Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Food for Thought

Yesterday, I talked about some of the common foods that have earned a favored place in the diet of my life. Now I'll mention a few favorite foods that I'd love to experience once again, but haven't had in a long while--sometimes because the recipe has been lost, and other times because I've had to give it up for health reasons.

(1) Mom's bread pudding with chocolate sauce. This isn't a typical bread pudding the way others think of it; it's a dense, heavy, meringue-topped pudding served with a creamy rich chocolate sauce that must be liberally poured over all (although the baked bread pudding itself is too dense for the chocolate sauce to actually sink in). Only once did I manage to convince Mom that I'd rather have bread pudding for my birthday than any cake... but it was true!

(2) Chocolate fudge oatmeal drop cookies. I don't know how to describe these no-bake cookies, except to say that they seem to be a fudge with oatmeal stirred in before it sets up; the cookies are then spooned out on wax paper and allowed to cool. Thick, rich, and fudgy with a bit of "tooth" to them because of the sturdiness of the oatmeal, these were my favorite cookies when I was a child. Susan has found a recipe that is very, very close to Mom's, but it's still just a little bit different...

(3) Fried liver and onions. I know how to make this one, but my efforts to keep my cholesterol under control have led me to remove liver from my diet, since it's just loaded with the stuff. (I could have added fried chicken livers as a separate item, but figured I'd just mention 'em here as a tag-on to the fried beef liver; the same cholesterol concerns have led me to drop both.)

(4) Grandmother's German chocolate cake. Mom's mother had some recipes that didn't quite click for me, but her German chocolate cake was one recipe that I absolutely loved! Rich and thick with a heavy caramelesque coconut-laden icing, it was the epitome of what a German chocolate cake should be.

(5) Saucy burgers. This was a recipe that Susan either found or made up soon after we got married, and I loved it; it was a thick seasoned hamburger patty (almost a meatloaf patty) with a rich tomato-and-olive sauce. Don't know why we quit having 'em, but I loved those things!

(6) Waldorf salad. This is another of Mom's recipes, made with apples and walnuts and raisins and mayonnaise, among other things, in a mixture that I can't quite recreate. It's a simple dish, but it's one I've never made... I always counted on Mom to make it for us!

(7) Snow ice cream. Yes, I've seen Paula Dean's recipe on how to make it with shaved ice, but there's nothing that rivals true snow ice cream, made with a huge bowl of Georgia winter snow. The last time I made this myself was back in 1972 or 1973, during a winter that was so cold that I would swear that the flames on a candle froze solid...

(8) Cavatini. Back in the 1970's, Pizza Hut had a dish by this name, but when we tried it, we were disappointed. Determined to prove that cavatini could live up to its potential, Susan made a recipe that used Italian sausage, peppers, onions, pepperoni, a chunky sauce, and three different kinds of pasta (I remember that penne pasta and rotini were in there, but I forget what the third one was). It was distinctively different in flavor and texture from spaghetti, and I always looked forward to it.

(9) Divinity. Another of Mom's recipes; I've had other people's divinity, but none of 'em had the intense sugary richness of Mom's.

(10) Chocolate meringue cookies. MarKay and Chris Appel make the absolute bestest chocolate meringue cookies ever, and I have no idea how they do it... but I sure can eat 'em!

(11) Grandmother's coconut cake. Hey, Mom's mother gets two recipes on my all-time favorite list! I thought this was one of Mom's recipes for the longest time, but I learned later on that she got it from grandmother (I presumed she just gave grandmother her recipe, because all kids presume that everything originates with their Mom...). It wasn't a typical cake--it was very dense, very heavy, and stacked in at least three towering layers so that it seemed to be a confectioner's tower of babel, iced with a sweet white icing so packed with coconut that it would seem there could be no more left in any grocery stores in town.

(12) Chicken and dumplings. Kimberly knows how to make these just like Mom did, but I haven't the recipe or the skills, I don't think.

Anyone who wants to plan my ultimate dream dinner can use this as a starting point...


Anonymous said...

i sure would like your moms irish stew recipe...aunt donna

cliff said...

I actually have that one at home; when I get back in this evening I'll transcribe it for you here!

Kimberly said...

I will happily volunteer to make 2 gigantic pots of homemade chicken and dumplings for you and the rest of my 'extended' family -- yes, they love them and will eat an entire pot by themselves.
As for the bread pudding recipe: I think I have a copy somewhere, and my guess is that Aunt Jean has a copy, too!!!!
Your older sister, Kimberly (see, I'm still humoring you!)

Pam Jackson said...

I have heard Aunt Donna talk several times about your Mom's Irish stew....post it, I might even give it a try myself.
Cousin Pam