A little guest blog, from mi mama...
Thinking about food always triggers nostalgic memories for me, of hanging around my mom as she prepared meals in our big country style kitchen. Mom seemed to spend most of her time there, it seemed to me, and I loved eating raw slices of whatever she was cooking; potatoes, beans, peas, carrots. I think I preferred the taste of raw vegetables long before I liked anything cooked. One of my favorite sandwiches has always been an open faced radish sandwich (radishes fresh from the garden, of course) on freshly baked white bread, spread with butter and sprinkled with salt. My mother would pack this sandwich for me to take to Bible Camp, and my friends all thought I was weird.
I grew up with 3 older brothers in a house with no television, so mealtime was always noisy family time, and I loved it. Most of our meals included fresh vegetables grown in our garden, and then canned to be eaten in the winter. We also picked wild fruits, vegetables and nuts, including asparagus growing wild in ditches just outside of our small town. My mom would sometimes serve creamed beef and asparagus on toast for dinner (I mostly just wanted the cream sauce on toast without the meat or vegetables, but I always loved picking the asparagus). Sundays were either fried chicken or fried pheasant during pheasant hunting season. I was not a fan. I have learned that wild bird can't be cooked the same as domestic fowl. The only pieces of the chicken I liked as a little girl were the heart and the gizzard, and my brother made me share those with him. I think I was undernourished as a child. Do you know how big half a chicken heart is?
In college I had a boyfriend who grew up in an Italian suburb of Chicago where his father owned an Italian bakery. I had never eaten bread that tasted so wonderful! His family ate very differently than the basic meat and potatoes of my family, and I began to be excited about a whole new world of food. I learned that spaghetti could be served with lots of different sauces, and my favorite became spaghetti and clams.
1 lb. spaghetti
3 cans minced clams
3 cloves garlic
3 T. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup white wine
Saute garlic and shallots in olive oil for five minutes. Add parsley and wine and saute another minute or two. Add minced clams until hot. Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente, drain and toss with sauce. Sprinkle with additional fresh parsley and fresh parmesan cheese. (It's delicious with fresh Italian bread from Marconi's Bakery!)
Thanks mom, you are responsible for my deep love of food (and my obese person's thoughts)...