Are you tiring a bit of the Food TV Recipe Syndrome as I am? By that comment, I mean all the redundant routines of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, white wine, chicken breast, balsamic vinegar, etc. I love all those things but after a time, one’s food can tend to take on the same flavors at every meal, regardless of what you’ve fixed. So, I fell back on my home cooking basics on this one and melded a recipe of my mother’s with what we now know are American ethnic food themes. The end product: a great-tasting one-dish meal, any leftovers from which will disappear quickly. I hate wasting food, don’t you? The central idea of this dish, which I have meticulously preserved, as I mentioned, originated with my own mother, Mary L. Crabtree, who frequently served this family favorite to us during the 1950s and ‘60s…. Slumgullion. Some say Slumgullion has an Irish origin, some would say it’s Italian. The truth is that American Slumgullion is most likely a fusion of both. Slumgullion in its genesis was generically defined as a “watery stew” – that certainly does not describe, in the least, what my mom prepared for us. In fact, this particular Slumgullion doesn’t resemble a stew at all – it’s more akin to a form of Johnny Marzetti, only better, in my opinion, and prepared on the stovetop instead of in the oven. Mom’s recipe was both delicious and hearty. And I should mention at this point that my family came directly from multiple generations of native Appalachians, and so, mom’s recipe was inexpensive, used common local ingredients and, was very filling, all of which represent Appalachian cooking caveats and additionally, necessary for us to stay within a tight family budget. This recipe, as I have listed it, takes my mother’s dish and incorporates it with a slight fusion influence of Cajun, Italian-American, midwestern, Tex-Mex and, of course, Appalachian fare. All but the Cajun facet are immediately apparent – a second look, though, will reveal the Cajun Holy Trinity of cooking: sautéed onions, celery, and green bell pepper. And if you think that I’ve gotten a bit wordy with the description of, and basis for, this recipe, it’s because I want you to know how much research and testing I’ve put into it – it’s not something that was simply “thrown together”. Great thought was given to these ingredients, and many more which did not really benefit the dish and, thus, the dubious ingredients were eliminated from the recipe, a process which is often painful for any chef. But no one would have laughed harder at my efforts and description here than my own mom – because my mom DID throw things together and they always came out great. She was a natural-born chef but she was also a humble woman and would have demurred had you addressed her by that title. I would caution everyone who tries this one to not shortcut the method, (e.g., shocking the cooked pasta in cold water), or you might end up with Slumgullion Mush. And dee514’s Italian Spices are integral to the dish – since they work great in pretty much anything Italian, (lasagna, spaghetti, etc.), make up a batch and you’ll be very glad for it! To summarize this tome of a recipe description, I’ll state that I tried to do the same thing with this recipe as Dvorak did with classical music when he wrote his New World Symphony (No. 9), if you are familiar with that notable piece. If not, give that monumental symphony a listen as you savor the robust flavor of Fusion Slumgullion along with some buttered white bread. As a final note, do not for a minute believe that this recipe will result in anything sophisticated because it’s just plain good eatin’, folks! Enjoy, my friends!