Favourite Food Memory: When my sister and I were little, we were allowed to choose a special dinner on our birthdays. Every single year we asked for the same thing: Mum's cheese fondue! Buttery, garlicky goodness (and a mountain of cheese!). It might seem a strange choice for a child but we absolutely loved it. The first person to loose their dipped item in the gloop was widely ridiculed, and the whole performance was wrapped up with a fight over the crispy bit burned onto the pan. My favourite fondue vessel has to be either crusty baguette or broccoli (honestly, it's soo good). This is my mum's original recipe, which took a while to find because my sister had stolen the book! So clearly this is still a much cherished (and hoarded) family recipe. Thanks Mum!
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For our birthday, my mother always let us each choose the meal and the cake. She always made homemade icing and I always chose chocolate cake with 7 minute icing from The Joy of Cooking. It’s that white, marshmallowy icing that makes pretty swirls and peaks. It gets a sugary crust on the second day, which was my favorite part. Of course, the birthday girl gets to lick the beaters, and the spoon and the bowl. Usually those items were evenly split between my brothers and I, but not on my birthday!
AGLIO E OLIO and The Feast of Seven Fishes- Fave Memory
Christmas Eve has always been my favorite family holiday. The night was always filled with anticipation for what was yet to come. The holiday was just beginning!!
Christmas Eve is also The Feast of Seven Fishes, my favorite Italian Food tradition.
As relatives argued the true meaning of the seven fishes, a parade of seafood would hit the table. Seven different kinds of fish were required for the event. There was mom’s beloved filet of soul, schmelts (tiny filets of fish lightly floured and sautéed), shrimp scampi and sometimes clams orreganato. We no longer had Nana’s, Baccala or Eel, which had been banished from menu by the late 70s. But, we still had more choices then you could possibly imagine! Preparation started weeks in advance, procuring the finest seafood and freshest produce.
But, by far, my favorite dish was the Pasta. Every Christmas Eve, mom served her bowl of steaming hot spaghetti called Aglio E Olio (the bowl actually said Spaghetti on it) to her eagerly awaiting family. (Eye-ya Oy-ya) as it was pronounced in our best southern Italian dialect, is a savory sauce made with garlic and anchovies and garnished with fresh parsley. Mom coaxed magic out of a few very humble ingredients to create a silky sauce that was comforting with a big bold and nutty flavor. Not for the faint of heart- with all those anchovies-it was the Umami of your dreams!
We always knew that we had to save room for our next six courses!! But, our bellies kept getting fuller as we continued to slurp our way through this year’s batch of Aglio E Olio!
I’m sure the rest of the dinner was just as delicious. But, I guarantee you that as we were clearing the table and setting out cookies for dessert, we were already thinking about next year’s Christmas Eve Aglio E Olio (or at least leftovers, if there were any).
I actually assumed our dad invented these!! Mom never made them (pancakes & waffles were her thing). This was his specialty & it was a treat since we never had them during the week. I always wondered why he called them “wink eyes” since it looked like a big wide open bug eyes to me.....maybe because he’d always give you that big exaggerated WINK when he served them ❤️❤️
Fave Memory! The year I turned 2 my parents bought a piece of land in the countryside about an hour and half from where we lived. For a decade before they built a home the 8 of us, plus dog, would pile into our station wagon and drive out of the city to picnic in our new found piece of paradise. 70's classics like potato salad and wagon wheels, my Mom's famous jello mould and deviled eggs rank among my fondest memories. The mere sight of a Coleman thermos or a slice of her lemon pie takes me back to those summers with the smells and sounds of the forest, the movement of woodland animals and insects, the time of the long shadows, the richness of the summer sky.