Thursday, January 19, 2012

Food memories...

Food memories...everyone has at least one. Maybe it's your mom's potato salad that takes you back to 4th of July barbecues...your grandmother's coconut cake that makes you remember special birthdays...or maybe crepes make your mind go to Paris or beignets make you wish you were in the Big Easy?

For me, my strongest and most beloved food memory is steamed crabs. As soon as I open that shell and see the mustard, I'm back in my parents' backyard. We never ever went out to eat crabs...we really could barely afford them, so it was a real treat to have them. We sat out there for hours...watching the lightning bugs and telling the same funny old stories over and over and over. Rolling in laughter. We took turns picking for my dad...his MS didn't allow him to actually pick the crabs...but he did get to enjoy the meat. Real love is sharing your backfin, don't you think?

And the other big one - foodies will scoff but I don't care - is a cream cheese and olives sandwich. My fave comfort food to this day. It has to be on very soft, white bread. Big 'ol pimento stuffed queens sliced nice and thick and laid in a layer of cream cheese. Smoosh the bread a bit. Yum. That sandwich, that's my mom right there.

What are your food memories? Do tell...


  1. My favorite food memories involve three old-time Baltimore establishments that have (sadly) bit the dust. The first is the chopped salad at the old Greenspring Inn on Falls Road - my mom used to take me there after school was out for the summer and we ALWAYS had the chopped salad. I've tried to re-create it many times with no success. Second is the cold cut subs from Harley's Sub Shop on Allegheny Ave. in Towson: loaded with oil, vinegar and lots of onions - a Sunday night ritual at our house while we watched Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (now that dates me). Third is the tea room at the Hutzler's in Towson, where my best friend and I would get the awesome chicken salad sandwiches on cheese toast. Oh, and I forgot another: Silber's bakery: my fave was the buttercrunch cookies - the BEST!!! That place went under when they found a whole rat baked into one of the loaves of bread - oh well.......

  2. I like your olive sandwich - reminds me of my Mom's pickles and bologna sandwich (with mayo) for some reason. A "neighbor-lady" made those for her and her friends in the 1930s, and she made them for me.

    My food memories: the stuffed cabbages my uncle would make me every time I came home on a visit from college, my Mom's bobalky (salted, boiled bread fried with onions and cabbage), the apple pasties we made at Jamestown Settlement that are fried in lard, cheese herb pies and pork, apples, onions and sauerkraut slow-cooked in a "dutch" oven - all cooked in an open hearth setting at Jamestown.

    Also, my Italian neighbor's recipe from NJ, which became my Mom's Christmas tradition: Neopolitans - tri-color almond paste cake with apricot and raspberry fillings between the layers - coated in a thin layer of chocolate on top.

    I have a ton more - food makes me happy, which is why I read your blog!!

  3. I'm reading!

    In "Bird by Bird" Anne Lamott's book on writing, there is a whole chapter on school lunches because it seems that everyone can write enthusiastically about the weird things that their parents packed for their lunches and how their napkins were folded and whether they carried their lunch in some kind of bag or box, etc. etc.

    My mom hated to pack lunch, but when she did, she made one of three sandwiches and they were not PB&J or ham and cheese or tuna like everyone else had. When I opened the paper bag and unfolded the tin foil I found either cream cheese and olives {on wheat, my mom had a ferocious hatred of white bread}, a fluffernutter {bizarre because we never had dessert or sweets and how strange a substance is marshmallow fluff}, or a salami sandwich. I loved them all!

    Accompanying these odd sandwiches was a granny smith apple {which usually pushed up against the sandwich and left a meteoric crater in the bread} and a folded-in-half paper napkin. I would sigh longingly after my friends' Little Debbie Star Crunches or those skinny little boxes of salty pretzel sticks.

    But she was, and still is, a fabulous cook. And my sister and I ate everything and loved it all. Still do. We were just telling my niece about how our Greek grandfather used to visit from Pittsburgh and bring oil-cured black olives and feta cheese.

    Oh Amy, I can talk about food for hours!