13 November 2005

Childhood Food Meme

The charming Mrs. Delicious tagged me for this Childhood Food Meme ages ago and i'm finally getting to it. The idea is to list the top five food memories of your childhood. so, here we go, in no particular order:

  1. fresh bread

    when i was young and my mom was a fulltime at-home-mother (my younger brother's entry into grade school eventually liberated her and she got a fulltime out-of-home job), she made fresh whole wheat bread every week. i think this bread thing lasted until i was four. we lived in a house with a kitchen adjoining a charming breakfast nook. everytime she made bread, my mom would give me a small piece of dough with which i could make my own mini-loaf. being the clever child i was, and a lover of raw dough, i would take my mini-load dough, hide under the breakfast nook table and eat half of it, eventually emerging with a smaller loaf shaped piece of dough for baking. i was convinced that my mom had no idea what i was up to...i was, after all, hiding. and it wasn't like all the dough was gone.

  2. rainbow sherbet in a cake cone

    at the same time that i was eating raw whole wheat dough, i was also spending every thursday with my grandmother, who would come out to the suburbs for the day so my mom could spend time alone or with other humans with whom she could have real conversation. each week, my grandmother and i would, after spending some time at the park, drive to Baskin Robbins and get ice cream. she always got pralines 'n cream and i usually got rainbow sherbet in a cake cone. sometimes i experimented, ordering mint chocolate chip, quarterback crunch, gold medal ribbon or, during the summers, bubble gum ice cream. but i always came back to good ol' reliable, rainbow sherbet in a cake cone. even now, when i'm feeling down or homesick, a scoop of baskin robbins rainbow sherbet ice cream in a cake cone will cheer me right up. gold medal ribbon is almost as effective. when i was in india, towards the end of my four month stay, i stumbled upon a baskin robbins in bangalore. they didn't have rainbow sherbet but they had gold medal ribbon and, my, it was divine in its predictability. at any rate, rainbow sherbet will always rank up there as one of my perfect comfort foods.

  3. carrots

    beginning in, i think, fourth grade, my mom included a raw carrot in my lunches every day. i love raw carrots, despite feeling, to this day, that a cooked carrot in any form other than blended into carrot soup (one of my favorite dinners as a child) or cooked into mushy pulp in chicken soup, is pure blasphemy. this carrot-a-day habit soon gained me a bit of attention in the lunchroom. stories circulated about my babysitter, gordon, who ate so many carrots that his nose turned orange...would i fall victim to the same fate? luckily, my nose never veered from its normal slightly reddish hue. instead, inspired by a combination of amusement and the desparate need for gift ideas, friends and family began to get me carrot-related birthday gifts: a carrot-shaped pen, a paper mache carrot, a plush carrot; eventually, the gift-giving evolved to include rabbits. by seventh grade, i had a five shelf bookshelf crammed with rabbit magnets, rabbit stuffed animals, rabbit bowls, rabbit pins, etc. and a impressive collection of rabbit sweatshirts and tshirts (including my favorite -- a giant pink sweatshirt with a rabbit dressed like Don Johnson). by the time i hit my sophomore year in highschool, i was over with and probably embarrassed by the rabbit thing. thank god my interest wained before i convinced my parents to get me the $300 rabbit bench seen somewhere in northern michigan. i boxed everything, put it in my attack and, to this day, it's still up there. it's occurred to me that i could make quite a killing with a strategically timed Easter garage sale.

