Some of my most fond memories are food related...
The smell of my grandmothers bread baking at Easter
Appollo Fudge Cakes
Pizza off the Renaldo's Pizza Truck
Kemps Hamburgers and Fries
Anything at the Drive-in Movies Consession Stands
Mint Julep penny candy
Crows- black licorice candy (like DOTS only all black)
Peanut Butter Cookies with the peanut butter filling we use to get at elementary school for snack break time
Alaskan King Crabmeat sandwiches (there was a time this was a very cheap meal and was sold in cans like tuna fish)
Malted Milk mix
Warm Rice Krispy Treats (homemade variety not premade store bought)
I know if I had more time to think my list would be pages long...
What are your fondest memories of childhood?
Wow, folks are still posting nearly 2yrs later, so as a relative newbie, I'll add mine too...
Going with my grandparents to the race track on Sunday afternoons (and getting them to place a $1.00 bet for me)
Smelling my dad's latest BBQ sauce on whatever he was grilling
Saturday aftenoons listening to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts
Friday nite dinner out at Art's Seafood (Cleveland--mid to late '60's--I've never had catfish cooked like that since)
Waking up near the holidays to smell mom making cardamom bread...(deep sigh here)
Biscuits, fresh-picked raspeberries and grits at my maternal grandmothers (she had grape vines too--fresh picked concord grapes just after the first chill of the fall..ohmy ohmy!!)
My grandmother's fried chicken.
International house flavored coffee, other grandmother would serve at "tea" parties for my cousin and me. We felt so grown up drinking coffee at age 4!
Great-grandmother's fried cornbread. Sadly, no one in family saved this recipe.
Most cherished memory-- Grandfather used to make us Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Root Beer Floats.
Dinner after church on Sunday at my dad's cafeteria. We all sat in a big booth in the back and my grandma would ask, "Did you go to Sunday school today?" I had turkey and dressing with cranberry sauce, corn and pumpkin pie almost every Sunday.
When I was in first grade I had lunch at my grandma's house every day because she lived right across the street from the school and our house was on the other side of town. At one point I had a loose tooth and she cut the cheeseburger she made me into little bites.
My aunt Sue always had a big bowl of Monster Cookies on the counter (still does, most of the time, because they're my nephew Cameron's favorite). She also made this incredible chicken and rice soup that we had any time we went to her house to babysit or spend the night.
I remember my mom deciding at one point that it would be a good idea to inflict spaghetti squash on us. That didn't go over well. And she used to cook side meat on the broiler. Man, that was good.
Any Sunday my dad didn't have to work he'd cook up a big breakfast for us. Sausage (usually bulk with cayenne pepper added), biscuits and gravy, and eggs sunny side up. He'd take all the eggs and cut them up, mix the runny yolk in, and then dole them out onto all of our plates. The rest of the meal was fine but those eggs were nasty.
At Gram and Papa's house there was always a coffee can full of Oreos.
Then there was the year my aunt Pat decided to cook the Thanksgiving turkey in her brand-new microwave oven. First one any of us had seen. It was a spectacular failure.
When Grandma and Grandpa first got their microwave, they'd invite us over and show us how this nifty new contraption could make a hot dog in 15 seconds--with that cheese that came in the squeeze tube.
King's Hawaiian rolls
Homemade snickerdoodle cookies
My mom's incredibly unauthentic (but tasty) teriyaki chicken, served with Minute Rice, of course
Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco treat) fettucine alfredo
Shrimp flavored Top Ramen (during the latch key kid years, this was the first dish I "mastered")
Orange Julius' signature "smoothie" (if you can call it that) at the Brea Mall
7-Up & vanilla ice cream floats
Fiddler's Three cheese soup and "cookie experience" dessert
My grandma's French toast & cheeseburgers
My other grandma's Luden's Cherry cough drops
Thrifty ice cream -- especially Chocolate Malted Crunch
Turkey & Avocado sandwiches from "Kwik Pik" in Fullerton, CA (my sister and I would ride our bikes there and then head to Thrifty for 39 cent cones)
Teppan at Shiki in Orange, CA
Indeed, healthy eating was not a priority in my family, perhaps this was due to our humble "white trash" roots! After we moved from Hickville, IL to Orange County, CA, my mother's cooking did become a bit more "adventurous"--hence, the teriyaki chicken and Hawaiian rolls.
