My childhood was full of many different types of food, for which I feel very fortunate. My family is Irish on one side and Italian on the other and we lived in blue-collar towns full of Irish and Italians and Polish and Germans. Everybody learned to make everyone else’s food, so my southern grandmother with the Irish husband could make corned beef, golumpki, and Spam salad* all in the same week. As a young woman, my mother had many Latino friends, so I grew up eating Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Mexican food. Two of the meals she had in regular rotation were chicken paprikash and picadillo. When I was 10 or 11 we moved in with my step-father and he introduced me to the wonderful world of Jewish food.
So I did have some fairly broad horizons when it came to food, but it was still the 70’s, which means as broad as my horizons were there were also an awful lot of gaps. That means it took only a bit of thought to come up with this week’s Ten On Tuesday.
10 Foods I Eat Regularly Now That Were Exotic (or unheard of) When I Was a Kid
- Sushi – I started eating sushi as a teen, but as a younger kid I not only hadn’t ever heard of it, but the idea of eating raw fish… I would have firmly placed it with fried worms as far as likelihood of it ever passing my lips.
- Thai food – Along with Ethiopian and Indian food, file Thai food under things I couldn’t even conceive of as a kid.
- Ethiopian food – Not something I’d say I eat regularly, but it’s a favorite.
- Brown rice – As a kid, rice was Uncle Ben’s, out of a box. Nothing existed except white rice.
- Bread other than Wonder – Bread came only in a plastic bag with colorful dots and its best quality was that you could squish a whole slice into a ball the size of a pea.
- Indian food – Another type of food I don’t eat regularly because Scott doesn’t like it, but I sure do love Indian.
- Craft beer – Not that I was drinking beer as a kid, but if I had been there was certainly no such thing as craft beer. Beer was Budweiser, Schlitz, and Shaefer.
- Real BBQ – Although my maternal grandmother was from the south, real BBQ wasn’t something we ate. Ever. Until I was an adult “bbq” meant grilling to me.
- Baja-style Mexican food – The Mexican food of my youth was heavy and full of sauces with little vegetable content. “Fresh Mex” was unheard of in New Jersey.
- Organic milk – Or organic anything, for that matter.
*Yes, Spam salad. It’s a monstrosity of a “salad” made with cubes of Spam and cheddar cheese, chickpeas, canned corn, and mayonnaise. It’s a true horror, but I still love it and writing about it makes me want to make some.
The beginning of a new year is, for many, a time to take stock and make note of changes one would like to make in one’s life. This is followed by strong resolutions meant to firm up one’s will and put those changes into effect forcefully. For me, however, resolutions like that are just a way to set myself up to fail. I’m sure there are people out there who can make resolutions and stick to them, ending the year with a feeling of accomplishment. I am not one of those people.
So instead, for 2011 I have a list of intentions. They’re not things I resolve to do, not promises I’m making to myself that I’ll feel like a liar and a failure if I don’t do them perfectly. It’s just a list of things I intend to do, one way or another.
- I don’t resolve to go on a diet, but I intend to eat a little healthier.
For me this involves three things: cut back on empty calories like sweets and booze, get more fresh fruits and veggies into my diet, and cook a little more while ordering out a little less. I still intend to drink, eat sweets, and order out, just maybe not as often.
- I don’t resolve to schedule and plan an exercise regimen, but I intend to move my body a little more.
Exercise plans are meant to be broken, but I want to be sure to get my ass up and moving more often than I have been. Maybe I’ll take a walk, or do some yoga, or workout with the Wii. It will be whatever I feel like at the time, and probably spontaneous. Making solemn vows to work out x amount of times per week for x minutes is not for me. I’d break that promise in the first week. Intending to move a little more, though, that I can handle.
- I don’t resolve to get to bed by a certain time every night, but I intend to get to bed a little earlier sometimes.
I’ve been on a kind of wacky sleep schedule for the past few months. That probably won’t change completely, but I do intend to start going to bed a little earlier now and then. Even one night a week would be a big improvement.
So there it is: my 2011 intentions. No lofty resolutions I can use to disappoint myself, just a list of modest proposals I’m making to myself.
I forgot all about these puffs until just now. I remember making them for Mabon a few years ago, and they were delicious. Some just commented on a photo of that Mabon dinner on Flickr, which reminded me of these puffs. I had to immediately dig out the recipe. These may be on the docket for this weekend.
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped apples
2 tsp. baking powder
Beat eggs well, add milk. Add flour, sifted with baking powder and salt. Add cheese and apples; mix well. Drop by spoonfuls into hot deep oil at 375 degrees. Fry until golden brown. If desired, apples may be omitted and puffs served with applesauce. Makes 24 small fritters.
Down but not out. I will catch up, yes I will.
This photo is sort of an embarassment to me, because the comment I get from the most from friends about my photos is some variation of “wow! your food shots are great!”
This is not one of those great food shots. It is, in fact, a very crappy photo of an amazing piece of steak. A good testament to its amazingness is that I didn’t even think to get any photos of it until I was nearly done. So don’t let this photo fool you: this was one of the most amazing steaks I’ve ever eaten.
When we got to Lyons, we stopped at a tiny little grocery store to get some food for the cottage. The main reason we stopped, aside from this place being the only option as we later found out, was the hand-lettered sign outside that said “Colorado Beef.” What you see here is the remains of an almost 2-inch thick rib steak, hand-cut in store a few hours before we purchased it.
Barbara cooked them on the grill until they were browned on the outside and bloody on the inside. I made a really simple tomato and cucumber salad to go on the side, and we dug in. This was an incredible meal, and I get hungry even looking at this terrible photo. The steak was flavorful and delicious and juicy and wonderful.
J is, indeed, for Juicy.