I mentioned in an earlier post that Ole Sweetie-Pi is a train brain. He must have at least a 1,000 model trains (no exaggeration), his favorite lines being Lehigh Valley and Penn Central, though he collects them all from what I can see.
We are owed by five cats. Back in the day of dining and sleeper cars, the Chesapeake and Ohio had a logo and a series of advertisements, called Chessie, the Cat ("Sleep Like a Kitten"). The sweet, sleeping kitten, tucked in a fluffy blanket, captured the hearts of travelers and non-travelers alike, and you can see the silhouette of the sleeping kitten in the "C" in their logo. The Chesapeake and Ohio later became the Baltimore and Ohio. Anyway, because of the kitty connection, I am Chessie Systems and B&O collector.
Ole Sweetie-Pi, who is extremely happy at sharing his railroad rabidness with me, surprised me with a yellowed B&O pamphlet of recipes that were served in their dining cars. I think by today's standards the recipes are plain; however, considering the constraints of railway cooking, the food was interesting, regional, and satisfying. This corn bread pie caught my eye as it is a dish many of us still enjoy today. It could easily be "modernized" to reflect today's tastes of spicier food, maybe some added cheese in the cornbread would be tasty. I think I saw a similar recipe where someone added canned green beans; that sounds good too. I did use the full tablespoon of chili powder (big surprise as we are not spicy), and it was good, but for us, on the verge of being too hot.
This was a fun meal, one that we would likely enjoy again. I'm thinking that one of those little boxes of cornmeal muffin mix (they're like 3 or 4 for a $1.00 the last time I looked) might be good here as well if you didn't want to invest in a whole package of cornmeal that you might not use straight away.
There are so few railroad dining car recipes on the web, I thought I'd pass this one along as presented.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Corn Bread Pie
1 pound of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 can tomato soup
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup green peppers
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
Have ready a greased casserole dish, set aside.
In a good sized saute pan or fry pan, brown the beef and onion together. Drain off fat. Add the tomato soup, water, and seasonings. Stir well to combine and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, with an occasional stir so it doesn't scorch. Pour into prepared casserole dish, allowing ample room for the corn bread batter, remembering that the corn bread is going to rise.
In the meantime, prepare the corn bread.
3/4 cup corn meal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon of melted fat
In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour batter over the meat mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350F, or until the corn bread is golden brown.