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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grandmothers: Still Relevant!

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 1:55 PM

For a chance to win Taste of the Nation tickets, I asked Blogtownies to send in their favorite childhood food memories. Many of these memories centered on brilliant childhood concoctions, like this one from Blogtownie Ari Douangpanya:

Being a latchkey kid, I had to fend for myself after school. Rummaging through the fridge one day, I came up with this culinary delight: melted American cheese on carrot sticks with Taco Bell hot sauce. At least I ate a vegetable.

Now I know what I’m eating for lunch today! Because, the fact is, yesterday I ate what a young Zach Spier considered a delicacy:

My best childhood memories involve my earliest experiments with cooking... for example, when I was seven or eight, my favorite snack was a hot piece of toast slathered with butter and topped with an arbitrary mix of herbs and spices from my mother's well-stocked cabinet.

Zach goes on to say that the experimentation with herbs has led to adult culinary adventures like the porkgasm:

pork16-thumb-600x450.jpg

Yes, that’s all pork. Hit his blog to see the miracle of its birth.

While Zach seems to enjoy playing with his food as an adult, Todd Jeziersk enjoyed it more as a mischievous kid:

One of evening, while my parents’ were out of town, my older brother and I got bored and decided to take the pack of 50 slices of Kraft Singles American cheese, dip them in milk, make them into balls and throw them up to stick to our kitchen ceiling. My parents came home, mid-toss, to their ceiling covered in sticky balls of milky cheese. Years later when we moved, you could still see faint grease stains on the kitchen ceiling from this.

I have similar grease stains on my ceiling. Except, I was using Gouda and heavy whipping cream for extra adherence. Also, I was drunk. And when I’m drunk, there’s nothing better than throwing cheese balls at the ceiling, aside from slurping up massive amounts of escargot. It’s unlikely a 7 year old Ralph Gabrielli was drinking when he started his escargot binge, but how the hell would I know?

I had 2 orders of the regular garlic and butter, then a cream-based version, paced myself, tried another mustard-based order and then finished with another garlic and butter.

No cake, thank you. Don't want to get car sick.

I imagine Ralph’s parents were… Umm… Progressive. And parents played into a few Blogtownie memories. Melissa Chapman recalled this:

I too come from the land of suburban bland-tounged dinners. But there was one thing that my parents never fucked around about: cereal. I can remember Dad building towers of almonds, berries (dried, from a bag of course), raisin and banana topped bran flakes: all showered in a bath of 2% Mayfield milk (a Georgia delight, really).

Logan Becker’s dad was a bit less healthy in his splurge:

We ate very healthily as kids but every weekend, as soon as we left my mother’s sight, my dad would take us to the mini-mart and load up on all the forbidden “fruits:” Squeez-Its, donuts, and most importantly, Mother’s Circus Animals, which we mourned as a family last year.

However, of all the family related food memories, I was pleased to find that grandmothers are still doing one of their most important jobs: molding the palates of their children’s brood.

Blogtownie Nathalie sent in this yummy recollection:

Grandma's was abundant with jars of tootsie rolls and chocolates, cupboards filled with Little Debbie cakes and at least three kinds of ice cream in the freezer. But the best snacks were the carrots, pulled with grandma’s hands fresh from the hot summer garden and dunked in cool ranch dressing.

Carrots trump Little Debbie cakes? That grandmother deserves a medal. But the grandmother who deserves the real prize is Dennis Carey’s. His remembrance of an Italian Christmas feast made me both hungry and oh-so-jealous. It also won him two tickets to Taste of the Nation:

Grandma’s Italian Feast of Seven Fishes was magical. Grandma has some mean chops in the Italian department, and childhood Christmas Eves were always at her cramped apartment, packed tight with family and towers of fresh fish. Screw the visions of sugarplums; I dreamt of fried squid and baccalà.

Congratulations, Dennis, and thanks to everyone who sent in their memories (too many to quote here), lets hope that someday every kid will be able to have memories of food as rich and abundant as ours. I believe it can happen, and purchasing a ticket to Taste of the Nation can certainly help.

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