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" 'Hey what makes you happy? What do you like to eat?' " + What do you like to cook?


umsami
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What a lovely question!

I think, my favorite memories of food as a child come from 5am.  Every day before school, my mom would get up early and make something for our lunches: donuts, homemade chips, brownies, cookies...waking up to the smell of chocolate or sweet spices was always a great way to start our day.

From adulthood....hmmm....dh and I tend to eat more adventurously than I did as a kid.  I think my favorite things are the meals we all cook together.  Today we're barbecuing: mango habenero chicken, grilled pineapple brushed with orange juice, green salad, corn on the cob.  Everyone will have their own part to work on and we'll work side by side.  I love that food is a great part of our lives.

We don't have a whole lot of traditions, though my teen informed me of a few I never thought about.  Wednesday is nacho day in our house.  It started as a way to use up the random ingredients left over from Taco Tuesday - I'd make a cheese sauce and mash some black beans to round it all out.  And everything Thanksgiving is a different food.  We gave up doing the whole turkey thing when location and family needs dictated differently and started doing local foods/something we enjoyed instead. 

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I have a lot of memories related to food, but one stands out.

My mother grew up during the depression and went through periods of poverty and being on welfare.  She was always frugal with everything but for sure with food.  My memories of her cooking when I was a kid are of pretty basic, cheap food.  

But in the last years of her life she became an adventurous eater.  I remember the last meal we took her out to.  It was an Indian lunch buffet.  I don't think she had ever had Indian food before and she loved it. She was so excited to try all the things, and kept going back to get more.  Always taking tiny tastes, of course, because she would not want to waste anything. I remember one sauce she kept getting, and her saying "I just can't stop eating this, it's so good!"  It was such fun to see her really enjoying a meal, maybe it was the first time I'd ever seen her really loving the food she was eating.  The people who ran the restaurant were delighted by her enthusiasm too. 

Well, we never had a chance to go back because she died soon after.  (BTW she was 85, had congestive heart failure, so it was not unexpected.)  

Best food memory ever. 

Thanks for starting the thread.  I think we can use a light-hearted thread right now!

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childhood - eating strawberries at the u-pick em place and then having strawberry shortcake for dinner that night!

Adult- fresh tomatoes drizzeled with olive oil and sea salt while sitting outside in an Italian hilltown. I had not really liked tomatoes before this. 

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I grew up in New Orleans and my grandmother (paternal) made the best jambalaya. My mom wasn't much of a cook. She didn't pick up the cooking gene from her mom.

My comfort food is potatoes, especially mashed served with freshly baked bread. 

We have no family traditions. DH and I just didn't pick them up and carry them into adulthood, like Sunday lunch. Both our grandmothers always made a formal Sunday lunch and all the family would get together to share the meal. 

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2 hours ago, umsami said:

Thought I'd pose the question in honor of Anthony Bourdain.

What are your favorite food memories from childhood?

Adulthood?

What are your family food traditions? 

Favorite childhood food memory: Spam and canned potato casserole (with cheese powder from mac and cheese boxes) cooked in a small camper oven while the weather was rainy and chilly, so the windows all fogged up.  After typing that, I had to google his take on Spam, and now I feel somewhat validated.

Adulthood: An entire Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen people made in 2 hotel rooms.  (Okay, I cheated by cooking and carving a giant turkey in advance.)

Our family food tradition is basically just to be gluttons on any and all holidays.  We'll make up one if we have to.

 

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There are certain foods that are very strongly tied in my mind to memories of my father, who died 30 years ago:  tootsie rolls, pork chops with rice, pecan pie, cinnamon toast made in the oven, fried chicken.  

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Favorite childhood food memories:  Fresh watermelons from Sandtown (in Indiana).  Shucking corn and keeping the ice and salt going in the ice cream maker on the Fourth of July.  The way instant oatmeal tasted so much better in my grandparents’ dishes and with the water out of the hot water dispenser.  A peanut butter and jelly sandwich after a morning spent in the pool.  Getting eggs from the chickens or fresh veggies from the garden at the babysitter’s house.

