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Food Memories

September 25, 2010

Stuff, stuff and more stuff! I’m working on my emotional attachment to things and in the process trying to create a little more space in my place. I’m breaking it down into smaller tasks so I can have the satisfaction of completing something rather than attacking the whole darn mess.
On my recent vacation I tackled something I’ve been talking about for a long time, my addiction to culinary magazines. I had a tightly packed shelf of magazines dating to the last time I did a purge in the late 80’s. I packed them all up and dragged them to my parent’s home so I’d have supervision. It’s so easy to just keep them!! I love food magazines but I need space so I set  out armed with my scissors and letter opener. I worked on this project on and off for 7 days and I’m proud to say phase one is complete! When I started the project I didn’t know there was more than one phase but it quickly became evident that I have some patterns. I love Thanksgiving cooking magazines and Christmas baking magazines. As I snipped my way through this mountain I learned I am attracted to any recipe that has ‘Moroccan’ in the description. I am drawn to pie, sweet and savoury, and anything that has yams or sweet potatoes.
Day one I pored carefully through each ingredient considering whether or not I could easily adapt this chicken/beef/sausage recipe to vegetarian. By day two if there was meat anywhere in the list it was automatically discarded. When I started I clipped out articles of interest for me, my mom, my sister, my friends; by day three, no articles allowed. I started to see the patterns of publishers and  by day four when I realized I had 7 different recipes for ‘Moroccan Vegetable Stew’ or ‘North African Vegetable Stew’ or ‘Tunisian Vegetable Stew’ I knew there had to be a phase two.  How many chocolate chip cookie recipes does one person need? In my pre-existing loose folder of recipes I found 10. Yes, ten different recipes for chocolate chip cookies. And the sad part is, they are IDENTICAL. What a waste of space. Especially as I always return to my ‘Betty Crocker Chocolate Cookbook’ when I make chocolate chip cookies.
There was another motive in this project. Years ago I remember making a loaf at Christmas. I must have been about 12 or 14 and we lived in North Delta.  Our kitchen had a square patterned linoleum floor in brown and pumpkin orange. If I remember correctly our appliances were harvest yellow or autumn gold. There was a patterned wallpaper and probably dough dolls or wooden mushrooms hanging on it. It was very seventies. This lemon loaf was a non-yeast loaf with candied citrus peel and a glaze of icing sugar and lemon juice on top. It was lovely plain or toasted. It wasn’t ‘greasy’ or ‘oily’ like a lot of lemon or banana loaves. It wasn’t too cakey. The recipe was cut off the back of some box on yellow cardboard and it is lost. It’s been lost for years and I knew, I was a hundred percent positive, it wasn’t in with my recipes but I had hoped as I culled through years of Bon Appetit, Canadian Living, and dozens of holiday baking publications that I might find something similar.  I didn’t find it or anything like it. I miss that holiday lemon loaf or perhaps I miss that time in my life.
I did find my raspberry pecan tart recipe. I haven’t made them in years.  Those were my standard ‘bring to Christmas party’ baking in the early 90’s.  I don’t really want to make them again, not the way I want to make that lemon loaf.  When I think about my life then, it makes perfect sense to me.

Watermelon Habanero salad is something I made for an ex-boyfriend’s birthday theme dinner that I’ll never make again.  It was too hot, burned the mouth, and the relationship didn’t last much past that dinner party.  I threw the recipe out.

Vareniki was about exploring my Ukrainian roots back in the day when I had a table that seated 10 and we squished 12 around it.  One day I’ll have a large table and make that again.
I also found my Granny’s zucchini pie recipe, which my mom pointed out was the same as her Company’s Coming recipe for zucchini pie. I remember watching my Granny making zucchini pie. She liked to use the Kraft Orange shaker cheese because she didn’t have to grate it. My mom and I grated real cheese and made a double batch to freeze and take home.  To be honest, mom did most of the work as I was pushing hard to get through that last stack of magazines.  Come to think of it, I’ve never made Zucchini pie, I’ve only helped.  Zucchini pie is about someone taking care of me. Maybe that’s why I love zucchini pie!

It’s been 13 days since my last food magazine purchase. Phase two begins tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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