that you could afford a fridge. Read this lately in a book on the history of convenience foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I've gotta add my favorites:

                                                                                                                                                                                          Green Bean Casserole
                                                                                                                                                                                          Tater Tot Casserole
                                                                                                                                                                                          Ramen Noodles

                                                                                                                                                                                          And my all time favorite: Boxed mac n cheese with fried spam chunks and bbq sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I worked briefly in a restaurant that made a "cheese soup" using the processed cheese topping that they'd decided not to use on their nachos. Needless to say, I got out of there as fast as I could.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. It's funny how personal this is. I don't consider Kraft Dinner, tuna casserole, or Jello chocolate pudding pie to be trashy. They're not fancy by any stretch, but they're fast and tasty and (in the case of the pudding pie) traditional. Chocolate pudding pie and my aunt's jellied Waldorf salad are both very important parts of my family's Christmas festivities.

                                                                                                                                                                                              But I reject any tater tot based dish out of hand. Tater tots and cream of whatever and cheese is not food. At least the tuna casserole is something I grew up on, but I personally cannot stomach the thought of tater tot casserole or Frito pie. I find Cool Whip to be foul, especially when you can buy real whipped cream in a can. (We do whip our own cream to put on top of that Jello pudding pie, though.) One thing I did grow up on, but will never eat ever again, was American Chop Suey. I don't know what it is about that dish, but it just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe because it would be every bit as easy to make a pot of sauce and some spaghetti without mixing them all together. Maybe it's the way the elbow noodles on the bottom get all fat and limp after they inevitably soak up all of the extra juice, and then they fall apart and just kind of melt... ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. My aunt who lives in East Tennessee came up with Mexican Fiesta: Layer on your plate crushed tortilla chips, rice(instant), chili(hormel preferably), a nice scoop of Rotel dip(one can rotel mixed with 1/2 Lb. velveeta , melted). For a healthy boost top with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes and green onions. Yummy and sits in the tummy like a lead bullet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I find it somewhat insulting that most posts here point to Southern cuisine as white trashy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You made me skim though the 149 posts. Can you point out a post that points to Southern cuisine? I couldn't find one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Made you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Read the first ten. You will find plenty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sal Slow down!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As the OP, and as what many people here realize and know _White Trash Cooking_ is a FAMOUS cookbook. Let me cite it for you:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      White trash cooking
                                                                                                                                                                                                      By Ernest Matthew Mickler, Jargon Society
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Edition: illustrated
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Published by Ten Speed Press, 1986
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ISBN 0898151899, 9780898151893
                                                                                                                                                                                                      134 pages
                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Shares traditional Southern recipes for vegetables, meat, fish, salads, eggs, sandwiches, candy, cakes, cookies, cobblers, pones, puddings, cornbreads, biscuits, rolls, pickles, and jellies"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you find this insulting, please do take it up with the Author, I am sure he's heard it all since 1986.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please check out the references before you take insult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. OK, sal, posts 1-10.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Will watch the posts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. " ... dish made entirely or almost entirely from heavily processed and/or mass-produced convenience foods" and "a tale of bemusement rather than woe...a dessert composed of layers of crumbled Oreos, Jell-O brand chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. "Catfish stew, ...if our tomatoes were not ripe enough, we fried them green and fried those catfish instead, using cornmeal to dredge both." This offered by a Sooutherner talking about food growing up.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Another Southerner disagreeing that that food was trashy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      5. Agreement that that food is low country and not trashy but delicious: made from scratch hot biscuits and bacon fat / sausage white gravy, and that trashy would be biscuits from a can topped with gravy from a jar that's more food coloring and flour than anything else - this is not limitred to the South. Same with green bean casserole, tater tot hotdish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      6. "Borderline: biscuits made from mix, gravy from a mix" Also cookie/pudding/Cool Whip dessert and tuna-noodle casserole.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      7. "gravy from a mix? i'd eat that, especially if there're nice chunks of something fatty and delicious mixed in." and "cookie / pudding / cool whip... boy, i like that stuff, too."
                                                                                                                                                                                                      8. "...making a pie following the recipe on a store bought bottle of 'key lime' juice (juice, sweeten condensed milk, eggs, store bought crust, food coloring (optional). Or combining frozen limeaid concentrate with coolwhip (r) and putting that in the crust?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                      9. "and lay your own eggs..."
                                                                                                                                                                                                      10. "...and grow your own chicken feed"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I still don't see Southern cuisine being trashed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. As a quantitative method for determining trashiness, use the pictured tool