Dad's homemade chocolate malts & milkshakes
Mom's meatloaf baked with ketchup & bacon strips on top
Grandma's fresh peach pie
German Grandma's Christmas cookies: Lebkuchen, Mandelschnitzen, Eier Kranz, and Schokoladen Platzchen
Cheese fondue every New Year's Eve after ice skating
Fresh roasted warm salted peanuts in a bag
Ice cold soda pop bottled in small glass bottles in every possible flavor you can imagine
Sweet corn & tomatoes still warm from the garden sun (yes, I did manage to eat some healthy things during my childhood !)
- Sno balls: Vanilla ice cream rolled in cocoanut and topped with some magical sort of frosting in the shape of a holly leaf and berries, and a candle in the middle; they came four to a pack only at Christmas. The ice cream was pretty bad, but oh, the berries and leaves!
- Apple slush: Partially frozen apple juice served in a frosty mug somewhere near Sonora, drunk with my Dad after a summer vacation day boating on the icy Strawberry Lake.
- Beef Medallion: Eaten at the old Cliff House in San Francisco and ordered because of the pretty name - my first truly transcendent food experience: the magical blending of wine and herbs in the luscious sauce.
- First Chinese food at Kan's in SF: Ethereal egg drop soup, delicate chicken almond, fortune cookies!
- The Cokes (in bottles) at the Contra Costa Civic Theatre, bought from the machine by us ushers while the show was going on behind the swinging doors, circa 1967.
- Whatever my Mom did with pork chops--for some reason, I keep thinking of graham cracker crumbs and sage.
- French bread crusts cut off from the part that would be used in the dressing, and dipped into the butter-celery-onion mixture.
- Shredded wheat, spread with butter and baked in a bowl with milk until the milk scalds.
- The potato soup I ate after my two-week bout with strep throat, after not being able to swallow for days.
- My friend Annie's dad Steve's mulled wine, doled out in tiny portions--he wouldn't give me the recipe!
- The pimento-stuffed olives from Mom's martinis (gin, of course).
- The cool, weird crusty-chocolatey-milky foam that arises when you make a float out of chocolate chip ice cream and Diet Rite.
- The first taste of the home-made popsicles made in ice cube trays with Golden Nectar Kool Aid (the following tastes were increasingly less rewarding, as I sucked out the flavor and was left with a glorified ice cube).
The honeycomb cake and the cinnamon candies in a can from Blum's Bakery on Polk? Fresh tortillas wrapped in white paper and string from Sanchez's Tortilleria on Fillmore at California. Strawberry Napoleons from the Menu Tree in the Rhodes Shopping Center in Mountain View, CA. Haam-Yoo from Fei Ling Chinese Restaurant on Pine. And Cho cho Clown Chocolate Malt ice Cream that came in a cup with a stick sticking out and you take off the cup and have an ice cream on the stick.
I was just grazing through the wonderful Frank Stitt's Highlands Grill cookbook and was reminded of my first oyster roast. 4th grade and my neighbor's father and grandfather had been oystering on the Savannah river. October night, big BBQ pit in back yard covered with sheet metal and the huge clumps of oysters were placed on it and covered with wet burlap bags and seaweed and steamed open. Pick them out of the shell and dip in melted butter. Heaven! I think I must have been a foodie even back then.
I love this thread :-)
Coconut water drinks at Coney Island (which was for my mom ONLY - but she'd let us have a sip).
Dried California apricots again, "if" my mom would part with them.
Left over stale potato chip crumbs the morning after my mom's mah jong games.
Pizza from around the block from our apartment on Batchelder Street in Brooklyn.
Fresh bialys/bagels from just about anywhere in Brooklyn.
Lox - the real thing, salty belly lox NOT Nova!
Crispy sea bass - unknown upper west side chinese that an Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Jack used to take my family when I was very young.
Same Aunt & Uncle's Thanksgiving meals - they really knew how to cook and I owe my gravy making abilities to Aunt Dot.
Any recipe my dad would cook that he had cut out of the NY Times food section.
Nathans hot dogs & fries - Coney Island
Apricot Sourers and Pink Squirrels (tastes only - from my mom again).
My grandmother's from scratch cheese blintzes and apple cake. Wish I could figure out to reproduce these - she's too old now to remember how she did it.
Fresh baked rye bread w/seeds, slathered with butter.
Apricot "Shoe Leather"
Yodels, Devil Dogs, Snowballs and Twinkies.
Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese and a Swanson's (I think) Chicken Croquette meal - the best dinner when my parent's were going out for the evening.
Hot pretzels from the guy on the corner of our street UNTIL we saw him picking his nose one day (true story)
Boy, this list could continue for a long time!
