I have a propensity to blog about food a bit more often than other topics. I guess that you are supposed to write what you know so it is likely that my mediocre ramblings about Christmas candy and bread bowls is as good as it will get. Sorry guys. I think, though, that another reason I use food as a topic is because, like smells, food has a way of being nostalgic. If you have read even just a few of my posts you probably know I am a perpetual kid so this kind of makes sense.
The best food related memories I have are not in the eating but in the preparing of food as a kid with my family. The worst memories are things like always forgetting to shake my Yoo-Hoo and feeling sad when I had gotten every last bit of cheese off the red handi-snack stick. I guess the emotional tie is as evident as ever in the term comfort food.
Preparing food always brought us together as a family. We didn’t eat out very often and even when we did, I didn’t consider a restaurant fancy unless I got to choose biscuits or cornbread. Most of the time mom would cook but when everyone pitched in, we made more than dinner. We made memories.
I like that I get to experience that with my family now and if I had to name our tradition it would be called pizza soup. You see, my wife’s family used to make pizza together, before we had kids we would make it together, and now it is a full blown 2 on 2 pizza competition. At the risk of some horrible pun, it is rather cheesy and like something you would expect to see on a poorly written sit-com. That doesn’t matter though, at the end of each competition when the pizzas go into the oven we split up the remaining sauce, cheese, and toppings into tiny ramikens and enjoy our amuse bouche of pizza soup. It isn’t really about the pizza or the dinner at all but about the laughter and the giggles and the occasional sauce smeared on daddy’s nose that make pizza soup totally sweet.
I Can Do That
I am a man. As a man, I am impressed by very little. Or at the very least, I can’t let on that I am impressed. This personality trait often bubbles to the surface in the kitchen. I like to think that I can handle my own in the kitchen and at times I cook pretty well. The problem is that sometimes I may talk a bit too big of a game. I am not one to brag but every time I start to make hamburger helper I expect Bobby Flay to walk in and ask if I am ready for a throw down. I like to cook and you can bank on the fact that anytime macaroni and cheese is made in our house, I will be eating the last 3 bites from the pot standing by the stove relishing in each lukewarm mouthful of salty regret.
Sometimes we watch cooking shows and I never shy away from saying that something doesn’t look that hard or that I could do it. I remember saying something similar once about a show on food trucks. The great part about making ridiculous assumptions about that kind of thing is that I will never actually try to start a food truck and as long as it looms in uncertainty I can claim victory. In actuality, if I started a food truck it would probably be known as that weird guy trying to sell peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of the trunk of his 97 Corolla.
I like to dream of being on a show like Top Chef and while I do have some background in restaurants and a few signature dishes, I think the reality might be something like this:
I proudly walk in with my Ron Popeil 6 star cutlery and wastes the first 3 minutes of the challenge arranging all of the knives in the butcher block that was a free gift because I ordered within the 20 minute window on the commercial. Not phased by the equipment the other chefs are using, I set out to the pantry wondering where they have hidden all of the box dinners. With time quickly ticking bye I overcome the panic, find my center, and go about my culinary business. At the judges table, I step up and trying not to stare at Padma Lackshmi I announce, “today I have prepared for you cheese 3 ways. grilled, toast, and mac’n. Bon appetit.”
So maybe I over sell myself a bit and hide in the safety that some of my claims will never be tested but you can’t blame a guy for dreaming. Who knows, maybe making that cinnamon toast with chili powder that one time really was a fluke and I am better at this than I think. I may make a serious pot of white chili but the hollow braggadocios claims of my kitchen prowess are totally weak.