                                                                                                                                                                                                        to determine relative levels of enfolded mayo in the salads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Wearing $540 sneakers to pass out food at a food bank pretty well sums up the word trashy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bkhuna

                                                                                                                                                                                                            bkhuna, i just saw this. i couldn't agree more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. The jello, pretzel, whipped cream and cream cheese concoction I was recently reminded of is totally white trash to me and I absolutely love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. In terms of food - I too think there’s a difference between trashy and convenient. Jarred olives or artichoke hearts are convenient. They are things I can’t readily harvest and prepare on my own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Little Debbie snack cakes (while occasionally hitting the spot) are trashy. They have little nutritive value, and I’d prefer making a cake or pie myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think it is the *diet* that is trashy, and not always the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, if my diet consisted of nothing but ready-to-heat-and-eat foods and foods with little to no nutritional value, I would consider those foods trashy as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                cuccs! you dissin' the debbie? who else makes such a fine oatmeal cream pie? especially the larger size! oops, maybe you make a finer oatmeal cream pie. i grew up on those things. they are like crack. crack oatmeal cream pies. wow, what a concept. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No Debbie-dissin', I *said* they hit the spot ;-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I grew up on all those cakes and Tasty-Kake krumpets. Gah! how I loved those things...but now, for me, I rather have something a little more nutritious and homemade, although it's still tough to turn down a Moonpie...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i loved the little debbie oatmeal cream pies and the banana flip -- only found at places like 7-11.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    here is my ode to a banana flip: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5055...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      re: your linked thread - Did you ever get your Flips? I don't remember them, and the photo I found doesn't ring a bell either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        never did get any flips, because the interstate bakeries didn't make them anymore. this new possibility mentioned on the other thread seems like a good shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        your photo is mostly like it, except in my ideal flip, the sponge cake looks softer and lighter in texture and color than in your photo. also, no sprinkled powdered sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            do you have nickle's bakeries in harrisonburg?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No, but we do have 7-11 and other convenience stores. You said above they could sometimes be found there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh, way back in the day. i haven't seen them in a 7-11 in 30 years....