Adulthood:  Sadly I have an alphabet soup of GI issues and food is rarely associated with happy memories anymore.  Although I still love the smell of pork steak on the grill.  Makes me happy.

Traditions:  Don’t really have any.

Favorite thing to cook:  I love cooking, especially when my gut cooperated.  I think my favorite thing is when we grill burgers for lunch. DH and some of the kids are outside working on the grill, I have a kid inside helping me get all the condiments and sides out. It’s sunny and warm and happy and there are so many good smells and comforts.  We can cook for us or for a crowd.  It’s just fun.

And there’s absolutely satisfaction in baking a perfect cheesecake.

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3 hours ago, umsami said:

What are your favorite food memories from childhood?

Cooking alongside my mother. She needed to teach me how to cook because as a single mom with no skills or education she worked long hours as a waitress (often double shifts) and I had to feed my brother and myself. It was a survival thing for us but I'm thankful because now I'm a pretty good cook. I can say that without bragging because everyone I've ever cooked for likes my cooking. Many have requested recipes but most of what I make doesn't have an actual recipe. ? 

3 hours ago, umsami said:

Adulthood?

Hmmm. Dh's famous grilled salmon. Huge family gatherings where everyone brings something. Hosting Thanksgiving for the first 15 years of our marriage (dss asked to take over after his oldest was born, so we turned the tradition over to him and ddil).

3 hours ago, umsami said:

What are your family food traditions? 

We don't have many food traditions other than holiday meals. Ravioli and meatballs was my family's Christmas dinner tradition. Dh's family always had hoppin' john on New Year's Day. I've learned to cook some of the southern food he grew up on, as well as the Cuban food his mother learned to cook when she lived in Key West in pre-Castro days. (Apparently it was common for Cubans and Americans to go back and forth often and she had a number of Cuban friends). He in turn, learned to love the Italian-American food I grew up on. 

One tradition we both brought to the marriage is that on your birthday you get to choose what you have for dinner. We passed that on to dss and ds. Dss is passing it on to the grandkids.

3 hours ago, umsami said:

What do you like to cook?  

Nearly anything but I prefer cooking meals to making desserts. I feed people. It's my superpower and I love it. Also, it's in my Italian blood. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat! Eat!) ? 

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4 hours ago, marbel said:

I have a lot of memories related to food, but one stands out.

My mother grew up during the depression and went through periods of poverty and being on welfare.  She was always frugal with everything but for sure with food.  My memories of her cooking when I was a kid are of pretty basic, cheap food.  

But in the last years of her life she became an adventurous eater.  I remember the last meal we took her out to.  It was an Indian lunch buffet.  I don't think she had ever had Indian food before and she loved it. She was so excited to try all the things, and kept going back to get more.  Always taking tiny tastes, of course, because she would not want to waste anything. I remember one sauce she kept getting, and her saying "I just can't stop eating this, it's so good!"  It was such fun to see her really enjoying a meal, maybe it was the first time I'd ever seen her really loving the food she was eating.  The people who ran the restaurant were delighted by her enthusiasm too. 

Well, we never had a chance to go back because she died soon after.  (BTW she was 85, had congestive heart failure, so it was not unexpected.)  

Best food memory ever. 

Thanks for starting the thread.  I think we can use a light-hearted thread right now!

I LOVE this memory!!

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Childhood food memories: My Mom is a horrible cook (but good at reservations)...but when we were sick, she'd make me "egg stew"....which was a soft boiled egg with pieces of buttered toast put in it.  She would also make bologna, butter, and mustard sandwiches on white bread....and she'd cut off the crusts and cut it into triangles.   

My Dad would make PB&J sandwiches for us... but he'd butter both breads first....so it was very indulgent.  Same with bagels with cream cheese.... he'd butter the bagels before adding cream cheese.

