by Beth Keating
December 31, 2021
In the past few weeks, while pulling menus together for the holidays, I decided to look for something slightly different for this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration. In our family, we typically put out an “eat when you want to” buffet of finger foods that people can nosh on throughout the night, as we put on movies, wait for the ball to drop in Times Square, and generally chat with family and friends.
In trying to come up with something special for this year’s table, I decided to take some inspiration from Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. Throughout the parks and restaurants, the Disney chefs have reached back to the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 to offer up specialty treats to honor the anniversary.
At places like Casey’s Corner and Cosmic Ray’s, they are serving Walt’s Favorite Chili on a Chili-Cheese Dog. The Hollywood Brown Derby plates up Walt’s Corned Beef Hash with its filet mignon. The Skipper Canteen is dishing Veranda Fried Rice with spicy chili-garlic shrimp from the original Adventureland Veranda Restaurant in Magic Kingdom, which closed in 1994. (The Skipper Canteen now operates on the same site, and, by the way, from personal experience, the Veranda Fried Rice is very good.) And at The Plaza Restaurant, they are making the Monte Cristo Sandwich, original to when Disney World opened.
In the spirit of looking back to the gastronomic history of Disney, I pulled out my beat-up, coffee stained copy of Cooking with Mickey (Gourmet Mickey Cookbook) Volume II: The Most Requested Recipes from Walt Disney World and Disneyland, published somewhere around the year 2000 (there’s no actual copyright date in the book.)
I love this book as much for the memories of the meals represented by the recipes as I do for the many restaurants in the book that no longer exist. It’s a fun way to reminisce about long ago trips to Disney World. The cookbook itself was a souvenir purchase on one such vacation.
I usually put out some sort of hot food in a crock pot for guests to help themselves that evening, and this year, I spotted a recipe from the now-defunct Soundstage Restaurant at the since-renamed Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. I can remember taking our oldest son there and having a character meal with Aladdin and Jasmine among the “celebrities” we met that day. I thought the recipe for their “Soundstage Great Northern Bean Soup” would be a fun and filling addition to the hot selections on our buffet. After preparing the soup as directed in the book, I poured it into a crock pot to keep warm for guests to help themselves when they wanted.
In case you’d like to revisit the old MGM-turned-Hollywood-Studios, here’s the recipe, direct from the Cooking with Mickey cookbook.
Soundstage Great Northern Bean Soup
½ pound great northern beans, dry
10 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
¾ cup celery, diced small
1 cup onion, diced small
1 cup carrots, diced small
1 cup smoked ham, diced small
¾ cup tomato, diced small
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon thyme, ground
¼ cup cornstarch, diluted in 2/3 cup water
Soak beans in cold water overnight. Drain beans, rinse well, and place in a large soup pot with ten cups fresh water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook beans for approximately 1 hour until tender but still firm on the inside. Add celery, onions, and carrots and cook an additional 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add ham, tomato, salt, pepper, and thyme and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes. Add cornstarch mixed with water and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let soup cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Mix well and serve.
Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.
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