In a recent POST I talked about re-reading the Oz books in search of a soup sea -- and not finding it. Through the wonder of social media, a Facebook friend steered me to Kabumpo in Oz, one of the later Oz books by Ruth Plumley Thompson, and at long last I re-read the scene I'd remembered for close to sixty-five years.
Two hungry travelers are delighted to come upon a sea of vegetable soup and they encounter the king of the sea, a being made of soup bones with a soup bowl for a crown and a silver ladle for a scepter. He sings to them and then (and this was the important part for me) he wafts two hot, crispy, buttery rolls across the waves to them.
It's the rolls I remember. Why? Because the day I read that chapter back in the third grade, when we went to the lunchroom, those same rolls were served -- big, puffy, yeasty, buttery rolls, made right there by the lunchroom ladies. It was a kind of intersection of real life and fiction and (obviously) I haven't forgotten.
Those rolls are part of a pantheon of remembered foods -- remembered and pretty much impossible to recreate: Aunt Mamie's (or more likely her cook Esther's) mayonnaise -- yellow, sweet, and lemony; Memaw's (my grandmother Lane) Sunday chicken and dumplings; Ba's (my other grandmother) corn pone -- baked on a flat iron griddle to a brown crunch on the outside and a gooey, creamy interior that was the perfect place to put quite a lot of butter.
Then there was the wonderful pink mamey sherbet at Cuervo's Cafe in Ybor City -- I've seen pictures of mameys but never encountered them except in that sherbet; the sandwich we bought from a guy with a little truck on the Appian Way in Rome -- roast pork, fragrant with garlic and rosemary, slapped between two thick slices of crusty peasant bread; the delicious heart attack of a sandwich from a pub in the Cotwolds -- brie and bacon on a thickly buttered baguette . . .
I could go on (I just remembered the leftover cold boiled shrimp a friend and I purloined in the middle of the night during a Girl Scout campout -- dipped in tomato-ey Catalina dressing, they were incredible. The stealth probably added to the flavor.) But I'm making myself hungry . . .
What about you? Do you have any foods lingering in your memory?