"Cinnamon Toast" so simple and so good yet hardly anyone makes it anymore. "Going to the Automat" in NYC, usually after ice skating in Central Park. Oh it was such fun to go with Dad to get the nickels for the machines. I always had the hot cocoa and a piece of pie, apple or lemon merinque. It was like magic when the little doors popped open!Mom's celestial meatloaf. She was an amazing cook and her meatloaf was always perfectly moist and she someone managed to layer strips of bacon on top that somehow always cooked up to just the right amount of crispy/juicy. And her dumplings, excuse me while i get verklempt. :)Penny candy, the potato chips they sold in NYC in long narrow cellophane packs, pizza, Bungalow Bar ice cream sandwiches, cream puffs from "Cushman's" that were a mile high with whipped cream, ditto for their chocolate eclairs. Knishes on trips to Coney Islands, hot dogs with sauerkraut, Cherry Lime Rickies.
oh yes....cinnamon toast ! Loved it as a child when my dad made it for me along with a mug of his hot chocolate. I still make cinnamon toast today for my children and have a little shaker container of cinnamon & sugar sitting next to the sugar bowl.
Now have you ever tried fried cinnamon & sugar sandwiches ? Mix cinnamon & sugar with a little milk until it's the consistency of jam; make a sandwich with it as a filling; fry in a pan with melted butter. sinfully good.
Tamales, tacos in my family's home in S.AZ. Potato Pancakes and Strudel at Kettles in Tokyo, Sweet and Sour Pork from Sun Ya in Tokyo, my mom got the recipe and I requested it almost every birthday, BBQ at Johnny Harris' in Savannah...the carousel was still in the middle of the room, anything my AZ grandmother made, pintos with ham and a big pan of corn bread, her biscuits were a wonder and she made them by feel, no recipe. Cornbread crumbled into a tall glass and topped with real buttermilk and eaten with an iced teaspoon. Sardine sandwiches with yellow mustard on Milbrook Dutch Dill Bread, grilled cheese sandwiches on Bouyea's Italian Sourdough with good McAdam cheddar. My mom's fried chicken, mac & cheese, pot roast soup, sauerbraten, spaghetti sauce...used to love to steal some from the pan and eat on saltines her spareribs and kraut with creamy mashed potatoes, the waffles she used to make on Sunday mornings which were crisp and the batter got a bunch of melted butter added to it, I do have her Sunbeam waffle baker with seasoned steel grids which get hotter and produce much crisper waffles than any aluminum non-stick coated waffle baker will produce today. I went to HS in northern NY state and my school made a dessert called Glorified Rice which we all swooned over and I'd love a recipe. It was a rice pudding that was made by folding rice into whipped cream, with crushed pineapple and drizzled with a thickened, caramelized maple syrup. Those of us who have lived in Clinton Co. NYS also revere a speciality of the county, a chili dog that is unique to the area called a Michigan an almost first stop when returning for visits. I had my first taste of Brunswick stew in Albany, GA at about 6 and have been a devotee ever since. I've not out grown any of these dishes and mourn that some are just not possible any more like the cornbread with real buttermilk. Anyone have a recipe for Glorified Rice?
My grandmother's tamales at Christmas
My grandmother's flour tortillas - heaven
My mother's rice pudding
My mother's spaghetti with meatballs - still perfect
A warm glazed donut right off the Helm's truck (does anyone remember this?)
A hot fudge sundae from 31 Flavors, extra whipped cream
Campbells chicken noodle soup
The rolls in the cafeteria in junior high!
My Grandmother's spareribs and saurkrout with potatoes. Well they weren't her spareribs, but, you know.
Also, my Mom's German Potato Salad. Boiled potatoes, hard cooked eggs, bacon, onions cooked in the bacon fat, S&P, and apple cider vinegar. That's it, no sweet stuff in GPS. Oh man, was it good. She still makes it for Christmas and 4th of July.
Frosted flakes and glass bottles of coke at my dad's work after school... I was not allowed to have sugared cereals or dark pop when I was little! (Don't tell my mom!) ;-) He turned up his little fridge so it would get the coke just the tiniest bit icy!
Cheese and crackers all the time, esp. with mustard!
Campbell's Bean w/ Bacon Soup, as reported in the canned soup thread.
Great Grandma's apple pie and Bo Bo's apple pie (a local diner... my first official solid food!)
Daylight Donut's apple fritters
Beef Stew with Dumplings and Hungtington Chicken
My grandma's "dirty rice"... it's not the actual dirty rice... just rice with mushrooms, and I don't know what else, but she still makes it for me!