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. In my view "Trashy" food refers to a dish whose essence relies on processed foods: frito pie, green bean casserole, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      au contraire mon ami. Every 2 years now we go to the NC state fair and eat a deep fried milk way. It is really too much for even 2 adults and a toddler, but the first bite is heavenly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. The other night i made dried beef (in the jar kind) with a white cream sauce, ladled over toast points (okay toast) does that qualify? Oh waited I grated some fresh nutmeg over the sauce, still....and it was deeeelicious!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's what watching Top Chef will do to ya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You need not feel trashy just because you enjoy the classic SOS (Sh*t on a shingle). The dish peaked in WWII, where Armour's beef made their fortune, and followed thru into the late 1940's, to eat down the warehoused supply of war-contracted beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Today, it is more a matter of choice. and Armour still produces it, and it's out there for those who want a taste of the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not trashy at all. The nutmeg absolves you. Double points if you saved the jar as a juice glass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I did save it! I'm making some corn cob jelly next summer, and by then I should have at least 3 more jars. And it truly was on Top Chef, Jennifer made it and that's what reminded me. Thanks to say I need not feel trashy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have not had sos since I lived at home, more years than I care to discuss. My Dad a chief in the Navy, made it for us when we were kids. And all I know is it evokes great memories, and it tasted really good. When my Dad made it, it was the bomb! Sometimes he got fancy, and we'd have it on mash potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I must admit yes, It was a little on the salty side, but the nutmeg did help. I still thought it was good, and my dh loved it too (ex navy, and he too comes from a navy family). Must of been something they got often, and they loved it also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Glad you mentioned this, because recently I was put down by people who said EVERYBODY hates SOS! Every time I go to the US, I put a jar of chip beef in my suitcase. Once a year I make SOS. Personally, I like it on a big baked potato for dinner. I suppose it is trashy, but it sure is good! When I had a brief stint as a tugboat cook, I used to prepare sausage gravy, pretty much the same thing, for breakfast occasionally, and everybody ate it. Including the guys who normally only had cold cereal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          we had that a lot as a kid. My dad really liked it, and we used packaged Knorr cream sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. I'm a "foodie" now, but my first home as a child was in a trailer park. Needless to say, my diet was the anthropological definition of "trashy" :) Here's the diet I remember:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hamburger Helper, Salisbury Steak (processed), Canned Vegetables only and rarelyd (luckily, fresh corn on the cob in the summer) Boxed Mash Potatoes (that weird oatmealy mix stuff) anything involving Bisquick, canned chili mixed with Kraft Mac & Cheese, hamburgers you buy boxed in the freezer section cooked well done on wonderbread buns, value brand hotdogs, Cheeze Whiz, Cheezits, Kraft Cheese Singles (those non-cheese processed slices wrapped in individual plastic). Sometimes we'd have a "cheese" singles brand that wouldn't melt when you tried to make grilled cheese. Ewww!! Pre-paged cold cuts in the refridgerator section, polly-o string cheese, Fishsticks, tater tots, spaghetti with margarine (and if lucky - kraft parmasean ), Bologne bewteen wonderbread slices. Oh, and though their not specifically trashy, Dominos, Arbies and Burger King were one out of 3 or 4 dinners. With TV Dinners thrown in here and there (Hungry Man!). And "juice drinks" instead of juice (sugar water).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On weekdays, that was the gist of it, along with all manner of chips, processed dip, hot pockets and soda. I swear, I should be an inch taller if I was fed right! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EliEats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There's gotta be a book in there somewhere...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EliEats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anthropologists woiuld NEVER call anything "trashy". Cultural relativism is a basic and underlying tenant of anthropology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anthropologists should try watching MTV's Jersey shore.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On second thought, if they could put together an objective documentary on that culture in the style of the National Geographic features on tribal societies, that would be fantastically priceless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Already being done - for a long time. Urban anthropologists and anthropologists of contemporary societies have long studied communities like MTV's Jersey shore. National Geographic shows of other societies are most often done by anthropologists or with anthroplogist consultants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ha. I was only joking, but I guess I'm going to have to hit the library after work. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: EliEats


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is this meant as a parody or are you serious?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i think elieats is being sarcastic, as his post on another thread rhapsodizes about his grandfather's pasta and braciole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Serious, that was my diet at home from the time I was born till about15 or 16. Except for the weekends which I spent at my Grandparents, where my Grandpa cooked amazing standard Italian American fair - thank god! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EliEats


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          bushwickgirl is right there could be a book in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hope you have thanked your Grandparents and I am glad you have learned about real food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EliEats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        wow Eli, that is how I would define trashy as well. Did you grow up to be a normal weight? That is not meant to be an insult. That is some bad food luck you started out with!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. my grandma used to make a cake that was:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Layer graham crackers on bottom of pyrex dish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        pour half set jello on top
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        another graham cracker layer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        graham cracker layer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        more jello
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        another graham cracker layer,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        topped off with more coolwhip.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Once it sets, its fantastic and oh so trashy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My ex-in-laws were blue-collar Southerners but not trashy (which I define mostly by unimpressive behavior as opposed to humble origins). But two of their holiday side dishes were totally terrifying, bordering on trashy: concoctions of Cool Whip and Jello powders known as "the pink stuff" and "the green stuff". I think the pink stuff had red jello powder and pineapple chunks. The green stuff had pistachio pudding mix and nuts in it. I don't think I ever tried either one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Sweet Potato Queens give pecan pie pudding as an example of a trashy dessert. You take a store-bought pecan pie and crumble it up into a bowl full of Cool Whip. I have no problem calling that a trashy dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Start with a"cocktail waitress in a Dolly Parton wig". Open a beer. Adjust recipe to 2 beers. Open can of spam. Open can of cream of mushroom soup preferably the generic kind (Campbell's is way to classy). Chop the spam and fry it up. No don't saute it. When the spam is brown on the edges add the soup and stir until warm. Add a glug of beer. Pour the whole thing over egg noodles if it's payday or ramen if it isn't. You and Dolly sit down and enjoy a fine meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Hank. Thats the most revolting image i've had in my head for a long time lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              --My definition of 'trashy' is anything that has absolutely no nutritional value and is eaten purely for taste bud stimulation from sugar, salt and/or grease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Feed Me

