Baltimore, Maryland, US
Growing up, my parents would always cut up fruit and de-shell nuts for us, as sort of a post-supper snack. My mother would carefully cut up chilled seasonal fruit and brew a pot of chrysanthemum tea. My father would use his own teeth to crack open salted peanuts and sunflower seeds for us, while frying up prawn crackers at the stove.
They're just simple cut fruit and nuts, but somehow they don't taste the same when I'm just preparing them by myself. That they are meticulous labors of love are what make them taste special.
*Completed for Rebecca Bradley's "Illustrating the Edible" course at MICA*
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My favorite food memory goes back to my childhood. I grew up in Austria and lunch consisted of soup and a typical 'Wiener Mehlspeise' which are made mostly out of flour, eggs, milk and filled with fruit or jam. I was always looking forward to having lunch because it was kinda eating dessert for lunch.
Another childhood favourite. For the longest time this was the only way I would eat fish. Everyone in my family has a can of tuna and some cream stashed away for food emergencies. What I like most is that everyone makes it slightly different. My aunt whisks an egg into the cream. My dad adds parmesan. I like adding red pesto. My mom adds thyme and sage. It always tastes a bit different but it's always good.
Fave Memory : We traveled to Tuscany in the summer of 2013. During our stay at a rural villa, we celebrated my youngest son's first birthday. My oldest son and I took a cooking class with the owner of the villa. Together, we chopped vegetables, browned beef, and simmered a rich Tuscan ragu sauce with red wine. As the flavors of the simmering sauce wafted up from the stove, our host cracked fresh eggs from her own hens to work into piles of super soft 00 flour. The dough stuck to our fingers as we formed nests of fresh tagliatelle noodles and assembled little pillows of spinach ravioli. We ate our family feast al fresco under the warm Italian sunshine, celebrating our youngest, devouring the rich tomato sauce with hints of sweet carrot and savory celery, twirling and slurping tender al dente noodles, and sipping incredible local red wine. As we neared the end of this amazing meal, our host appeared bearing an enormous homemade cheesecake slathered with strawberry jam. She wanted to contribute to our family celebration, so she baked this cheesecake before even meeting us. That day, we not only made our own Tuscan feast, but we also made a friend. Claudia, we will remember you always!
My mum used to make spaghetti with whatever we had in the fridge and they always were delicious. These what-we-will-find-noodles get some fresh herbs from the garden, some good olive oil, roasted nuts and parmesan - and then some olives or capers, fresh tomatoe cubes, panfried courgettes or aubergines in summer and julienned carrots, ovenbaked pumpkin slices or small grilled mushrooms when autum begins. All that tossed together and served as a steaming bowl full of surprises (like my mum is). Comfort food, carbohydrates, love with a side salad.
Fave Memory - I grew up in the British countryside an didn't try spicy fragrant Asian flavours until I was all grown up. I will never forget that first meal, my life was changed forever, and Asian cuisine has become a part of who I am and what I eat. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without ginger, garlic and chilli!
Fave Memory: Once my husband and me were planning to go out and have a happy hour drink after his work. However, he came home and brought full box of French desserts, so we decided to stay home instead and have some beer with éclairs and petits fours. It was one of the best happy hours that we ever had!
Fave Memory: I remember when I was sick, my dad, who could work from home, would stay with me and prepare me a special breakfast – my favorite fruit muffins! He brought them to my room while I was cuddling in the bed with my beloved stuffed elephant.