Our housekeeper/adopted grandma was the good cook....and she would make fudge using Hershey's cocoa powder, sugar, butter, water, and vanilla.... as well as cocktail meatballs that were cooked in the crock pot with (I think) chili sauce and grape jelly.  Not sure, as when I made it as an adult, it was never as good.

I've become more adventurous as an adult...but I wish I could be like Anthony Bourdain or those people who can just eat/try anything.  I remember the dinner I went to with my husband when we got engaged mainly because of the waiter.  This was in New Brunswick (NJ)...and the waiter would take our dishes hold them at his face level and slowly lower each one in front of us.  It was hilarious.   I also think of my first Thanksgiving I ever cooked by myself (turned out)... as well as the incredible breakfast buffets when we went to Saudi Arabia.  Think of Las Vegas...only on steroids.  They had expert Indian chefs doing Indian food... Middle Eastern foods... American foods.  They had a pancake and waffle bar with maple syrup, a giant bowl of nutella, berries, etc.   We had our own private dining room (normal for families) and waiter.... and the guy knew our names and our favorite drinks after the first day.  It was the most indulgent experience of my life.  

I am a good cook when a recipe is involved... I'm not the best when I have to make it up myself.  I still love cooking Thanksgiving.... and I've become good at Middle Eastern dishes.  I want to become good at baking bread.  I'm good at baking in general/desserts, but haven't spent much time with yeast. 

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12 hours ago, umsami said:

Thought I'd pose the question in honor of Anthony Bourdain.

What are your favorite food memories from childhood?

Adulthood?

What are your family food traditions? 

What do you like to cook?  

 

My birthday is in July and strawberries would be abundant and cheap so my parents always served strawberry shortcake for my birthday cake, which I love.  Also, my mom used to make us so many PB cookies because all of the ingredients came with our government commodities.  We received commodities more often than not until I was in late elementary school.  I remember I used to want chocolate chip instead and I probably wasn’t always the nicest about it.  But they were great cookies and I wish I could thank my mom for making them.  

My favorite adult food memory is my husband teaching himself to make bagels and surprising me on morning before we were married.  

Sunday meals were important in my family.  Like a mini-Thanksgiving.  Even if we didn’t have a lot, my parents always made a special effort on Sundays.  I think it was a habit that helped break up the monotony that forms with eating a lot of the same cheap foods over and over.  I haven’t experienced food insecurity as an adult and my sons don’t know what it’s like but I still follow my family tradition of putting a little more effort into Sunday dinners.  

I love to cook.  I am more of a cook than a baker EXCEPT for my love of making pies.

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12 hours ago, umsami said:

 

Favorite food memories from childhood would probably be the boxed spaghetti or LaChoy dinners my mom would make. She 's made most things out of a can but it was still special.

Best meal ever was probably Chilean Sea Bass. It was so sweet it just melted in my mouth.

Food traditions is probably when we make Christmas cut-out cookies and decorate them together with tons of frosting and sprinkles.

I cook all the time and work in a bakery but my favorite thing to make is probably cookies. Everyone loves it when I make cookies.

 

 

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Oh this is fun! 

Favorite childhood food memory - dinner at the beach. We would spend every day from the day school got out until we started back to school at the beach. including some rainy days- we would wait in the big beach house for the rain to stop. A few times a month, we'd stay and eat dinner on the beach. Sometimes it would be simple and we'd have pizza delivered and roast marshmallows. Other times we'd have a big beach potluck or someone would run out for lobster rolls. There would always be a fire in the firepit and we'd chase fireflies and run around until we fell asleep. Awesome memories. 

Adulthood - I think my most fun adult food memory was when we accidentally ordered way too much sushi. Like, such a ridiculous amount that the waiter triple checked. I was with some friends and we totally miscalculated the order. They started bringing out the big sushi boat to our table and we groaned, thinking we had ordered too much. Then we were informed that there were 2 more giant boats coming out! We were too embarrassed to admit we ordered too much, so we hunkered in and ate until we couldn't eat anymore. And kept eating. I never go out to sushi now without thinking of that night. It was hilarious and embarrassing (and delicious). I don't think any of us were able to eat sushi for like 6 months after that night. 