  4. caprisun

    like mrs. delicious, i too have fond memories of the caprisun. we used to have them occasionally in nursery school. caprisuns always brought a mixture of anxiety and excitement. anxiety because i could never get that damned straw into the little foil hole on the drinkbox --er, drink bag? it either wouldn't go thru at all or it would puncture both sides. or i'd manage to get it in but i'd miss the teeny straw-sized hole that i was aiming for. none of my classmates seemed to endure the same struggle and it was a point of frustration and embarrassment. i'm sure i had to ask for help everytime. but once the straw was properly in place, i drank the juice as quickly as possible because, let's face it, the stuff was gross. and as soon as i'd finished, i could reinflate the drinkbag and pretend that it was still full. oh, the crazy 5 yr-old hijinks that ensued! the endless pleasure of tricking people into "drinking" my air-filled capri sun! the joy of inflating and then deflating the capri sun on my face, experiencing the pleasing sensation of air against cheek.

  5. heart-shaped birthday cake

    at some point my mom acquired a heart-shaped cake mold and for years it was brought out for my birthday alone. she would make pink layer cake (strawberry maybe?) for me every year. i turned seven the last winter we spent in our first suburban dwelling. as i remember it, halfway through my birthday dinner, a young couple appeared at our door to make an offer on the house. or maybe to close on the house? i can't remember. what i do remembers is that it was the most unfair thing ever! it was MY birthday and all attention was supposed to be directed at ME, not some stupid strangers, goddamnit! my dad always video taped birthday parties and there's an entire tape of me hiding under the table, sobbing. and my, at the time, 3 year-old brother trying to cheer me up. that may have also been the year that i insisted we have tacos and my grandparents, wholesome chicago jews, didn't eat a bite.

07 November 2005

recipes galore!

(warning: if you work for the cookbook industry, disregard this entire thing except the last paragraph.)

as librarian blogger schwagbag points out, Google Print is an awesome source for recipes. most recipes are only a page or two, which is exactly how many pages you can see on Google Print of copyrighted materials. I'm a big fan of Epicurious.com and all, but there's something about searching actual printed cookbooks (like Kitchen Sessions With Charlie Trotter) that's kind of pretty exciting a little bit.

and it totally makes me want to go out and buy the cookbooks i find online! gosh, thanks cookbook industry, for not suing the heck out of google yet!

friends over for dinner sunday night. i found out after shopping for a rather elaborate meal, that i was scheduled to work from 1-5pm. since these folks have a wee baby, they couldn't do that whole eat at 9pm thing. luckily the weather on saturday was rotten, so i just stayed in and prepped for sunday and actually managed to pull it off. good for me.

  • fresh backed italian olive oil bread: a whole wheat bread with a crispy crust
  • chicken provencal: chicken cooked in a tomato olive sauce. the Cooks Illustrated recipe had me baking instead of stewing the chicken and i modified it a bit in the interest of time (1.5 hrs in the oven vs. 20 minutes on the stove). on the other hand, Cooks Illustrated substituted a single anchovy filet where there is usually salt pork. a good thing. the end result was delicious moist chicken in a fabulous sauce that also happened to be quite tasty for dipping the bread.
  • asparagus and prosciutto risotto: per erin recommendation, i par-cooked the risotto the night before, stopping about ten minutes before it was to be done. then i just reheated it, put in the rest of the stock, mixed in the asparagus (also cooked the day before), the prosciutto and the cheese and voila! despite the absence of cream, it was incredibly creamy.
  • salad, care of the guests
  • pumpkin cookies with glaze for dessert, also made the day before. i got the recipe off the web and it was pleasantly cake like: moist and spongy. and the raw dough was divine...almost better than the cooked dough, but that's usually the case.

today for lunch, after the fancy chicken meal, i had a fake meat sandwich and one of those protein drinks. i love those protein drinks -- i know they're bad, but i just can't help myself.

02 November 2005

even from a far, she's takin' good care of me

april stayed in my apartment and left one of those all-ingredients-included bags of salad along with a cooked chicken breast. a spinach, dried cherry, blue cheese and pecan salad.

tonight for dinner, i ditched the pecans (ew!), added some sliced zucchini and cooked up the entire salad to serve over pasta. delightful! and so nutritious! if it wasn't for april's unintentional generosity, it would've been crackers and canned tuna for me.

thanks april!