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Food Friendly May: To Share or Not to Share | Manolo for the Big Girl

Food Friendly May: To Share or Not to Share

When Twistie wrote about comfort food over the weekend, I felt sorry for myself.

I  can’t eat when I’m stressed and we never did the comfort food thing in our house.

With four generations to feed and a lifelong case of food hate, my sensible RN grandmother didn’t have the time or inclination to whip up something special just because one of us felt low.

When we were sick it would be the hospital-approved BRAT diet until we felt better, and the only thing that got me was a lifelong distaste for bananas, rice, applesauce and dry Pepperidge Farms sandwich white.

But then I thought about the first time I tasted elderflower cordial, in a tiny house on a tiny island off the north coast of England where the fire alarm was a handbell and we took vows of silence save for one hour a day.

I thought about Whitt’s pulled pork sandwiches in Nashville and the Snug Harbor –a miraculous variation on the eggs Benedict theme, with a soft shell Chesapeake blue crab taking standing in for the eggs– at the long defunct Fred’s in Annapolis.

I thought about the old fashioneds at the Driskill Hotel and a really well-pulled pint of Guinness in Ireland.

I thought about a proper haggis.

Some parts of me want to share these things with HLB, but in a way I want to keep it private: my unaltered memories for myself alone.

I opened Hot Latin Boy and his pals up to the magical world of shrimp and grits, sweet potato pie, gin and tonics and just yesterdayCampari.

In exchange, his mother has introduced me to tamales with prunes in them (apparently a Guatamalan thing), pozole (which made up for the prunes), huitlacoche, and some delightful but totally mysterious green thing made out of pig spine that cured me of my cold but created further problems I am too delicate to describe.

We already have a collection of “us” foods:

Baked apples will always have a special meaning, even though I whipped them up because I had to get rid of two old winesaps and the dregs of some granola, celery soup –brought steaming hot when I was sick– will always remind me of our first months in Villa Plumcake even though I think he made it because he wanted to use the immersion blender.

If he ever manages me to frogmarch me down the aisle, you can bet there will be rosemary in my bouquet as a wink to one of our first dates at a painfully sophisticated restaurant where he accidentally ate an entire twig of garnish and tried to save me from the same fate by loudly saying “Novia! Don’t eat the little tree! It’s so strong!”‘

Still, I’m not sure how I’d feel about sharing the foods and moments so associated with a special, personal time. What if he didn’t like haggis? What if he liked it too much and it became one of “our” things instead of set in that crystalline moment off the coast of Scotland half a decade ago?

Do you share your sentimental favorites or are remembrances of meals past better left just as they are?

2 Responses to “Food Friendly May: To Share or Not to Share”

  1. Leah May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Oh my god… the rosemary story has me on the floor! Simply adorable.

  2. Thinposter June 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    I love to make and share sentimental recipes. My mother passed away in 2006 and I inherited her box of recipes (and her Red Kitchenaid Mixer, thanks, Mom!)–many of which are in my grandmother’s handwriting.

    It is nice for me to be able to make her recipes for my dad and siblings, even though it is not the same. Since my husband never got the chance to know my mother, making some of these family dishes for him is a way to share that part of my history.

    There is nothing better than making my Grandma’s cheese puff recipe for people, and sharing the story about how she used to make them for parties at the university where Grandpa taught, and one time Vincent Price, who was visiting, requested the recipe. Or making Spanish Dinner–a very special family “ethnic” dish with Fritos as a key ingredient, and telling about how Mom tried to class it up with Cool Ranch Doritos in the 80s and Tostitos in the 90s.

    I adore the rosemary story, also. That’s pretty much the sweetest thing ever.