Shipwreck Stew and a hopeful reunion .... some day! | Love Bakes Good Cakes
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shipwreck Stew and a hopeful reunion .... some day!

Shipwreck Stew - a simple and economical dish full of ground beef, veggies and beans! Family friendly and comforting - don't let this dish's simplicity fool you!

Shipwreck Stew - an economical and easy dish full of ground beef, veggies and beans! So simple, but so good!!

So .... this is one of those posts that is extremely hard for me to write. Like so many, I came from a "broken home." My mother and my biological father divorced when I was very young - around the age of 3 or so. Believe me - those scars run deep. I never really knew much about my biological father or his side of the family, and I have very few memories from my childhood. 

I was one of the lucky ones, you could say. I was adopted by my step-dad and grew up having a "normal" life. Some of those old wounds have been medicated by having him in my life ... some will probably never completely heal this side of Heaven. I have sat on this post for quite awhile deciding how much I felt comfortable with sharing - or not, because it is such an emotional one for me. The truth is, it's not comfortable at all. It dredges up all of the pain, hurt and rejection I've carried most of my life - for 30-something years. After all of this time, it is still here. Most days, I am ok. On an occasion, it really gets to me, and it puts me in a funk. Somehow, I feel like sharing this will take some of the burden off of me because I know there are probably thousands and thousands of people out there who can relate. 

Grandma and Grandpa - Shipwreck Stew

After I became an adult, I made contact with my biological father and his side of the family. Although I do not have contact with him, I do keep in contact with some of my aunts, uncles and cousins. My aunt, Wanda, posted on Facebook that she was making something called "Shipwreck Stew" .... I had never heard of this before. Apparently, it was something my grandma made. Maybe your family has a similar dish? Y'all know I love to cook (and eat!) - and I especially love how food has a tendency to bring people together. It was quite obvious how fond my aunts, uncles and cousins seemed of this dish. So many memories are made during a meal - whether we realize it or not .... So, I asked Wanda for the recipe. Of course, she happily obliged - thanks, Wanda! :) Although my Aunt Wanda didn't list it in the ingredients list, I'm pretty sure there was an extra cup or two of love put in this dish - the comments about this Shipwreck Stew from the family told me so. 

Grandma and Grandpa - Shipwreck Stew

This dish is far from fancy ... and being perfectly honest, it totally made me cry as I ate it. I feel like I lost so many potential memories with some very wonderful people. What can I say, I am a huge cry baby! (Even as I write this post, I have to dry my eyes.) I may never have gotten the chance to share this with my grandparents, but if Heaven has a kitchen, something tells me there will be a bowl of this stew and a long overdue reunion waiting for me.

Grandma and Grandpa - Shipwreck Stew

Shipwreck Stew
Printable recipe
Yield: 8-10 servings

2 lbs. ground beef
5-7 potatoes, peeled (if desired) and sliced thin or cubed
1 large onion, sliced thinly or finely chopped
5-7 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cans dark red kidney beans, liquid included
2 cans whole kernel corn, liquid included
2 cans diced tomatoes, juice included
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook and crumble the ground beef over medium high heat, until no longer pink. Drain, if necessary. Layer in order: the potatoes, onions, celery, kidney beans, corn and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium-high heat until the stew starts to come to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Cook covered and stir occasionally. 

***According to my Aunt Wanda, this is a stew that gets better each time it's reheated!

Shipwreck Stew - an economical and easy dish full of ground beef, veggies and beans! So simple, but so good!!

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I hope you enjoy! Shared at these fun parties!

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  1. Thanks for sharing your story, your pictures and your family's recipe. I think your Grandma would be proud to see her stew in your kitchen!!

  2. {{hugs}} Jamie! Thank you for sharing your story. I do know it wasn't easy. Take comfort in knowing that yes, there will be a reunion table with a place saved for you. Also know that you are passing down this stew, made with your own love added, and the story behind it,to your children.

  3. What a wonderful day that will be! Thank you for sharing your story. It helps all of us remember that no matter what the hurt, we all have them. We are affected by them and they shape our lives, but we are not defined by them. Just look at all the happiness you bring to us by sharing such wonderful recipes...many that warm our hearts with memories!

  4. There is an essential oil blend that has been such a blessing to our family. It has healed a lot of hurts for us.

  5. Jamie, what a difficult thing to carry. I really don't know what to say. I think we all have tendencies to sometimes focus on what could have been. It is nice, though, to have this family recipe. Now you can pass it to your children.

  6. What a bitter sweet story and a great hearty recipe to go with it. Thank you for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

  7. I'm so sorry you have been hurt, but how wonderful you've been able to connect with that side of your family now. I can feel the love coming out of this recipe.

  8. Jamie,
    I am so glad that you were able to share your touching story with all of us, now maybe you can begin to heal part of the pain that life and relationships bring sometimes. I feel that your Grandma would have been very proud of you and your Shipwreck Stew and I am happy for you that you could make it and somehow have part of your Grandma. I think your Grandma would be giving you a big ole hug and so am I!
    Miz Helen

  9. Thanks for sharing. It is funny how we connect food with memories. I will give this stew a try.

  10. What a touching story behind this dish, Jaime. It looks super yummy and something my family would love to dig into. Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper.

  11. Congratulations!
    Your post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

  12. {{Big Hugs}} my friend, I know exactly how you feel. I contacted my birth father when I was in my twenties. He was excited at first, and then went back to being a deadbeat. Rejection Round Two! I could not get any information out of him at all! I know that I look exactly like one of his sisters, but I have no idea who or where she is. Well okay, she's in NY, but that's like a needle in a haystack! My step-dad has been more than awesome as a dad, but there is still a void that can never be filled. I'm glad you wrote this post, you need to get it out of your head so you can start to heal. :) We seriously need to talk sometime, I think our lives are very similar. <3

  13. Jamie, you know I love recipes with stories, even if the stories make me cry. Such a powerful way to express how food creates such wonderful bonds between people. Funny that the dish is called "Shipwreck"...kinda like how you feel about your dad sometimes...

    Thank you for sharing a very important family recipe and a very important part of YOU. ♥

  14. This Shipwreck Stew looks fantastic and the story is the best ever! I am adopted by my father too. My biological dad passed away when I was a baby and that part of my family is partially a mystery to me as well. You are lucky to at least have a picture or two of your grandparents on that side..........I don't even have that and because I was born nearly 20 years later than my nearest in age cousin, most are not even still living. Whether your parents are divorced or widowed, the scars of emotion are deep and can drive your kids crazy sometimes, can't they? If my daughter only knew why I acted the way I do sometimes........:)


I love reading your comments. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond. :)