Pork and sauerkraut
cottage cheese with chopped veggies from my grandfather's beautiful garden
crabs boiled and eaten with vinegar (??)
pretzel sticks at the beach
Mom's scalloped potatoes with ham
black raspberry sour cherry pie
date nut bread with pineapple cream cheese
Kraft macaroni and cheese
...we bought live from the wharf in D.C. Steamed them in the backyard with loads of Old Bay. Had feasts with friends, watching the Baltimore Orioles on TV, hours and hours of crab picking. I can still go through a couple of dozen in no time now. It's an actual trade to be able to do it...The the whole next week fresh crab cakes or Mom's homemade crab soup.
1) Lox sandwiches on white bread with knudsens sour cream, not cream cheese.(Discovered at Zucky's in Santa Monica, CA now defunct.
2) Grandma made Lamb shanks basted with a tomato based sauce, meat would fall off the bone.
3) Moms buttermilk southern fried chicken.
4) Moms tuna salad sandwich made with white tuna in oil, miracle whip salad dressing, chopped celery, and a chopped hard boiled egg.
5) High school(University High in west los angeles) Sloppy Joes, cant duplicate the recipe, must have been simple, tomato based, sweet sour. Anybody have the same experience? Recipe?
Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's. Mom usually did the cooking (and it was almost always the same thing every year) but most importantly, it was *at Grandma's* house.
Eating the well-soaked maraschino cherries from Grandma's (strong!) Manhattans.
Jujubes at the movies.
Making bread balls out of ultra-soft Wonder Bread.
Spending the first quarter spent at the first ice cream truck every Spring (usually a Creamsicle for me).
My first "grown-up" dinner out with my parents where I legally had a drink...a whiskey sour, if I remember correctly. I *think* the meal was fish of some sort. :-)
A wonderful molasses cookie with white icing and black stripes with molasses cookie "bumps" all around the outside that I'd eat off first, and then eat the rest of the cookie. Can't remember who made 'em; don't think they're made anymore.
Eating TV dinners in front of the TV while watching the annual showing of "The Wizard of Oz" (the only time we were allowed to eat in front of the TV every year).
re: Linda W.
"I also did the bread balls too. Glad to know I wasnt the only one who did that!"
Yeah, but did you slip them into your younger sister's milk glass? That was always fun to watch as they absorbed the milk and she found them. :-)
Peas in her milk made her go into paroxysms of high-pitched screaming fits. Those were the "Go to your rooms!" meals.
Oh - and *I* didn't do this, of course. Older brother did. :-)
re: Linda W.
My dad's hamburger steak; I realize now it was just a big bland meatloaf patted out thin and fried in a pan, but oh it was good.
Green Giant canned asparagus spears
Le Sueur (sp?) petit peas simmered in butter and milk (my dad again)
Crab rolls from the Holiday Inn buffet on Sunday
Dry Cheerios eaten out of the box (I still love those!)
Hershey's Butter Chip miniatures
Does anyone else remember an ice cream called Crazy Vanilla, with lots of different colored stripes and swirls? When you stirred it up, it turned gray, which was pretty cool for us kids who would then pretend we were monsters eating cement.
Oh, I forgot the best thing of all, my dad's piece de resistance, the best chocolate milkshake in the world. Pack a tall glass with vanilla ice cream, add Hershey's syrup to taste, pour in enough milk to fill up the spaces about halfway up the glass. Stir, stir, stir, and eat with an iced tea spoon. Nothing else compares.
Fried filet of sole at the local diner
romanian (skirt) steak with onion rings
my moms pork chops and potatoes in red wine sauce
stuffed derma (my sister and I used to fight over this)
Roy ROgers bacon cheeseburger and the fried chicken
shrimp scamp (still my fav)
coco puffs, golden grahams, cinammon toast crunch, fruity pebbles
salt & vinegar cheese
pizza rolls from school
The ones I can revisit:
Mom's tuna-noodle casserole - what all the food snobs love to hate, we had it because it was cheap and easy for an overworked mom to make. I thought we had it because it was so good. I introduced my wife to it, and she loves it too.
Mom's potato salad: 1 RUSSET potato to 1 HB egg to 1/4 onion, S&P to taste, Hellman's mayonnaise to bind. Period. The only way I've found to improve on it is to make the mayonnaise.
Cream of tomato soup (made with milk) and grilled cheese sandwich, after a morning out in the snow. Don't get much snow here in LA County, though...
Grandma Kuntz's oatmeal-date bars. The woman could not cook regular food worth a damn, but golly, could she bake. I'm still trying to get mine to come out as well.
