Do you ever think about the memories associated with what you eat? There are certain foods that bring me right back to a certain moment in time or place, and the memories are all good.
Visiting my Grandma Morrison meant cornflakes and grapefruit for breakfast. To this day, when I see cornflakes in the grocery store, I think of those breakfasts at her table. She also made the best gravy, no matter what the meal — the gravy was to die for. Maybe she didn't do anything out of the ordinary, or maybe it was that she made it.
My mom will always be known for her cream chicken and dumplings. Her dumplings were always big, white, and fluffy. For some reason I could never get those just right. When I make this recipe I substitute raw potato dumplings. In fact, dumplings were always a part of the best meals. I had a friend move here years ago who had no idea what a dumpling was. Gosh, I felt sorry for her.
Grandma Prezak could bake like no one's business. Her cookies and cakes were the best. Dropping in to visit meant she would pull together a meal seemingly out of nothing. When we were kids she made us birthday cakes with dolls in the middle, with the cake being the skirt of her ball gown. At Easter she also made lamb cakes.
When I was pregnant, I craved a fried egg on toast. Where did that come from? I never liked fried eggs before, but suddenly, I had to have one every morning. Now, I have that breakfast once in a while and it reminds me of a time when I had no idea if a boy or a girl would be in my future, but regardless, a whole bundle of joy was waiting for me, and I couldn't wait.
I think everyone has a memory of that one food they don't care for, but tried to choke down anyway. For me, it's liver. When I was a kid and smelled it frying in the kitchen, I knew I was in for a long, painful time at the supper table. Even now, the thought makes me gag. We had a little dachshund named Peanuts at the time, and that dog was there to catch every piece I spirited off my plate. There were times I thought I was so good with the slight of hand that I could have given David Copperfield a run for his money.
Also, I am not a fan of salmon or goat cheese. Once, we were invited for a meal, and the menu was salmon and a salad with goat cheese. My first thought — Peanuts, where are you?
Being a Wisconsinite, we've had many happy Friday night memories over fish fries at our favorite eateries. Maybe the fish is just an excuse to get out, catch up with the locals, maybe make a new friend, have a drink and really good food. It doesn't get any better than that.
I don't know what my kids will remember from my kitchen escapades, but I hope it's all good. They tell me that to this day they are traumatized by having to eat beets. When they come to visit, it's usually pork and dumplings that they request, and I am eager to comply. Seems so many of our best memories involve time with family and friends around a table laden with food. Happy eating!