I was tapped to do this meme back in July, by Shuna, and I began to write it up.
Then I stopped, and began writing much about my culinary travels. So the file got moved somewhere on my desktop, obliterated amongst the mess of files and folders here at chez Dave. As someone else mentioned when she got tagged for the meme, it’s kinda like getting a homework assignment.
And who wants homework when you live in Paris?
Then last month Clotilde, who effortlessly manages to both live in Paris and respond to food memes, and she tagged me again, so I felt guilty and decided I’d better sit down and do this.
The meme asks Food Bloggers what 5 Favorite Childhood Food Memories they remember most. Here are mine. I suppose I should be taking only about things like usual suspects like ‘comfort food’, but frankly, these are the things I remember (and miss) the most…so, ok…there’s one ‘comfort food’ entry tossed in…
Chocolate (or Rainbow) Sprinkles
I love sprinkles, or as we called them, “ants”, since they resembled everyone’s favroite picnic critters swarming all over your ice cream. I remember going to Friendly’s Ice Cream in Connecticut and ordering Chocolate-Marshmallow Swirl Ice Cream and once it was scooped, the server dipped the whole she-bang in the container of sprinkles, covering everything. A few years later, soft-serve ice cream made its was to New England and I discovered Rainbow Sprinkles, which are almost as good as their darker cousins, when smushed into pillow-y soft-serve ice cream once it emerged from the swirling machine at Foster Freeze.
(I wonder what they would say if I asked for sprinkles at Berthillon?)
Chicken and Rice with Apricots
My mother was a great cook.
And I never appreciated it fully until I got to college and other guys told me what lousy cooks their mother’s had been. My mother was an artist who specialized in weaving and spinning. And she was kind of a character and very well put-together . She had a remarkably strong resemblance to Mary Tyler Moore (before Mare’s Joker-From-Batman-like face lifts) and Jacqueline Susann…both were very well put-together, and mom and Jack’s shared a penchant for stiff, high hair, opulent jewellery, and swirly Emilio Pucci outfits.
I remember her stepping into her shiny Mercedes, with her Louis Vuitton handbag and a bag lunch (her Yankee thrift prohibited her from stopping at Howard Johnson’s for lunch), and driving up to Vermont where puffy bags of fresh wool from the hippies and beatniks who sheared it off their sheep for her. Somehow she managed to fit right in.
Another time I came home from school with friends and my mother was sitting in the front yard, wearing her bra, shorts and Frye boots, and spinning wool on one of her spinning wheels.
Anyhow, my mother made the best Chicken and Rice with Apricots. Her father was Arabic (her mom was Danish) and this dish has roots, I think, in his culinary tradition.
You take a whole chicken and simmer it in water with a sliced carrot or two, and a stalk of celery, until it’s falling-off-the-bone soft. Then you make a pot of long-grain rice and use the chicken stock to cook it, replacing the water. In a small saucepan, she poached some tangy California dried apricots in some water with a bit of sugar to serve atop the chicken and rice.
YUM! This is the best dish ever, and really simple too. I make it any time during the winter months when I’m not feeling very healthy: it instant restores me.
This was my first lesson in disappointment (unfortunately, there were many others to follow…), since the television ads showed the popcorn rosing up in a big, bulbous aluminum balloon in about 5 seconds much to the happy delight of the kids clustered around the stove.The bag just rose and rose until it was practically bursting open by itself. Then the steaming bag was ripped open with a fork and everyone squeeled with joy and hapiness.
Well, we bought Jiffy Pop, and it took about 5 or 10 minutes to rise and pop, and was very underwhelming and boring. And the popcorn sucked too…not as much fun to make, as it was to eat.
(Hey, who said this meme supposed to only be about good-tasting food memories?)
Dried Pasta Elbows
I used to eat dried pasta by the box. I don’t know why. I would grab a box of Mueller’s dried elbows and crunch on them all day long. It was very satisfying, even though my father would warn me that all that pasta was going to expand in my stomach.
I hate black licorice.
It’s gross. There’s nothing worse than having the taste of black licorice stuck in your mouth. It’s like licking gooey tar off of hot pavement. It’s disgusting…and yes, I know that there’s all this supposed great gourmet licorice out there that’s just divine and I just haven’t tried it yet. Well, some people eat dogs and monkey brains and you might think that’s disgusting…so stop trying to convince me to try black licorice. I don’t like it.
But what I loved was red licorice. It’s gummy, like those vibrant, jelled Orange Slices covered with lots of crunchy granulated sugar (…which I loved almost as much, which would be #6) and chewy all at the same time, with a red cherry-like sweetness. I now enjoy Panda bars from Finland, where they’re naturally-flavored and apparently good for you, since they sell them in health food stores in the US. So I don’t feel too bad eating one once in a while even though now I’m a more sensible adult.