Beyond recall: Grandma Owen's fried chicken. Cranky, self-absorbed woman, but a flawless country cook. Her recipe died with her, years before I got serious about cooking...though she'd probably have kept the recipe from me out of meanness. She certainly never gave it to her daughter. Oh, that chicken...
re: Will Owen
You make me laugh out loud!!! My "Nana" is just plain MEAN but she is a fantastic cook. Her recipes will definitely die with her and it is a shame. She made this sardine sauce with homemade macaroni for Christmas eve that was spectacular and unusual and palatable even for a calorie conscious teenager...
Braciole, baked chicken, homemade ravioli, bacala salad, stuffed calamari...could make me weep if she wasn't so damn mean!!!
I promise my mother is a wonderful cook... when it comes to Mexican Food, but she tried very hard to work in some variety into the meal...
* Chow Mein made with Ramen Noodles
* Frozen Salasbury Steaks from Banquet
* Pork Chops baked in a sauce made from Cream of Mushroom Soup
* Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies
* Fresh made Scones (Now these were EXCELLENT!!)
Ritz crackers with PB&J, after church watching "Shirley Temple Theatre"
Any soup and sandwich Soupy Sales was having
Broken up graham crackers and milk in a bowl (aka cracker mush in our family) on Sunday nights during Walt Disney
Exotic, delicious and rare --fried Taylor Ham, exported by relatives in NYC
Egg cream sodas in the Bronx with grandpa
Spearmint leaves candy at the movie matinee concession
Chiclets gum in the cool two pack vending machines in NYC subway
Anything from the Automat on visits to NYC
Fried clam roll at Howard Johnson's with candy cane ice cream for dessert--the ideal birthday/treat dinner
Eating the olives at the bottom of parent's martini glasses
Oreos dunked in milk after school
Dad's Sunday a.m. omlette/frittata
Fluffernutter sandiches on white bread
Stewarts rootbeer in a frosty mug with a hot dog
Campbells tomato soup with grilled cheese (with American slices of course)
Jersey Tomato sandwiches with Hellman's mayo on white bread
Saltines dipped in milky coffee
Chocolate Easter Bunnies
Horn & Hardarts whole wheat doughnuts (probably fried in lard)
Cream cheese and green pepper sandwiches
Cream cheese on raisin bread toast
Swansons chicken croquettes, turkey TV dinners, and chicken pot pies
I was a fairly picky eater as a child, so i did not get to enjoy all of my mother's dishes. But she did spoil me with her cooking at a very early age that no ther relative's cooking compared. Her family were Latvian and Hungarian Jews and she also learned to cook from my Greek paternal grnadmother. Though they were loathe to admit it my mother's greek topped all of the greek side. So most of my memories were of these two quisines.
Roast Chicken covered in paprika, oregano and other spices with Orzo, the orzo would cook in the chicken juices. Being a picky child the only parts of the chicken i liked were the gizzard, the skin, the neck and the wing. Those are actually still my favourite parts.
Tongue sandwiches for lunch on rye with mustard and mayo. Tongue is still my fav Jewish deli meat. In elementary school all of the other kids were grossed out except the Japanese kids who i would trade half a sandwich for their futomaki or dried anchovies.
My mother's spanikopita, tiropota and prasopita. Since the Greek side of my family were from the mountains these were all made with butter instead of olive oil, so much better.
Mussels soup. My mother would make this clear briny broth that only i would eat. yum.
The stage of making kourdembiedes when it is just butter, sugar and greek brandy. Oh man i wouuld love dipping my finger into that. As a matter of fact the first time i was left home alone i replicated this stage and ate a whole stick of butter with sugar and a little brandy.
Everything bagels with butter one side with smoked sable and the other with belly lox. God i still love this, cream cheese overpowers the fish in my opinion and the butter really goes well with both fatty fishes. Not only that but belly lox and sable are still underappreciated. Man i loved all of that Jewish appetizing, chopped liver, chopped herring, whitefish salad, chubs and pickled herring. Too bad it is so hard to find belly lox nowadays.
The list really goes on and on but here are some more that my mom made and i helped with
shrimp scampi, baked ziti, homemade tomato sauce, weiner schnitzel, skirt steak, english kippers.
A few more just old school nyc things: street pretzels when they were crunchy on the outside and warm and fluffy in the middle, bagels fresh out of the oven, old school greasy chinese egg rolls, lobster cantonese, greasy slices of pizza, egg creams, zeppoli.
