Happy Monday, everyone! I’m back after a relaxing weekend and ready to answer this week’s set of prompts. This week’s questions focus on food traditions and the holidays, and I’m excited to write about my favorites. Today’s prompt asks about specific food memories, so here goes!
What dish transports you to a different place and time in your life?
Four words: buffalo wings at Friendly’s. Growing up, I’d often go to Friendly’s with my family, but by high school, I ate more meals out with my friends. I remember going to the mall on the weekends to shop for a couple hours, then congregating at Friendly’s for a quick meal before going home. They weren’t the best wings I’ve ever eaten, but I can still taste those today. Yum.
When I moved to Indiana, my dorm’s dining hall would serve what I called a zebra cake (also known as an icebox cake) and man, that really takes me back. I haven’t had one of these cakes since probably 2003, the year I graduated college. I so want one of these now, too.
As for the holidays, I don’t remember eating the same thing every year for dinner. Some years we’d eat my mom’s roast beef, and other times we’d eat a ham. We might have eaten turkey once or twice, and I believe baked stuffed shrimp made an appearance one year. I haven’t eaten a Christmas dinner with my family in a long time, so the sight of Christmas dinner takes me back to holidays with my family. It doesn’t take much.
I’d eat cold sliced ham for Christmas dinner when I lived in Indiana. My former mother-in-law would cook it the previous day, then put it in the refrigerator to save for the next. I’d never eaten it cold, so I’d always microwave it to eat it warm. I’m still not sure if this is a midwestern thing, or just something that family did to prepare ham. I’ll never know.
So many foods in my life bring me back to a specific time and place. Eating at Cambodian Thai in South Bend with my Indiana knitting friends. Eating a grilled cheese with tomato soup at Panera with my New Hampshire knitting friend. Baking chicken wings with seasoned salt as a meal when my mom worked late. Nintendo and Rainbow Brite breakfast cereals. Veggie Grill before seeing the Oregon Symphony. Chicken and chips at Mount Holyoke. I love remembering all these meals and the company I kept during them, and it makes me happy to recall these memories.