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, you're very welcome. The image does sort of burn into your retina.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The post reminded me of the song "I like my women just a little on the trashy side" by Confederate Railroad. I assume you know that but....just in case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, if there is any nutritional value in the above recipe, there can't be much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hank, it sounded like you might have had some first-hand experience with that dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I'm sure it's been said a million times above but- anything made with cream of mushroom soup. You can redeem any trashy recipe of that sort by making your own roux as a substitute :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. My definition is simple: trashy is anything made with artificial ingredients or ingredients you wouldn't use if you were making the same thing from scratch. For example, cake mixes contain flour and sugar, but they also contain an odd assortment of colorings, vanillin, potassium sorbate, guar gum, etc., none of which you'd think to use in your own scratch cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And trashy doesn't necessarily mean bad. I adore those sausage balls made with nothing but Bisquik and Jimmy Dean hot sausage. But I won't go near a casserole made with canned cream of anything soup. I'm not a snob. I just don't like food that tastes bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Lime Jello Salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Garbage dip

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Possum pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would conside those the 3 top White Trash foods I grew up with

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh...make it 4 foods ....forgot Fried Squirel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    possum pie is a euphemism...or is it.....possum pie?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. White trash cooking is cooking your chicken in the microwave in the same packaging you bought it from the supermarket in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I was served this in someone's home. No, I did not eat it!! It's still my worst nightmare!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: easyonthesalt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      >>>>>>White trash cooking is cooking your chicken in the microwave in the same packaging you bought it from the supermarket in.<<<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      that is in the top three of the worst things i've ever heard on chowhound!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LOL, Since you keep a list, what were the other two?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah the thought really does skeeve me out as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But we're talking trash
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and so it's okay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To bespeak the chicken, sent to the microwave
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            with plastic intact, and trayed styrofoam
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and even that player of laminate layer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            absorbing juices at base of the tray.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If we are to reduce to the range of the redneck
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in quest of that chow that is trashy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            then I say must include
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the grocery store styroed plastic chicken wrap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It awaits only pulse of our fingers to buttons
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            from effortless tool of the Microwave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. In a nutshell: Pastuerized processed cheese food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Folks might find me trashy though. I have picked up a freshly killed dead deer from the highway and taken it home and butchered it. Technically I guess it was road kill, but it was a whole lot of fresh meat, a yearling buck and very good!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Grandma brought a (shredded & bar-b-qued) raccoon to a Christmas party once. We practically fell about laughing as she was trying to keep it secret and let it pass for beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pre-made store bought foods of inferior quality, that you find at a typical mid-western deli counter are trashy to me. Crappy potato salad, slaw and jello stuff. (shudder)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Fried bologne and processed cheese on white bread. I call this the brampton burrito. Although a friend from south of the border claims it as the tonawanda taco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I grew up with trash. they ate peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, or cheezwhiz and raspberry jam. (pretty tasty actually) i could never do the cheezwhiz and relish......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nipsyD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Amongst Fried Bolognists there are ways that we separate those trashy from we of High Caste.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We judge by the knife slits that keep circle splayed and flat in the frypan without any puffing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With such flat fried bologna encrusted with brown marks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There will be no curled pocket to pool up the cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have even seen purists who toast the bread first
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to facilitate scraping of a gentle concavity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to nestle browned slab and align it with gravity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and flatly accept melted flow of the CheeseWhiz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That ain't trashy..... that's classy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I have a friend who grew up in the Ozarks. Her family kept a big stew pot going on the wood stove and constantly added to it day after day. I felt a little queasy after she told me that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When my son was about 12 he decided to make breakfast for himself and a friend he called American Toast.....toasted white bread drizzled with Aunt Jemima...umm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My Dad used to make hamburger patties in a frying pan, served it with mash potatoes and poured the greasy stuff from the pan on top. I thought that was kind of trashy then--50 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Would you have felt less queasy if your Ozarkian friend had called it a pot-au-feu?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. So many posts! Did anyone mention one of my favorites, fried baloney sammich on white bread with yeller mustard and an onion slice? Tomatoes and Miracle Whip on white bread eaten above the kitchen sink?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or sometimes fried baloney with onion and lettuce on white bread with Miracle Whip. Let the grease from the baloney kinda wilt the lettuce a little bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MellieMag

