|Nathan, October 29, 2005|
Contemplating this blog post, it struck me how much the rhythm of my life has been associated with food, and I'm not just talking about special occasions. Sure, there have been plenty of birthday parties, holiday dinners, summer barbecues, and romantic restaurant meals. Food and celebration go hand in hand, right? But there's more to it than that. Come along and share some food memories with me.
Growing up: A bowlful of nuts in the shell and hard candy shaped like ribbons and an endless array of cookies and candies during the entire month of December. A round cake frosted in two separate layers for my brother and me, whose birthdays were just two days apart. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee pizzas hot from the oven. Two McDonald's cheeseburgers, an order of fries, and strawberry shake for Friday night supper; pancakes on Sunday. Bridge mix hidden in my parents' bedroom.
At Grandmother Asberry's house: Eggs over easy, spicy country sausage and fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. Ham with pineapple rings and a cake shaped like a lamb covered with fluffy white frosting and sparkling white coconut on Easter Sunday. Gooseberry pie with vanilla ice cream and preserves made with strawberries fresh from the garden. The best tuna salad on the planet and a moist lemon Bundt cake for my sixteenth birthday.
At Grandma Kuntz's house: Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and red jello with fruit cocktail, banana slices and black walnuts after church on Sunday. Apples fried in butter and brown sugar, caramelized to the point they tasted more like candy than fruit, served with steaming hot homemade biscuits . Pot roast and potatoes and carrots and onions cooked to tender perfection. Watermelon and "muskmelon" with salt on the side.
In high school: Homestyle fries with gallons of ketchup and ice cold Coca-Cola after school at Hadley's Cafe in Mt. Carmel. A hamburger cooked in a microwave oven at Deb's; turnips that made my mouth water at Corrie's. Beef stew and homemade hot rolls, Stewart ham and cheese sandwiches, and sundae cones from the school cafeteria.
In college: Breakfast at Mary Lou's, sub sandwiches from Booby's, deep dish pizza and a tossed salad with French dressing from Quatro's, chocolate dipped vanilla soft serve ice cream cones from Dairy Queen on Tuesday nights. Spaghetti-o's, Kraft dinner and ramen noodles cooked in an electric pot in the dorm. My first sip of beer, homemade kahlua, chocolate brownies.
Adulthood: Teaching my baby brother how to make pizza and chocolate chip cookies. Hours spent studying Betty Crocker and Fannie Farmer and later Laurel Robertson and Frances Moore Lappe, as my recipe preference shifted from traditional to semi-vegetarian. Beginning a lifelong love affair with baking. Learning to use a food processor, grain mill and heavy-duty mixer. Grinding wheat and baking homemade bread from scratch. Decorating birthday cakes with sprinkles for my kids, making heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's Day, chocolate "dirt" pudding and scary spiders for Halloween, and snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies for Christmas. Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and Food Network. Julia Child, Jeff Smith, Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray. My first experience with lobster, escargot, and Baked Alaska on a cruise ship. Sushi at Fusion, tiramisu at Maggiano's, chocolate croissants from La Madeleine. My recent birthday celebration at Ippolitos.
What are your favorite memories? Cooking with your mom and grandmother as a child? A romantic meal with your significant other? A special holiday event? Tell us all about it!