Food for (my ) thought -literally can make you fat
Or one woman’s plumpness- one woman’s memories
Sunday found me making a Spaghetti Bolognese for myself- mum can’t abide spaghetti and my husband likes more “American” style ( bring on the Prego) so as I was cooking ground beef anyway I decided on an individual “spagbol” lunch
I was transported back through time to a little Italian Café in London’s Soho . I was in one of my first jobs ( I used to go through jobs like chickens wings at a Super Bowl party) It turned out one of my friends was also working in the area so we used to pool our Luncheon Vouchers for lunch – For those that are unaware of a Luncheon Voucher – outside the UK
“luncheon voucher is a voucher for a meal given to employees as an employee benefit, allowing them to eat at outside restaurants, typically for lunch. In many countries, meal vouchers have had favorable tax treatment. Vouchers are typically in the form of paper tickets.”
The proprietor could not help but be dismayed as to the way we ate his
“spaghetti” ( We used to use a knife and fork and cut it) One day, he could stand it no longer and promised if we tried to eat our pasta the proper way ( which he would demonstrate) until we mastered the skill he would not charge us for our meal. Needless to say it took weeks 😉 We progressed from cutting to using the fork and spoon method to finally the twist and twirl without slurping up errant strands or slavering sauce down our chins. I then changed jobs again and could no longer get my free meal .
Food always the comfort and I have realized when “cooking- ( sometimes successfully sometimes not so successfully I equate the dishes with people and memories .
My mum during the war was part of the rationing generation. Having to stock up and make things last has stayed with her and 75 years later she still stockpiles as evidenced by my cupboards “just in case”. Mum can make a roast last for three or more meals.
Roast on Sunday– http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/the-ultimate-sunday-roast/ followed cold meat and bubble and squeak- shepherd’s pie and Cornish pasties and then if any is left over we have mince. I will say now she will make the items to freeze so we don’t have to eat them all at once. However, she has decided at her time of life that she hates leftovers so I am left with eating all the leftovers. ( sigh)
My husband on his ranting about our cooking with butter will not eat what we eat. Unhealthy!!!!! – mind you HE is the one with the stents and cholesterol – seems according to the heart Dr. and our Dr. when I asked how could he ,with his horribly healthy diet, have blockages “food consumption only affects cholesterol 3% – 20% –
this writing is making me hungry for a sticky toffee pudding
and that reminds me of the Goring Hotel London http://www.thegoring.com/ and Cousin Pat.
My memories are everywhere in this kitchen making strong tea and thick toast and butter with chunky marmalade – My Auntie Ethel and a little cottage in Lincolnshire .
Baked potatoes – my childhood ( and I have never had baked potatoes since that were so good ) and cocoa coming in from Guy Fawkes Night and the chill in the air to Mrs. Cushing’s lovely warm kitchen( London England) – ( my cousin’s paternal grandmother) She of the white hair and cherubic face – she should have been a model for the ultimate Mrs. Clause .
Chocolate Chip Cookies ( the best) and Lemon Meringue Pie http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/marys_lemon_meringue_pie_02330 will take me back to the 7th grade and New Brunswick Canada when a young teacher ” Miss Calder” came to live with us.
Pavlova – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/711658/strawberry-pavlova I can’t say I, or even my mum, have been successful in making the perfect Pavlova but as we try memories of Susan’s Pavlovas , Sunday afternoon tea time complete with her spread of new potatoes sliced ham and salad spread before us Ipswich, Suffolk England .
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/steak-and-kidney-pudding/ Steak and Kidney Pudding -well that would be my own Nana ( on my mum’s side) when she lived with us in South Harrow Middlesex England – she had long white hair she used to pull up in a bun and the brightest blue eyes- she had a hard life and was nearly killed being strafed by a German flyer during WW2 as she was collecting wood.
But figs, dates, pomegranates,
chocolates and wonderful fresh cream cakes and éclairs from the bakery – cheese and watercress sandwiches was my more wealthy grandmother on my father’s side – It as all very exotic in her home silks and fringes an Aladdin’s cave to my eyes. The home of “children should be seen but not heard in Hendon England
Cooking egg and chips http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/the-ultimate-egg-and-chips/ takes me back once again to being a little girl and sharing Saturday night tea time with the Braynes in South Harrow, Aunt Lilly’s lovely fairy cakes which I have never managed to make successfully bring such happy innocent times.
Cooking the “English Breakfast”- Dusseldorf Germany and my Uncle Austin running along the Rhine embankment with pennies in my hand to buy sweeties from Frau Bloomers sweet shop.
Chocolate Gateaux http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8095/black-forest-cake-i/ I make a fairly decent Chocolate Gateaux – memories of Nikki as a two – year old and the Mohne Dam of Dambusters fame Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6hne_Reservoir
and her insistence she be allowed ‘gatoes” before she would eat a sandwich! and my cousin John
From Germany back to England and Devon Cheese and Onion pie http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/cheeseandonionpie_89625 gracing cousin Dawn’s table at the farm. The table used to fair creak under the weight of all the dishes – How much fun I had riding the tractor over the fields to the pub- my husband playing darts in the Cider Shed getting blotto.
Not all food brings back pleasant memories – the smell of creamed corn turns me into a puddle of nerves and tears. Hopefully none who read this ever have to go through a stem cell transplant the smell of the preservative used in the gathered stem cells stinks like creamed corn. The odor permeates everything including my brain and takes me to a time of hope and hell with my son Chris. You won’t find creamed corn here in this house.
Another banned from memory and kitchen food is Christmas Pudding http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/christmas_pudding I make a mean Christmas Pud but no longer – because the memory of Chris ‘s job of always lighting the pudding can’t be replicated and only mum and I ate it anyway – the memory still too raw……..In fact our previous traditions when it comes to celebrating have been exchanged for new ones .
Chris – whose love of lobster and shrimp is always celebrated on special occasions – the lobsters in the pot bearing the names of those evil and wicked individuals who have added nothing but terrible negatives to our lives.( Good job I am not Elizabeth the 1st). He and Jim wiping out the buffet of seafood at the Bomber Squadron Cleveland Ohio.
Yes food for thought and cooking the food of comfort – as the memories come flooding in so do the calories. Yes! you can gain weight just by going down memory lane and find yourself all over the world. ……….