I have been saving this little snippet for like two weeks..moving it from desktop to desktop trying to figure out what to do with it. I was cruising some vintage cookbooks at the library and was stunned to find an American Chop Suey recipe in a 1922 church cookbook…cause like a lot of people my age..we figured this was one of those back of the box recipes. Perhaps on a bag of elbow macaroni…but nope..here’s a Mock Chop Suey recipe made in a spider…for those of you who need reminding…a spider is a frying pan for cooking in a hearth or something. I found still ANOTHER recipe well..not a recipe but a mention… in a book i was supposed to be transcribing today…where the author was going all
Proustian about his mother’s fried pies filled with cranberry sauce…made in a spider sometime in the 1850s. Made me all hungry to try it. I looked, i have all the ingredients to make a short crust whole cranberry sauce stuffed fried pie.. Which I may get to this weekend..tonight i made a small pot of american chop suey NOT the recipe above..but one i actually can make and finish. They lost me at ground beef and tomato soup. I was just surprised at the date of the recipe. In fact i found a similar recipe CALLED american Chop Suey in a Michigan community cookbook from 1930….i’m dying to find out who the hell 1st called elbow macs and ground beef with tomato sauce Chop Suey… i have never seen an Asian chop suey that was more than bean spouts, celery, onions in a corn starch sauce..how they made the connection is beyond me.
As I go along collecting tidbits i am storing them all in evernote so perhaps one day i will have enough scrap and tidbits to make a collection of recipes…a chop suey cookbook as it were.
Getting closer to an answer..Wikipedia claims the Chop Suey part of the name comes from the haphazardness of the recipe in New England anyway…as for the source…it mentions ONE version using Cambells soup..which made me think..it still could have been a recipe recommended by Franco-American since they were very popular in the 20s. further investigation is needed.