Saturday, July 04, 2015

food fantasies

My favorite food is my mother’s spaghetti. Spaghetti noodles topped with a sauce more beefy than tomatoey. Definitely not Italian in nature. At least, not that I know of. My mother was Austrian which I think has a more meat heavy food culture than the Italians.

She would brown a couple of onions and garlic with a lot ground beef. Crusty brown. The kind of brown that leaves tasty bits on the pan. Then some tomato sauce was added. The resulting sauce was more brown than red and very thick and heavy.

An ice cold glass of milk was a mandatory accompaniment. Yummers.

Leftover spaghetti noodles were used the next day to make a decadent treat. Bread crumbs browned in butter get the noodles added in to warm. Top this with sugar and you’re in carb heaven.

Lots of things got covered in butter browned breadcrumbs.

Zwetschgenknödel are German potato plum dumplings. We didn’t get them very often because they are really hard work but when she did make them, she made loads and we gorged. A mashed potato dough was wrapped around a pitted, ripe plum and boiled. Once cooked, these dumplings were rolled in brown butter breadcrumbs and topped with sugar.

Cauliflower heads got topped with brown butter breadcrumbs, too. No sugar, though.

When she fried foods, like chicken, I would steal the browned flour/breadcrumbs in the pan. That is unless the now flavored oil wasn’t needed to fry up some potato pancakes. She always put some butter in the oil to give it extra flavor.

We ate pancakes, too. My vision of breakfast always includes pancakes, especially blueberry pancakes. I could go for some blueberry pancakes right now, with some bacon or ham or both. All drenched in melted butter and maple syrup. Add some home fries with lots of onions and garlic and you’ve got breakfast perfection.

My father used to make homemade ice cream. He had an old-fashioned ice cream maker that he had to crank forever. It seemed like hours before the ice cream would be done. He’d put strawberries in it. I preferred plain vanilla but fresh strawberries weren’t too bad.

My father’s favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake. My mother cut up tons of strawberries and marinated them in lots of sugar so there was plenty of sweet juicy liquid with the berries. Then she baked Bisquick as a sheet cake. This was cut warm, topped with the cold sweet berries and juice and freshly made whipped cream.

Food was so good before we all had to get healthy.

I always have a craving for something and I never know what it is. I like eating appetizers at restaurants because I’m always searching for a certain taste to satisfy this vague, elusive hunger I have for something. I wonder if I had a table in front of me laid out with fifty distinctly different foods and I nibbled on all of them would I be satisfied.

Nothing ever quite hits the mark though.

I suspect I’m trying to satisfy the wrong hunger.


  1. Such an appetizing post, I'm ready to fire up the iron pan.

    Incredible post, I love the search to satisfy an unidentified hunger. I love your writing.

  2. MMMMM! Homemade ice cream!

    ( '>


  3. My brother and I used to like eating leftover spaghetti sandwiches the morning after our spaghetti night. My mother used to like to cook but lost her desire to after my father got sick.
    My mother's side of the family is Heinz 57, mostly Scotch-Irish and German. The maternal side of my father's family was purely Lithuanian. The paternal side was mostly English. The Lithuanian side gave us some wonderful East European cuisine, such as potato pancakes.
    Sadly, I'm a terrible cook. These days I mostly eat TV dinners and takeout.

    1. Lovely mix of nationalities. I don't like cooking after work. I'd eat a bowl of cereal if I could get away with it.