Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Food Food Food Nostalgia Food

I haven't had lunch yet and I'm super-hungry. And my mind has drifted into a reverie on foods I used to love that I haven't eaten in a long, long time.
I'm sure most people could come up with a list like this. And I'm sure your list would seem kind of weird to me, as mine might seem kind of weird to you. The foods we feel nostalgic about are sort of like a gastronomic fingerprint: They're unique identifiers of each person.

Here's my list. Damn, I wish I had the recipes for some of these. To teh Google!

Later, after I eat.

Date balls: My grandma used to make these at Christmas. They were about the size of a quarter, and they contained chopped dates and Rice Krispies and were rolled in powdered sugar. So good. I used to sneak whole dates while she was making them, and my lips would swell and my throat would itch. Mmmm...allergies.

Raspberry cake: My great-grandma had raspberry bushes in her yard, and she would make all kinds of good things with them. But I most remember this cake. It was dense and not too sweet, and it had swirls of raspberry puree in it and was drizzled with white icing. Best. Cake. Ever. I've never, ever seen or tasted this cake anywhere else.

Cheeseburger pie: A dinner, not a dessert. It was especially good because my mom made amazing pie crust. This concoction consisted of ground beef in some kind of sauce, covered with cheese and baked in a pie pan until the cheese was brown and gooey-crispy. Then you cut it into slices, just like a pie. Other than having too many damn onions in it, like most things Mom made, it was super-yummy. I should see if she still has the recipe, not that anyone in my little family eats ground beef. :(

Tuna casserole: My grandma's tuna casserole was made with cream of mushroom soup and potato chips. I don't know how that sounds - it probably doesn't sound too appetizing, come to think of it - but it tasted amazing. I could probably replicate the recipe, although I'm not sure it would taste the same without being served in the glass warming dish she always used to use. Have you ever noticed how many of our memories about food having nothing to do with the food itself?

Foamy milk: When I was a kid, breakfast almost always consisted of cereal, fruit, juice and milk. But every once in a while, my mom would make us what she called "foamy milk." It was basically milk, raw egg, sugar, and vanilla, mixed together until it was thick and - duh - foamy. This was back before raw eggs became the devil, obviously. It was delicious. It was also, more or less, egg nog. And since my mom knew for a fact that I would never willingly eat anything with the word "egg" in the name, she wisely named it something fun and not ovum-related. It was so good that, even after I discovered what the ingredients were, I would whip it up for myself. Yet I still won't eat an egg.

OMG, I want these foods. If and when I track down all the recipes, I'm going to make them and throw a party. You're all invited. Bring your own onions.

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