Saturday, July 30, 2022

Iconic Food Memories (repost from 2015

 



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?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

11 comments:

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This post made ME hungry! I notice all the kinds of breads you mentioned. I am a bread freak. Bread is my weakness; you can forget chocolate.

Barbara R. said...

What fun memories of food. I remember a garbanzo and sausage bean soup I'd have for lunch with Cuban bread from Ybor City, not sure of it's name now. Many other seafood dishes that make me salivate. Do you know you copied the post twice in today's blog? That makes it doubly delicious!

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Barb--I think I've fixed it. You're remembering Sanish Bean Soup--a Tampa staple. I make it often in cooler weather. Though instead of Spanish chorizo sausage, i use Polish kielbasa. Still delicious.

And Elizabeth--I too would choose good bread over chocolate any day.

Carol Crump Bryner said...

When I was around 9 or 10, I read a book from our local public library about an orphan girl who had to choose between two prospective adoptive families. One of them, an older woman who lived alone in a large house and had no children, fed her a meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and peas. It always sounded like the best meal ever, but I couldn't remember the name of the book until Mr. Google came along. It was "Adopted Jane" by Helen Fern Daringer. I ordered it from Mr. Amazon, and my rereading was quite satisfactory, right down to the chicken dinner.

Vicki Lane said...

That was our boys' favorite meal (with gravy for the potatoes.) I still make it in cooler weather. I'll have a look for the book.

Marcia said...

From the age of 2-7 we lived in the Philippine Islands. My parents were missionaries. I remember tastes: coconut shavings in coconut milk, boiled peanuts, small fried fish dipped in vinegar (eat the whole thing) and other foods I have no names for. Then there were the green mangoes we dipped in vinegar and salt to eat after picking them from the trees. Papaya for breakfast and bananas in dessert dishes.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, yum! What great memories!

Anonymous said...

I'm probably a little late to the party - but - the hot, crunchy crab cakes the man on a bicycle sold in Tampa around lunch time during the work week. He had a box on the back of the bike that he kept refilling (the cakes sold really fast and he rode back to Ybor City for refills). Actually recently found them in the seafood department at Publix. Well, they're almost as good.

Otherwise, my grandmother's pot roast and chicken and rolled dumplings.

Vicki Lane said...

Yes! to the Ybor City devilled crabs! None better! (Who are you, Anonymous?)

Anonymous said...

A native Floridian and long-time Tampa Bay resident, I hardly recognize my home state or the Bay area these days. I know, I know, change is good (so they say), but I miss Licata’s, Maas Brothers (especially the bakery), Las Novedades, the Seabreeze, the Old Meeting House, and Mullet Inn. (Cannot find a restaurant that serves fried mullet anymore – they all smoke it now.) Remember when the State Fair was near University of Tampa and streets were closed to accommodate the rides and exhibits?

I enjoy your blog for many reasons, but it’s a special treat when there are photos of your farm and the beauty of those North Carolina mountains. I’d hoped to retire there, but it just didn’t work out. I miss it.

Vicki Lane said...

I've not been back to Tampa for almost twenty years. For me, it was a great place to grow up in but the rapid growth was what decided us to leave back in '75. Ah, change--a double-edged sword.