Family food traditions. Hmm, I don't remember a ton - we would always do an extra Thanksgiving with extended family in the summer. My aunt and uncle would almost always have exchange students in the summer, so we were all dragged to their house to eat a huge Thanksgiving feast on what would be the hottest day of the summer. I'm sure there are more, but I'm drawing a blank right now!

I love to cook almost anything. I get on kicks. One summer, I tried to perfect the lemon square. A couple of years ago I worked on perfecting the summer roll. Sushi, middle eastern food, fun salads, baking, I like all sorts of cooking!

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Childhood: eating entire meals from our garden, blt sandwiches for dinner, mayonnaise and lettuce sandwiches, grape Kool aid, wine with 7up on birthdays, my dad's soup on Sundays in the winter

Adult: cooking together on holidays, cooking with dd most days, our csa box, holidays (see below)

Holidays: scones on Christmas morning, steak and tofurkey and homemade cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, Star Wars food on May the 4th, hoppin John on New year's, Superbowl snacks, mushroom soup on Hobbit day, soup and hot cider on Halloween

I like to cook vegan food!

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I had a grandpa who used to let me think he grew strawberries for me. Now I'm grown up, I realise he probably grew them for himself, but it was nice of him to indulge my ego-centricity. When my grandmother met him, he was a refugee sitting on a pipe swinging his legs because he was supposed to be planting tomato seedlings and didn't know how. Now, if we remember anything at all about Grandpa, it was his veggie garden, especially the tomatoes. ?

I'm painting someone else's food memory at the moment. A friend was telling me about their family history of cooking and a picture came into my head. I hope I can do it justice. I also hope I don't end up too embarrassed to show it, coz what will I do with a picture of someone else's memory? ?

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My favorite food memories from childhood center around my grandparents and visiting their house.  Big farm breakfasts with the whole family.  I still feel that pork chops are best with eggs, biscuits and gravy.  This meal still brings me great comfort although I rarely eat it.  I only really enjoy it when at my uncle's house, whose house now stands exactly where my grandparent's house stood.  Also, chicken and dumplings remain a comfort food for me to this day and have become the favorite of dd14. 

Also, I have good memories of my mother's fudge.  She makes the best fudge ever.  My dd14 recently spent time with her to learn how to make it and wrote the recipe down.  She also wrote a sociology paper on the fudge and the family traditions that went with it.  

I generally only like to cook when we are entertaining people.  I am always in such a rut and have picky kids so it sucks the joy out of it.  It's more fun when I get to try new things.  Otherwise, it is mostly just drudgery.  

 

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It's just been in recent years that I've realized how much food can bring people together, so I love this question!

Childhood:  Sunday afternoons.  Sundays were family days, and were the one day that we had dinner (the big meal) in the afternoon instead of evening and ate in the dining room instead of the kitchen.  My father would throw together a cocktail for himself and my mother while the roast was cooking, and let each of us kids pick out a record album that we'd play in the background during dinner.  We'd play a board game until dinner was ready, and then would have a long sit-down meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and either peas, corn, or green beans (the only veggies my father would eat).  That was in the 60's and into the 70's.

Adult:  Coffee and dessert with my husband and kids.  Whether we're home or on the road, we always stop what we're doing at some point during the day and have coffee together, with some little sweet on the side (it might just be a shared cookie -- the coffee is far more important!).

Traditions:  Every Sunday evening (at least when kids are home) we have popcorn, cheese slices and apples while watching a movie.  ?

What do I like to cook?  I didn't enjoy cooking (or even eating that much) until maybe five years ago, so I wasn't very good at it!  Now I can make something good (and actually enjoy making it!) but only if I follow an exact recipe, with the exception of soup.  I'm pretty good at throwing together whatever is in the fridge and making an edible, tasty soup out of it!

