What foods remind you of loved ones? I ask because a friend of mine found a really cool blog showing women around the world standing in font of the ingredients from their ‘signature’ dishes. It got me thinking. http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/05/08/gabriele_galimberti_delicatessen_with_love_looks_at_grandmothers_around.html
My Grandmother would wake up early and make us gooshey rolls. They were warm, delicious cinnamon rolls that filled the whole house with a tantalizing aroma. They were always gooshey in the middle because she didn’t cook them long enough…which was fine by me…to this day I like my treats a little gooshey in the center. Every once in awhile I get the urge to re-create her delicacy. I roll out dough, slap on some butter and proceed to throw cinnamon, sugar and brown sugar together until I think they are sweet enough. I slice the roll and bake them up being careful to pull them out about 3 minutes before I think they are done. I’ve never perfected by Grandmother’s gooshey roll recipe. It’s not written anywhere so I doubt I’ll ever be able to get it just right. I’ll keep trying. Just the effort makes me think of her in our kitchen with flour and sugar dusting the bright pink satin dressing gown. If I had to name a dish for my Nanny it would be her wafer thin Thanksgiving dressing. She mixes and mashes and spreads it all out on a cookie sheet. She’s always been obscenely patient and methodically so the thin squares have probably never been more then a millimeter off in the 80 something years she’s been making it. I am a stuffing girl myself and like to shake things up on Thanksgiving my concocting things with sausage and fruits, different kinds of bread and a variety of spices. Nanny’s dressing is part of my memories though. I hope she has shared with someone on how to make it.
Memories of food bring me to my Grandpa. My Grandpa was the cook. I have vivid memories of him sitting on a stool in the kitchen flipping frying chicken with one hand with his other hand perched atop a walking stick. The memory is so vivid that I have a hard time eating fried chicken anymore now that my Grandpa isn’t here to make it. He also made morning biscuits and gravy…. as I type this my mouth is watering…I didn’t like his sawmill gravy but his white gravy…wow. We would wake up at his house and be treated to grandpa’s special coffee in chipped coffee cups while we waited on breakfast. It was actually LOTS of sugar, a little milk and a dash of coffee but we didn’t know that. You’d finish your coffee and get biscuits and gravy and salty ham. YUM. Then there were his cakes. How I loved those fresh, moist pound cakes with crispy brown edges and pale centers. For your birthday he would roll a $10 bill in a medicine bottle and slip it into the center of the cake then ice the whole thing. I haven’t thought about those cakes in a long, long time.
My grandpa loved his bed-supper at dark thirty and his favorite treat was ice cream. In the summer that meant we all got scoops of ice cream from a plastic container with a red handle. I can picture it now. Sometimes it was Neapolitan so we all got the kind we liked; sometimes it was sherbet. We would line up at the freezer on the back porch and one by one we’d get our scoops. There were lots of us cousins. Once you had your ice cream you’d find a spot at the table. It was always a contest to see who could be patient enough to mash their ice cream into a smooth, frosty semi-liquid state. I could never make it. Grandpa was the champ. He’d mash and smoosh and get his just right. That might not seem like cooking but to this day I always aim to get my ice cream ‘just right’ the way Grandpa taught me. I still fail. It’s not just grandparents that invoke food memories…
My Tata makes chicken salad that makes my knees weak. She shared her recipe but I just don’t have her touch. She also used to make me a pie on my birthday—cheesecake like on the bottom with cheery pie filling on top. Makes me smile just thinking about it. My Dad’s stirring ability is pure art. Seriously—it’s poetry in motion. When he offers to make you hot chocolate or hot tea you are guaranteed a real treat. My Aunt Debbie is my grandpa made over when it comes to cooking. Warm banana pudding makes me think of her. The old fashioned kind with stiff peaks of foam from egg whites and a custardy, banana pudding on the bottom. And Aunt Debbie, being Aunt Debbie, always makes a small little bowl for Sandi without the bananas. My Uncle Bobby is a grill master and any get together with him is sure to involve some tantalizing meat treat. Flank steak. My mom marinates a flank steak and slices it thin. I want to go on record…if I ever need a last meal that’s what I want. My husband makes homemade pizza every Tuesday. Each one is unique and special and out of this world good. I look forward to Tuesday just to see what he comes up with. I hope we still have pizza night when we are old and gray and toothless.
Good memories and food go hand in hand!