Saturday, January 10, 2009
A Tasty Necessity
What's one of the most essential parts of life that links everyone in the world together? What's that common bond we as a species share no matter how far away we may be from each other? What's that thing we just absolutely cannot live without? Food. At the dinner table, in the car, at work, in an igloo, in a tent, on a mountain, in the desert no matter where we are, we've gotta eat.
My earliest memory of food is blurry and faint but what I do remember of it was orange, pureed and in a Gerber's jar. The sweet aroma of a bevy of home-made Middle Eastern pastries with their flaky layers and syrupy saturation always signified a celebration at my house. Freshly baked, moist to the touch pineapple cake with a rich cream frosting and strawberries sweetly lining the top was always the star of my childhood birthday parties. Every weeknight, my dinner plate was always stocked full of hearty meals mom made. Delicious rice was the base of many of her mouthwatering dishes. I would pile the buttery grain on my plate and layer it with tender meat that had been simmering for hours soaking up juices from the onions and garlic cloves or her famed savory okra stew with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth cubes of beef.
Weekends were my favorite because that’s when we would order in. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved mom’s fabulous and nutritional cuisine but what kid passes up a calorie dense banquet? Saturday mornings started out with a powder pink box awaiting me on the kitchen table and overflowing with a tooth-aching assortment of doughnuts—flawlessly glazed, jelly and custard filled, powdered, sprinkled, frittered, and my personal favorite, chocolate old-fashioned. It was a treat. I would park myself on the rug cross-legged and indulge as Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes entertained me. Then there was Saturday afternoon. My dad’s favorite place to get Mexican food was in the city. He would take us to this restaurant on the weekend more often than not. I can never think back on those memories without salivating. My favorite thing to order was the chicken burrito. The soft flour tortilla could barely contain the succulent ingredients, I could tell because remnants of the lumpy guacamole oozed through the bottom. Amid one bite filled with warm grilled chicken, soft rice, garden-fresh cilantro, firm tomatoes, crisp onions, jalapenos and sour cream, I was in heaven. I would forget all of my worries for the day and soak in my savory wonderland.
There were many pizza nights. The smell of the pizza topped with my beloved mushrooms, olives and bell peppers would fill the car on its way home from the pizzeria. I was a drooling mess until we arrived home and I was finally able to sink my teeth into cheesy goodness. Chinese food was a weekend favorite too. Each take-out box was a mystery. I would end up looking through about three boxes of vegetable laden chowmein, taste bud perplexing sweet and sour chicken and piquant Mongolian beef before I finally embarked on my beef and broccoli paradise. Oh, and the scrumptious fortune cookie, for without that I would’ve never had a mystifying destiny to ponder the rest of the weekend.
On this brief stroll down memory lane I know that I have had nothing but fond recollections of my experiences with food. I want to continue to keep these pleasant sensations alive and share them with you all by creating this forum where I can discuss (and you can discuss) all things food. Let the journey continue. Cheers!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr, veganyumyum.com