Well, okay. This week’s prompt is to talk about our favorite foods. And not just one or two. No, I have to come up with 10 things I would classify as favorites. Hmmm… This is either going to be easy or extremely difficult. I can’t decide in advance.
Number 1 is, of course, my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. It’s been my favorite thing to eat since I was very young. and Mom used to make it every year for my birthday. The sauce is homemade, the meatballs perfectly flavored (unless she decided to use ground turkey, which she did for the last few years she made it) in which case, in my opinion, the meatballs were barely edible. Taking a big old bite of meatball, expecting the usual taste and finding ground turkey instead was as shocking to me as an adult as taking that big old bite of Jell-O at Grandmother Lewis’s table, expecting whipped cream and getting mayonnaise instead.
Number 2 is my mom’s potato salad recipe. Dressed with a mix of Miracle Whip and sour cream and a dash of dried mustard, topped with paprika, my mom’s potato salad is hands’ down the best ever. I can take or leave most potato salad recipes. A bite or two is really all I want to eat, especially if there’s pickle in it. I like pickles, but in my view, they do not belong in potato salad. But I can make a batch of it Mom;s recipe and eat it for lunch for several days without getting tired of it. The only other potato salad that comes close, in my estimation, is my younger daughter’s loaded baked potato salad. It’s really good, too!
Number 3 is my mom’s chili. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to sense a common thread here. Mom never cut corners, so her chili recipe calls for dried beans, soaked overnight and cooked until just tender before adding the meat and the spices. As with the potato salad, I’m not a rabid fan of chili in general, but I can enjoy Mom’s recipe every day for lunch until it’s gone. It’s the perfect meal for a pre-Trick-or-Treating dinner on Halloween.
Number 4. I’m going to shake things up a bit here and add my oldest daughter’s chicken gyros to the list. This is a fairly recent addition to the list, but it’s definitely a keeper. Inspired by one of our favorite take-out meals in Utah, my daughter had to find a substitute when we moved to Florida and an area where such a thing didn’t exist in a restaurant. She found a great recipe. Yummy, yummy marinated chicken, sweet red onion, and tangy dill sauce served in a warm pita. Mmmm! It’s also good cold, for lunch, with mini-pitas.
Number 5: Steak. A nice, juicy rib-eye is my preference, lightly salted with garlic salt and cooked medium rare. That’s it. No sauce. No other spices. Just garlic salt. Go ahead. Tell me all the things that are wrong with red meat. I’ll listen patiently even though I’ve heard it all so many times I know it as well as you do…and then I’ll grill up a steak and dig in.
Number 6: Ice cream. Any flavor. Any brand. Any time of the day. Anywhere. There is nothing wrong in the world that a bowl of ice cream can’t make better. I come by my love of ice cream honestly. It was one of my dad’s favorite things, too. He may even have appreciated a good bowl of ice cream more than I do, but that’s kind of hard to imagine.
Number 7: Popsicles. Any flavor. Any brand. Any time of the day, but best when shared with my granddaughters in what we like to call a “Popsicle party.” It’s nothing more than enjoying a frozen confection at the same time, but it’s been a “thing” for us since they were very small. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, the girls had a moment of panic, thinking our Popsicle party days might be behind us. Luckily, there are several varieties of sugar-free frozen confections, all of which are quite delicious, so our parties rage on.
Number 8: Guacamole. With chips. On a burger. On a wrap. Whatever. Wherever. I like it chunky and slightly spicy. My cousin Angie makes the best guacamole ever, and any time our group of friends gets together, we all insist that she makes the guac and brings it. Unfortunately, since I moved out of state, our get-togethers are much less infrequent, and I have been forced to find alternatives. Cactus Flower makes a decent guacamole.
Number 9: Fresh, homemade bread still warm from the oven with butter. Not margarine. Butter. Do I need to say more? I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t love fresh, warm bread and butter. I remember when I was young, coming home to that smell in the house, which meant that Mom had been stirring and mixing and kneading all day. Not only is the food delicious, but the aroma is absolutely divine.
Number 10: Mom’s homemade strawberry freezer jam, which, when paired with #9 above is an exquisite treat. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. I like it best when it’s mostly thawed, but still slightly frozen and cold. Put that on a piece of warm bread or a hot roll and you’ll be in heaven, my friend.
The hardest part about writing this blog post was whittling down my list to just ten items. I didn’t even get to mention my mom’s turkey dressing, or my sister’s candied sweet potatoes (not yams!), or my Aunt Barbara’s clam chowder, or my dad’s crispy fried potatoes (which we only had when we were camping in the mountains), or my son-in-law’s brisket, or…
Really, what it boils down to is that my favorite foods are, for the most part, the foods I associate with the people I love.