The Recipe Hack

Once upon a time there was a Campbell’s product called “Apple Bourbon Sauce”. I bought it at Two Boys in Condon; it came in a pouch and was especially good on pork. I don’t know why I bought it in the first place because I tend to cook from scratch. But there it was perched in the pantry and one day I plopped some pork chops into the slow cooker, opened the bag and poured the sauce on them. That was easy! The first bite floored me. They were delicious! How could mass produced food made by giant, impersonal machines taste as good as food made by home cooks who infuse their creations with love?

I had just made a fresh batch of sauerkraut and reminisced about Sunday dinner at my Grandmother’s house. She was a German gal who made wickedly good pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy and served it with a side of sauerkraut. My mind got fixated on pork chops and I remembered the excellent sauce from Campbell’s. I went to Two Boys to get some more and was sorely disappointed to see it wasn’t on the shelf. An internet search revealed that the company had discontinued it.

I stewed in my disappointment for a few days and mentioned my dismay to Ellie who has become quite an expert in using AI. She suggested that we launch an AI inquiry to get the recipe. The trick with AI is to ask the right questions and it can take a few tries. The question was “Can you create a recipe for a homemade version of Campbell’s Apple Bourbon Slow Cooker Sauce”? The AI informed us that the company hadn’t discontinued the sauce, just given it a new name. Now it’s called Hawaiian Pork.

Apple Bourbon Sauce

¼ cup decent bourbon
¼ cup apple juice or cider
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup ketchup
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer for about ten minutes. Strain to remove the onions, garlic and bay leaf. That’s all!

This sauce is utterly fabulous, one the best I have ever made. I put it on just about everything – baked potatoes, omelets, beans and I even ate it plain. The last time I made it, I quadrupled the recipe. The entire time I was writing this, my mouth watered. That’s some sauce!

Today is Leap Year Day. AI is definitely taking society for a quantum leap. Hold on! And while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to ask “IT” for recipes, even mass produced ones.