Man i could go on and on.
spagetti with ketchup due to an illogical (and past) aversion to real tomato sauce.
crabs and old bay...at age 6... a pile of newspapers and a bushel of crabs and me (after having been chased by them on the linoleum)
potato chips dipped in Pepsi Light (lemon cola)
my second meringue cookie - the 3rd and any subsequent meringues make me terribly nauseous.
fresh (raw!) hamburger from the butcher, rolled into a teeny ball and dipped into lawry's seasoning salt (and fresh scallions or red onions too)
these peanut butter wafer cookies - not nutter butters - but wafer-y - no idea if they are made (but ahve bought vanilla wafer/waffle cookies and put peanut butter on them)
fresh smoked marlin from dad's catch.
Anything my Dad brought home on Friday nights from Ebinger's bakery but especially the chocolate squares.
Swanson's fried chicken TV dinners and the chicken pot pie, too.
The don't-cook-tonight-call-Chicken-Delight delivered to the door.
The Syrian food made by my downstairs neighbor.
Chef Boy-R-Dee canned meat raviloi
(You might have guessed by now that my mother was a terrible cook)
Mom's burnt mac and cheese (very tasty, that scorched Kraft American)
Hot fudge over vanilla ice cream with 'wet' nuts, whip cream and a cherry on top at the 'candy store next to the station'. Their egg creams, too eaten with a salty log pretzle.
Please stop me before I weep.
-slice of turkey sandwich meat, covered with cream cheese, wrapped around a pickle slice...I'm sure my mom was high when she came up with that one.
-my grandmother's Mandle Bread (sp?)
-Hagaan Daaz Coffee Ice Cream
-Mint Milanos from Pep. Farms
-Gefilte Fish (my goy boyfriend will never understand this one)
Good Humor ice cream bars with the solid chocolate in the middle - picture the surf, the sand of Coney Island and one of these things
bacon and maple syrup
Ma's mac and cheese
Ma's oven fried chicken
steak pizzaiola from the Grotto D'oro on Flatbush Avenue - had it once when I was 10, never forgot it
Aunt Shirley's tuna and cheese cassarole - another thing I had once only and can still remember the taste...I liked it
After leavng Gravios Mills MO on hwy 5 and smelling the Hickory Pit BBQ place. Pure heaven. Also, eating a frozen Polar Bear candy bar at the Overland Park Theater while watching Abbott and Costello movies and observing this old bitch that used to walk up and down the aisle shining her flashlight on kids making out!
Gawd, that was exciting!!!
My nonas spanakopita
skinny dips (mini breadsticks) you dip in chocolate
My mom used to make this spaghettie with milk, sugar and cinammon
My grandmas olive loafs
My dads stew
chef boyardee meat ravioli (ashamed to admit)
McD's french fries (and still are)
my dads soft scrambled egg and cheese. Yummy
To me, no memory from my childhood is more vivid than those that are related to food. So here is five foods that I remember with fondness from Indonesia.
FOODS OF MY CHILDHOOD
1. Martabak Telor
Sold only at the night markets on the streets of Semarang, by the flickering flame of a gas lantern, this pan fried snack starts out with a pliable dough. Expert hands then stretch and work the dough into a thin membrane as wide as a bed-sheet. It is slapped onto an oiled griddle and then a curry-seasoned mixture of minced meat (usually goat or beef), green onions, and beaten egg is spread thinly on top. The excess flaps of the dough sheet is quickly folded over and after a few minutes of cooking, this flat mass transforms into a crispy melange of goodness. It is then cut into rectangles, perfect for finger snacking. Not quite an omelette; not quite a pancake; not quite an egg roll; but exhibiting the characteristics of all three. You might have seen Tony Bourdain trying and loving a similar dish during the Singapore episode of A Cook's Tour.
2. Sate Gule Kambing
This is actually two dishes made from goat ("kambing"); one is a soup and the other is grilled. Eventhough both dishes are unique in and of themselves, these two distinct preparations are meant to be eaten together. Like "fish and chips", you simply cannot have one without the other. Unlike fish and chips though, the soup is the "yin" to the sate's "yang". The whole meal becomes a perfect balance of asymmetric flavors and textures. The soup, called gule (pronounced 'guh-lay'), is curry-based. Made from simmering the bones and fatty, gristly meat of the goat in a big pot, it is rich and unctuous. But the consistency is surprisingly thin, with a subtle creaminess coming from coconut milk. The sate (pronounced "sa-tay"), on the other hand, is simply prepared. To make it, the most tender pieces of the goat is cut and threaded onto bamboo skewers. Then the skewers are cooked quickly over a charcoal fire. As soon as they are done they get brushed with a glaze made from a mixture of kecap manis, lime juice, and white pepper. The two dishes are enjoyed in concert with hot rice. I alternate between tearing a chunk of meat from the sate with my teeth and then taking a sip of the hot soup.