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    you should have a good time reading through, mellie. and yes, bologna (baloney) in all its glory has been mentioned a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    we have entire threads dedicated to tomato sandwiches, so you are in good company here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/550332
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of course, it is a "summer" thread, when the 'maters are ripe from the back garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MellieMag

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Onion slice? Pardon me, your royal highness, but this is the trash thread, and we know not of your fancy cuisine! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MellieMag

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mellie, did you see that the maker of wonder bread is declaring bankruptcy? what shall we do for our summer tomato sandwiches?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and plastic animal, that comment just struck me as funny! thank you! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Totino's party pizza. The kind with the little "pepperoni" cubes on top. My dad used to make this all the time for my brother and I when he and my mom had steak or shrimp nights. I think I was like maybe 7 or 8 when I realized we were getting screwed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My kids are adults and they still want those Totino's pizzas. I guess it's a childhood throwback or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Eight-can Casserole is the epitome of trashy, but it tastes nice and I guess I don't have a problem with making/eating supertrashy food sometimes. Another, Frito Pie with canned chili, served right in the bag. So trashy that it's campy now. And I recently saw an recipe for a broccoli dish topped with crushed Chee-Tos, and I acknowledge the "trashing-down" factor, but the dish actually looked quite all right, pretty tasty IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The 8 can casserole reminded me of my 1st attempt at "healthy" vegetable soup--yup, opened up cans of potatoes, corn, peas, tomatoes, mushrooms (even canned ones were exotic in my parent's house), green beans and wondered why it didn't taste very good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If it hasn't already been mentioned, there's a "White Trash" cookbook, with plenty of Velveeta options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I loved that book, pine time!! i actually scored a couple decent recipes from it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Love your soup story. Next time you could call it noveaux goulash. It might taste better. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes This thread was inspired by the White Trash cookbook. My fave recipe still remains how to cook possum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    you may offend some who like squirrel purloo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      reminds me of all those "Foxfire" books (I grew up in Appalachia, but I've never eaten squirrel--or possum).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just last week, the young neighbor of my bf brought a dead possum to his other neighbor and asked how to deal with it. This is in a rather upscale Charlotte neighborhood, not the hills. So, the neighbor skinned and butchered for him and apparently the young man took it home and cooked it. He spent the next 4 days in the hospital. This boy somehow got it into his head to try and cook some roadkill. Enough said. ;op.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        goodness alive….roadkill?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        best to rely on better sources. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. This is so funny because I was taking a bit of heat from a friend about a dinner I made her not that long ago. it was chilly outside and I felt for my Nan's spaghetti sauce. Prego from a jar, ground beef, canned mushrooms, and some fried onions and celery. She though it was gross I was melting margarine in the microwave with garlic for the garlic bread. Said friend did not understand how I can love that sweet canned sauce or use margarine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Was her plate clean though? Damn right it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Just back from visiting some relatives who gave me the recipe for cheesy potatoes- which we love. had a broccoli salad while we were there. So good. Broccoli, red onion, green grapes, cashews, bacon bits. Dressing of mayo, vinegar and sugar. Loved it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i've had a similar broc salad with raisins and peanuts. it is a good dish and people love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My BFF left me an email that today she mixed a can of no-bean chili with a package of cream cheese, nuked it till boiling, and poured it over tortilla chips in a bowl, which she proceeded to eat using a spoon, accompanied by a tall PBR. Sounded pretty trashy to me. I wish I was there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Such a fine line we tread
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        twixt the trashy and classy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She crossed to the trashy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        when chips were nuked under chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No redneck with self respect
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        would eat soggy chips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        much less with a spoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Deconstruction, to make the dish Classy,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        would call for the chips in a separate bowl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Urge to use spoon, or just dig in with fingers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        now is allayed and elevates us to Classiness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This saves costs of napkins
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        for our chins and our noses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But hard questions remain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        about beans and 'bout cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As to the beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        if we want tread danger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        on classy v. trashy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Might there be an ingredient that propels us to farty?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And then question arises: Velveeta?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We are so close to line here, of classy v. trashy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Perilous tightrope, but I vote for Velveeta.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cube it, add beans, push the button on microwave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tortilla chips served on the side
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        with plenty of napkins
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would think we're still Classy here
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At least judged by the smiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. White bread pizza, of course. Smother slices of white bread with canned spaghetti sauce, top with pepperoni, sausage, or other processed meat, onions, and lots of cheese - whatever you happen to have in the fridge. Pop in 350 degree oven til the cheese melts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hippioflov

