Cotsa-what now?
April 16, 2010 9:35 AM   Subscribe

What was my Nana calling the baked macaroni and beef dish she used to cook?

Growing up, we sometimes had macaroni and beef for dinner. It was basically just beef and cooked macaroni in a tomato sauce, then baked. It's probably a pretty standard, everyday dish, but my grandmother had a name for it that I never heard anywhere else. I'm trying to figure out what exactly the word is, how it's spelled, and where it came from. It sounds something like "cot sa put see".

Some background, just in case any of it helps:
I grew up with her in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
She's originally from Chicago but from a family of Lithuanian origin.
She used to speak Yiddish and is Jewish.

I've asked my family but nobody's really sure about it.
posted by sascha to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by jasondigitized at 9:47 AM on April 16, 2010

Oops, missed the 'cot sa put see', but you may still find something in here
posted by jasondigitized at 9:49 AM on April 16, 2010

I'm wondering if it was some Eastern-Europeanized word for pasticcio (aka Pastichio)?
posted by mudpuppie at 9:55 AM on April 16, 2010

We called that Chop Suey in my house. It's kind of close to cot sa put see...
posted by Constant Reader at 9:57 AM on April 16, 2010

Sorry, couldn't find it before - American Chop Suey
posted by Constant Reader at 9:58 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by SassHat at 10:08 AM on April 16, 2010

My grandmother and your grandmother might have been friends back in Chicago. A lot of things my Yiddishe grandmother cooked (other than goulash, chicken paprikash, etc) were just things thrown in a casserole dish and baked together. Somehow, your cotzaputsee sounds like our mish mosh or my mom's favorite, yuck-a-puck on toast.

Mmmm. Dinnertime!
posted by Sophie1 at 10:10 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

In the last sentence of the Gulyás section of the above-linked Goulash article on wikipedia, it refers to some egg noodles that are called something similar to what you remember: (cot sa put see):

"Goulash may be served with small egg noodles called csipetke[4] The name Csipetke comes from pinching small, fingernail-sized bits out of the dough (csip =pinch) before adding them to the boiling soup."
posted by urbanlenny at 10:16 AM on April 16, 2010

Sounds like the goulash my mother made, while growing up in Michigan.
posted by 6:1 at 10:21 AM on April 16, 2010

We called that "Roman Holiday" for some reason, when I was grwing up.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:16 AM on April 16, 2010

It seems more reminiscent of Italian to me than yiddish, as does the dish for whatever reason.

Unfortunately, "cosa puzzi," in Italian would be "what stinks?"

How was your grandmother's sense of humor? Or might someone passing along the recipe have been putting one over on her?
posted by Naberius at 1:23 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been vegetarian so long I may not be remembering correctly, but I am almost positive that my grandmother made the dish you describe and called it "chop suey".
posted by Cygnet at 2:43 PM on April 16, 2010

Sounds like the goulash my mother made, while growing up in Michigan.

6:1, are we related? I was going to say the same thing, down to mother, Michigan, and growing up.

Anyway, the key to goulash is paprika. Sascha, do you recall if it had lots of paprika? And perhaps sour cream on top?
posted by Ghidorah at 4:28 PM on April 16, 2010

Sounds like a lot of people had a variant of this growing up.

I think when she made it, she just browned some ground beef, added a jar of Prego and some cooked macaroni, then baked it until it firmed up a bit.

I've asked my mother to show my Nana this thread to see if any of the responses remind her of anything to do with it.

Naberius, I almost hope that your answer is the right one!
posted by sascha at 2:44 AM on April 17, 2010

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