3. Soto Ayam
This is probably my favorite Indonesian dish of all. The best version, in my opinion, comes from my hometown of Semarang. In a ramshackle structure built of spare aluminum siding and tattered fabric, the family that owns this street-side "warung" wakes up every morning before dawn preparing simmering vats of soto, a shredded chicken soup seasoned with turmeric and other spices. Order a bowl and you see them assemble your breakfast. Rice, bean thread noodles, celery leaves and diced green onion go in first. Then it is doused with the clear, hot soup, garnished with crumbled fried garlic and shallots. But no bowl of soto is complete without some sort of side dish. The most common one is perkedel, a deep-fried mashed potato fritter. My favorite side dish, though, is a bowl of stewed bloody-clams and boiled egg. The kecap manis it is steeped in imparts a deep, sweet flavor and a dark, brown color; the perfect accompaniment to the bright yellow of the soup.
4. Nasi Pecel
This dish I remember because I ate so much of it one day on a trip to Surabaya that I was literally rendered motionless with a food coma. My mother chided me for gorging myself to this state, but I didn't care. Heck, I ate the same amount the next day. How could I resist this salad of boiled kangkung (Chinese watercress), bean sprouts, and string beans, dressed in a peanut sauce that was spiked with chilis, tamed with coconut milk, and made addictive with other unknown spices. This dish harnesses the non-translateable Indonesian word "SEDAP!". The closest I can get to an English translation is "lip-smacking, mouth-watering, refreshing, and savory." And even that doesn't do it justice! And oh yeah, no plate of nasi pecel is complete without kripik kacang, a typical accompaniment; a thin sheet of fried crunchy batter dotted with peanuts.
5. Nasi Ayam
This dish holds a special place in my heart because I remember eating it outside my grandmother's porch in Semarang. The nasi ayam lady would come around with her wares dangled on a long stick slung over her shoulder. After taking a seat on a portable stool, she'd peel a single banana leaf, tuck one side over the other, making a cone. Inside this cone, she would scoop a little rice, pour on some opor ayam, which is a thick soup made with coconut milk and chicken, quarters of boiled egg, and stew of julienned chayote, tofu and chilis. Then I'd eat the dish with a "spoon" improvised from a strip of banana leaf, folded and creased into a rudimentary scoop.
my grandmother lived by a 'dandee' bakery (long out of business) so there was always a wonderful smell of bread baking in the morning...also, she made the most wonderful sweet potato pies: they were very very pale orange and light. i never watched here make them so her secret is gone along with her. i've tried in vane to duplicate them but no luck. i miss her so much.
Schweitzer bockwurst from a local butcher - a real springtime treat!
Fried razor clams that we dug ourselves.
Cold cracked Dungeness crab.
Fried smelt, netted during their spring run by Dad or a generous friend.
Fresh peas from our garden.
Pies made from blackberries that we kids picked in the pasture.
Salmon or occasionally sturgeon caught by a fisherman friend.
Mom's tuna fish sandwiches (nothing campared to them) and Campbells "Old Fashion Tomato Rice Soup" on a cold winter day (can't seem to find that soup very much anymore).
Licking the spoon from the cheese eggs my dad made on Sunday mornings... YUM!!!
Breyers Butter Almond ice cream and pistachio nuts on Friday nights after my parents went food shopping (can't seem to find that flavor anymore either).
Fettucine Alfredo at "El Prado's" Restaurant on special family nights out... They closed years ago from what I have been told.
No wonder I was a chubby kid :-)
I found Breyer's Butter Almond recently at the Quick Check in Raritan, NJ!!! I was thrilled as this was one of my favorites from childhood. As I remember, you got a 1/2 gallon of half chocolate and half butter almond. The one I found was pure butter almond. So good...sigh. I like Butter Almond better than Butter Pecan.
That gives me hope...I will keep my eye out...
If I recall correctly, we bought the big carton and it was only butter almond. I think I remember seeing the half and half but since I do not like chocolate, we always got the butter almond only... YUM!!!
BTW: I dislike butter pecan, but that is because I dislike pecans, and I (of course) always see butter pecan in the stores. Oh well..
I used to love Breyer's Butter Almond! I've never seen it in Southern California, only on the east coast.