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or Bisquick crust pizza - a staple in my house growing up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            bisquick crust pizza recipe? THnaks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'll have to ask my Dad if he still knows it, since he always made it. He's out of town for a couple of days, so here's a link in the meantime: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/t...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do remember that on top of the crust, he always started with a slather of plain tomato paste, instead of a normal sauce. We definitely weren't gourmet growing up, and tater tot casserole was a weekly standard!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Canned chilli with lots of Kraft american singles and ripped up pieces of several white store bought tortillas mixed in...nuke all this in a bowl and send me to heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gmarie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh wow, I do the same thing except I use saltines instead of tortillas. Now I'm going to have to try the tortillas. I'm always a little embarrassed with the amount of Kraft singles I use and try to be stealth when I'm preparing my bowl in front of my husband. I think it's more like melted Kraft singles with a little chili added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Three common threads are emerging in all these "trashy" dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Trashy food . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Was not eaten two hundred years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Is easy to make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Has no advertised health benefits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Whoa! I'd like to lose a few pounds - I guess I should just read this thread a couple of times a day so that I don't have an appetite!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. after skimming the thread, I'd say my mother's cornbread with Karo syrup fits the bill. Serving one was with beans, serving two was with Karo (corn syrup. Maybe treacle is close, iirc)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I admit I use agave nectar on slightly salty cornbread instead of bothering with a dessert when I make corn bread for whatever reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My personal definition is when there really was no effort for nutrition put in anywhere. A convenience food balanced with "real" food (I can't come up with a better phrase on the fly) gets a pass. Use your bisquick, with real fruit or vegetables.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But Jiffy has lard. Any use of Jiffy is WTC. (white trash cooking)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My buddy is pointing out that most dishes created by surplus counts...he's suggesting frybread. I'm afraid his grandmother is going to kill him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love frybread/sopapilla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My buddy is also pointing out that i have made hippiefood for the past three decades, and made sure to inflict it on as many of my kid's friends as I could.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Scrambled tofu and salsa on corn tortillas every Sunday morning for 15 years. Feeding four kids on average.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: truepeacenik

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "But Jiffy has lard. Any use of Jiffy is WTC. (white trash cooking)"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Does Jiffy mix really still contain lard? That would surprise me...I'm going to check that out next time I'm at the store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Lard, BTW, is not a bad fat. Non-hydrogenated lard is actually quite healthy. I'm going to vote against the "white trash" definition for lard. As would, I'd guess, many top chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i last read the ingredients in 2007.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to me, all pork is bad. i keep kosher at home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    all the chef spokesmodels in the world will not convince me to touch the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: truepeacenik

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Checked the box.....LARD! Very surprising! The Jiffy folks must not have gotten the memo from the PR department! :-}

