Monday, June 13, 2011

Food Dreams - Disclaimer: Do Not Read on an Empty Stomach

Have you ever had a meal that was so good you couldn't stop thinking about it...for years? That when you remember it, makes you close your eyes and smile and salivate for those exact delicious morsels? I have a few of those, one of which I'm hoping to relive next week. Last year when the kids and I visited Chris's aunt in Roger's City, his uncle prepared for us the most delectable dinner of freshly caught fried perch. I don't eat fish...ever. I almost didn't have any, but it was so nice that he made a special trip and went to a lot of trouble to make this dinner for us, so I thought I better try one piece just not to seem rude. And ohmygoodness it was positively dreamy. Just the right amount of breading, just the right amount of crunch, not greasy at all, melt-in-your mouth and not fishy tasting at all. I had a second helping. And a third. As embarrassing as this is, I might have even had a fourth (!). Next week the kids and I are heading back to Roger's City, and a special request has been passed on to Uncle Leo to make his perch again. I hope my memories don't exceed reality.

Years ago, at least 10 or 11 because it was before we had kids, Chris and I were visiting a different uncle of his at his cottage up north. We were treated to the most amazing breakfast extravaganza I have ever experienced. I don't even remember the details. Uncle Mike kept bringing dish after dish out of the kitchen; there was so much food and every dish he brought out was more delicious than the last. Homemade everything. We just ate and ate and I never wanted it to end. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and this particular meal surpassed every other breakfast of my life. Every time I see Uncle Mike I have to remind him of how that meal changed my life.

A few years ago, Chris and I took the kids to Niagara Falls. One night Chris walked over to a Chinese restaurant across the street from our hotel to get a carry-out for the two of us. I don't remember why the kids didn't eat it - they had probably already eaten something else earlier. And once again I can't even remember what I ate, just that it was chicken and it was fried and doughy and it was like no other Chinese food I have ever had the pleasure of devouring. At least once every few months I subtly hint to Chris that maybe we could just take a quick drive to Niagara Falls to get some Chinese food. I'm thinking about it right now. I haven't had dinner. Oh boy.

There are other foods too, not really meals but various things I have eaten that I wish I could go back in time and eat again. Things like...
  • My mom's chocolate chip cookies. She doesn't eat sugar anymore and hasn't made these in years. I remember how she used to cut open paper grocery bags and lay them on the table to put the cookies on when they came off the baking sheet. Somehow I don't think my chocolate chip cookies are ever as good as those were.
  • My grandma's French Canadian family recipe for dressing. It was so good, and the one and only time we cooked Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago I tried to get the recipe but no one in my family had it. So sad. It was different from any other stuffing I've ever had.
  • My Aunt Char used to host Easter at her house every year, and every year I anticipated her rainbow Jello, potato salad, and macaroni salad. I could maybe still convince her to make one of these for me (she made the macaroni salad for Bethany's 1st birthday-Bethany will be 10 this summer), but we just don't have family gatherings like we used to, so I can no longer look forward to eating her signature dishes on an annual basis.
  • In high school, I used to babysit quite a bit for a little girl in our neighborhood, and her mom made The Best spaghetti sauce ever. I was not a huge fan of tomato sauces when I was younger (they've grown on me somewhat, although I still scrape the sauce from my pizza), but hers was perfect. It had just the right touch of sweet, and somehow it didn't taste too tomato-y at all. I was always so happy when I showed up to babysit and there was leftover pasta in the fridge. 
  • Fried ice cream from Chi-Chi's. Does Chi's Chi's still exist anymore, anywhere??
  • Does anyone else recall the candy phenomenon that was Chewy Chalk? It was this chewy candy (maybe sort of red licorice?) that was shaped like chalk and had a white candy coating on it. The last time I had it was probably somewhere around the neighborhood of 1989, but I have never forgotten it.
What about you? Do you have fond food memories you wish you could re-live?

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