Sadly, it's not made with butter and other good stuff anymore. So I doubt I'd like the current version. Unilever took over Breyer's, and turned it into cheap supermarket ice cream made with stabilizers/gum, non-wholesome flavorings (their vanilla doesn't have vanilla anymore), and worse. Yuck.
Our Sunday "breakfast," which was meatballs straight out of the bubbling pot of sauce on top of a slice of great Italian bread;
My mother's after school treats, especially her Boston Cream Pie;
Fudge which was sold as a snack at school;
Our yearly toast for New Year's which was an Angel Tip, cream di cacoa with heavy cream on the top;
My Nonna's Zuppa Englese for which she purchased a new pan each and every year;
Trips to the corner drug store to buy the wax "soda bottles" with the liquid inside and a flavored coke while sitting at the counter;
The corner Drug Store;
Home made raviolis;
Oh, I could go on and on and on.....thanks for the post; it was fun reliving the "good old times!"
My Aunt June's butterscotch cookies..a soft cake like cookie with butterscotch icing. They were wonderful.
My Mom's veggie soup. While I have had much better, nothing brings me back memories like making hers does.
My Grandmother's fried chicken. My Grandmother was not a nice woman but she could fry some chicken.
High's Peppermint ice cream. That was a daddy-daughter treat.
My Dad's fried egg sandwiches.
7-11 brand cream soda.
re: Janet from Richmond
I'm glad that I have something to remember my Grandma Owen by besides what a PITA she was. Her Thanksgiving dinners were sumptuous and splendid, marred only by her grousing about how everything had come out so much less than perfect. One TG my dad said, "Okay, mom, you're right - everything's lousy!" I believe the site is still radioactive...
Grandma Kuntz, a great baker and an utter sweetheart, could ruin a hot dog, and was even worse at doing vegetables, but Grandpa Kuntz was a brilliant cook. He was my chief inspiration and role model. Even our middle-aged profiles are remarkably similar ;-)
Fried chicken in lard, fresh biscuits, gravy and mashed potatoes, milk from the dairy cows or goats (he could drop a zig-zagging fly at 20 yards so an unexpecting 4 yo standing at his should was easy pickings), fried or baked hares, tomales, chili
Catfish, blueberries (and when I "became a man," Everclear.)
Spaghetti sauce, stir fry, stroganoff, macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, blueberry muffins, Christmas cookies, corned beef, trout
Chicken of any style, salmon, chili (different that granddad's), enchiladas, tamale pie, SOS, beef stew, smoked duck, fried fish, (NE) clam chowder
Things I was allowed to nosh but can't now:
Shasta grape soda (EWW! Nasty stuff!)
Marshmallow spread (see Shasta grape commentary)
Taco Bell tacos
McDonalds Big Macs
Red Barn burgers
White Castle sliders
Sour Kraut (I spent my entire childhood avoiding this side dish and learned why my parents loved it when I lived off on my own. Now I can't have it because it tears me in two... There just is no justice in the Universe!)
My grandmothers bread pudding- served warm with a lemon sauce. Coffee jello at my other nana's house- served with mild and sugar. Egg foo yung at 2 am when I was little- my dad used to wake me up after he and my mother came home from "saturday night date night." I would stumble into the kitchen, eat my egg foo yung, and right back to sleep! Trips to NH with a stop at the A & W drive carhop. Trips to the car hop at the howeard johnsons in drive . OTOH, I will say my first trips to MCDonalds were a disaster. This is going waaay back. The burgers were about 12 cents, and the fries around a dime. BUT they did not make special orders in less than ½ hour. One of my brothers ( there were 7 or us!) did not want pickles or ketchup on his burger- used to make my dad crazy!!
My childhood memories are:
corn on the cob
macaroni and cheese (my nana's)
shrimp and grits
biscuits and gravy
slaw on hotdogs
co-cola in a bottle
For some reason, mine are all tied to summers on Pawleys Island, SC. Throw the smell of Coppertone in there and I'm ten years old again.
A four-year-old me, riding on my grampa's shoulders while he mowed the lawn between the apple trees.
Sitting on the bathroom floor at the age of six, reading to my mother while she luxuriated in a bathtub full of bubbles.
The fabulous scents that hit me when walking into my grandparents' house while gramma was making dinner: breadcrumbs sauteeing in brown butter for the schliskes; bubbling homemade spaghetti sauce, in which a whole chicken was stewing... mixed with the perfume of my grandmother's Dentyne chewing gum, which she was never without.