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. generally, when something or someone refers to itself as, or claims to be, "classy," then they have automatically qualified in my definition of "trashy"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I noticed there are quite a few posts where people have trouble sorting trash cooking from creative repurposing of prepared foods. Let me help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Top 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Identify Trash Cooking In An Apparently Normal-Looking Meal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10.  The dinner party's recipes that are still taped to the fridge look a lot like the labels of the instant-food cans and boxes they were cut from.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9.  The women spend a couple of hours before the feast updating each other on all the clever new cooking shortcuts they've learned since last time, and the processed food substitutions they pulled off for this meal, so they didn't have to cook from scratch, which frees up their time so they could sit around for a couple of hours before the feast updating each other on all the clever new cooking shortcuts they've learned since last time, and the processed food substitutions they pulled off for this meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    8.  The Hors d'Oeuvres involve dough in a can that was opened by hitting the counter with it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    7.  The instant white rice dish is the starch for the meal, the white potato dish counts as the veggie side, and, of course, there are store-bought reheated white yeast rolls for the bread.  Your plate looks like a shabby little polar bear family expired on it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6.  Your hostess simplified half her recipes by substituting microwaved Cheez Whiz for the Velveeta-based sauces.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5.  Bacon makes everything delicious...  Unfortunately, it doesn't hide the taste of chemicals.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4.  Anything that has no bacon, cheese and/or sugar in it is covered with butter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3.  Everyone who has chronic lifestyle disease is doing their healthy eating bit by drinking diet soda and using "Smart Balance" spread to butter their white bread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2.  About an hour after eating the "home cooked meal", you get the same weird feeling you got when your car broke down in the middle of nowhere and you had to live on garage vending machine Slim Jims, Cheezits and Twinkies for a day and a half.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1.  Defying the laws of physics, you mysteriously gain 5 lbs after eating only 1.5 lbs of food, every time you eat there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AsperGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      HA! That was GREAT! But it was a scary time trip to the 70s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tell me about it. I make that scary trip twice a year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: AsperGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        #5...HAHAHHAHAHAH shabby little polar bear family expired on it!!!! aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kerosundae

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh god, that's awful, but I laughed. I'm pretty sure I woke up my sweetheart. I'm going to go snuggle her back to the land of dreams.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Altarbo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            #8. I have a friend who presents the little hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury crescent dough as an old family recipe without a side of irony.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They are pretty damn tasty, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Probably a bit off topic, but about 20 years ago I went to a Halloween party as "white trash." I cut arm and leg holes in a white kitchen trash bag, made a necklace of empty food and drink containers (cool whip and a PBR can are all I recall now), wore a cabbage leaf as a hat, and had found the most brilliant earrings for the occasion -- mini plastic pink flamingos. I spent a bit of time explaining myself, but it got a lot of laughs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Butthead of "Beavis and Butthead" once had a Halloween costume consisting of melted cheese poured over his head. His costume was nachos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Definitely easier to pull off when you are a cartoon! ;op

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Anything made with cream of crap soup. Anything with crumbled potato chips on top. Pasta sauce from a big old jar. Neon orange 'cheez' powder flavoring. Velveeta (aka: rubber cheez)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Powdered drink mixes, such as fake lemonade, Koolaid, powdered iced tea, etc. Nasty weird old fried or puffed things, like bagged popcorn, Cheetos, flavored chips, packaged pork rinds.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Frozen french fries. Instant mashed potatoes. Mrs. Cubbitson's stuffing mix. Brown and Serve rolls from the grocery. Most canned vegetables. Jello. Instant pudding. Slap biscuits in a can.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Okay, the list is too long to carry it on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Great thread and stroll down memory lane, my mom's cooking and some of mine in days past.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am one of the only scratch cooks I know, 2 others are my daughters who are great cooks. But in slim $$ times, trashy cooking can get you thru without breaking the bank, or your ass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh rose pearl, you cast a wide, wide net to ensnare some classics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rose Pearl, you just wiped out my kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Canned Fruit Cocktail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Whomp Biscuits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Miracle Whip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cool Whip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                worse yet, off brand of any of the above