 

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One favorite childhood memory is getting Bible sandwiches from the local health food store and then driving a few minutes to a creek to eat them.  That was the Bible sandwich spot until my mom found either syringes or condoms.  The store called them Bible sandwiches and they were whole wheat flatbread filled with sprouts, sunflower seeds, mayo with Spike, mozzarella, cabbage, tomatoes, and avocado. The Spike is essential.  

There are too many adult food memories, some delicious and some just memorable.  Some of the best memories come later, when I cook something that reminds me of another country.  Plov in Bishkek, torta ahogadas in Guadalajara, shivit oshi in Khiva, pancit in Riyadh, koshari in Cairo, hummus in Gaza, börek in Istanbul, spätzle in Mannheim.

It’s hard for us to have consistent food traditions because I don’t always have access to the ingredients I need, so we have trends in certain places.  But I do always try to make tamales for Dia de Muertos and Christmas, laghman for Nooruz, empanadas for Holy Week, Welsh cakes for Samhain, tortas ahogadas on Guadalajara Day, and qatayef during Ramadan. 

I like to cook lots of things, but my favorite is to figure out how to cook in a new place with the ingredients I have available.

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56 minutes ago, Amira said:

One favorite childhood memory is getting Bible sandwiches from the local health food store and then driving a few minutes to a creek to eat them.  That was the Bible sandwich spot until my mom found either syringes or condoms.  The store called them Bible sandwiches and they were whole wheat flatbread filled with sprouts, sunflower seeds, mayo with Spike, mozzarella, cabbage, tomatoes, and avocado. The Spike is essential.  

There are too many adult food memories, some delicious and some just memorable.  Some of the best memories come later, when I cook something that reminds me of another country.  Plov in Bishkek, torta ahogadas in Guadalajara, shivit oshi in Khiva, pancit in Riyadh, koshari in Cairo, hummus in Gaza, börek in Istanbul, spätzle in Mannheim.

It’s hard for us to have consistent food traditions because I don’t always have access to the ingredients I need, so we have trends in certain places.  But I do always try to  make tamales for Dia de Muertos and Christmas, laghman for Nooruz, empanadas for Holy Week, Welsh cakes for Samhain, tortas ahogadas on Guadalajara Day, and qatayef during Ramadan.

I like to cook lots of things, but my favorite is to figure out how to cook in a new place with the ingredients I have available.

The Bible sandwiches sound good.  They remind me of this health food restaurant we used to go to in the early 80s.  They had the most amazing bread.  

So....help.....my qatayef almost always fall apart in the oil when frying them.  What am I doing wrong????   (For those wondering, Qateyef are kind of like a turnover.  It's like a pancake dough made with yeast..and you only cook them on one side.  Then you put the filling it (we use walnuts with cinnamon/sugar), crimp it together kind of like a half-moon....fry....and being Middle-Eastern....dip it in cold sugar syrup.  (Always do the opposite cold pastry/hot syrup or vice-versa.    My qatayef often explode int he oil. ) 

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31 minutes ago, umsami said:

The Bible sandwiches sound good.  They remind me of this health food restaurant we used to go to in the early 80s.  They had the most amazing bread.  

So....help.....my qatayef almost always fall apart in the oil when frying them.  What am I doing wrong????   (For those wondering, Qateyef are kind of like a turnover.  It's like a pancake dough made with yeast..and you only cook them on one side.  Then you put the filling it (we use walnuts with cinnamon/sugar), crimp it together kind of like a half-moon....fry....and being Middle-Eastern....dip it in cold sugar syrup.  (Always do the opposite cold pastry/hot syrup or vice-versa.    My qatayef often explode int he oil. ) 

I’m not any help because I make them the way I first had them in Jerusalem 20 years ago.  I just cook them, then let everyone fill them with their choice of filling since everyone has different ideas about them.  I don’t fry them so there are no explosions and I skip the syrup. This recipe is close to what I do. https://amiraspantry.com/qatayef-asafiri-ashta/

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