I need to stop watching the Food Network. No, really. It's got me craving things I haven't had in forever and the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate is bringing back food memories like mad!
I grew up in a neighborhood that would now be called "ethnically diverse". There were Polish families, Hispanic families, Italian families, Russian families, Jewish families and of course Melting Pot families. Everyone had a veggie garden, so zucchini and tomatoes were prevelant. Some of us had fruit trees and grape arbors as well.
If you were invited to dinner you never knew what you might be eating. There was true peasant Italian food, kielbasa and pierogies, beans and rice, fish done many different ways and cuts of meat that you loved until you found out what it was. There were small bakeries, the Chinese place, the pizza place and the greasy spoon. Fast food was such a treat that it almost didn't exist!
Oh, don't get me started on the Church potluck suppers. Jello salads, potato salad, fried chicken, the current popular casserole and the dessert table! Oh my!
You couldn't be a picky eater. If you were invited to dinner, you ate what was served. It was rude to leave something on your plate, and word would get back to your mom, and you know what that would mean! Yes, I have a few foods that I do not like, but if one was on the table, you ate it.
I don't want to cook these memories, I just want to eat those foods again. Living where we do, there isn't a lot of food diversity. When we go out of area I pick up things that we love that we can't get here. Scrapple, true Virginia ham, Lebanon bologna, potato rolls and real Penn Dutch pretzels. Fresh mozzarella and antipasto from Paesano's, salt bagels from that place in Fort Myers, and all the fresh produce from the Farmers Market.
Food diversity. I'm so lucky to have tried so many things. Yep, food is love and it's shared. Experiences, great conversation, the simple act of breaking bread together. I don't think you can get anything better.