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I was just reading back on these. Funny stuff! I'll add a meal that I did actually eat earlier this year: chicken dinosaur nuggets and a can of Natty light. This was not at my own house, but I was hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I would suggest that if the recipe has ingredients measured in cans and packages [rather than tablespoons, cups, etc], it qualifies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. This is one of the most interesting threads I have ever seen on Chowhound. We could meander around this subject all night, getting into sociology, history, and regional geography. I am going to jump into the fray by suggesting that trashy food is like trashy poetry in that it's too obvious. Thus, Miracle Whip, constructed desserts featuring pudding mix and/or Dream Whip, entrees using Campbell's soup, processed lunchmeat, and Hostess Cupcakes would be, by definition, trashy. Do we sometimes enjoy eating trashy food? Yes, just as we sometimes enjoy reading "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" even while we know it is crap poetry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just now I ran down the list of headings on CH Home Cooking and wrote down terms I'm quite sure my grandmother would not have recognized and she cooked for about eighty years: canele', sous-vide, tzatziki, mochi, sushi, wagyu tallow, marrons glaces, panzarella, clafouti, jerk seasoning, pho. Partly globalism, maybe partly snobbery, but it seems to me that now in cooking to keep one's edge it's necessary to know about things that most people don't know about---and to mention them a lot, and if you don't know what they are when somebody else mentions them, it's important to pretend that you do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Caveat: if you think that Velveeta is cheese, then you're eating trashy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL. Velveeta is "cheese food." It's what cheese EATS!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. http://tinyurl.com/8sgsyrd White Trash Cooking: 25th Anniversary Edition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Country or Southern style cooking do not equate to White Trash Cooking, in my view. Jello salads were eaten by virtually everyone a few decades ago; but now they connote something low brow. I don't know if I would consider jello salads "white trash" but more out of style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't like the term "white trash" since really white trash people are basically poor. Whatever the poor eats, would probably qualify. I've heard people tell me about government cheese; I think any recipe made with that ingredient would be "white trash." Perhaps pimiento cheese would be a candidate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Certainly spam or dried salted beef, or saltines or cheap cornmeal would be ingredients for something we could call "white trash" cooking. But the overuse of processed foods would make the dish expensive. I'm not sure that cooking by the very poor would involve many expensive processed items, or at least, many items in one dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here are some possibilities: anything grown in your garden that can be fried; any meat you have shot/trapped/fished for, however it is prepared, especially if it isn't the normal run of game; commercially canned fruit served at table; scavenged black berries or other wild fruit made up into cobbler; cheap lunchmeat sandwich on white bread, heated tomato soup poured over cooked pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          These are more likely the modern food of the poor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sue, pimiento cheese made with gubmint cheese?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'll have to ponder that. and wonder, could that be true? i sure don't think the people at augusta would think so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            fried green tomatoes "trash." just because it is a veggie that can be fried?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            oh NO!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sueatmo, i'm gonna have to sit down and have a little talk with you, girlfriend!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Tonight, I got home from work and I scarfed down cold leftover mac & cheese from a box.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Meanwhile, earlier today, I made some awesome chicken stock, that I let simmer overnight and reduced this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's kind of funny, because my friends view me as the big foodie/chef of the group, but for all the meals they don't see/hear about, I'm just as likely to be eating some random item, because I'm in a hurry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I try to stay clear of refering to people's food as trashy. Maybe, if cornered, I'd say plumping down on a sofa in front of a TV and eating cheetohs/pringles/cracker jacks from a box for "dinner" is trashy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A number of things that seem to get called trashy, or "white trash" by people in the US are definitely NOT--especially as they are found in various regions of the globe, and they don't have the trashy connotation as in the US in those places. These items include: mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, heavily boiling vegetables, jello/gelatines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. This summer a local church advertised that anyone could enter their: "7-Can Casserole cook-off". I never had heard of this and had to Google what it was - I never felt so ignorant or foolish to not understand that 7-can Casserole was actually a casserole made out of 7 canned items. Just a side note for everyone - they did say you could have up to 12 different cans of ingredients but 7 was the minimum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lilmomma, here's one of the versions, even thought I'm not RetiredChef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 cans chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 can cream of mushroom soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 can cream of chicken soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 can mushrooms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 can chow mein noodles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 can evaporated milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 small can french-fried onion rings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oven, 350. Mix all except onions in 3 qt. casserole, bake 20 minutes. top with onion rings; bake another 15 miinutes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Best enjoyed on TV trays while sitting on the couch.