the oldies.

Ahhh, the buzz of halogen lights; the blare of constant news; kids with iPads; general bigness.


One of the things I wanted to do when I was here was to talk to my mom about some of the food I remember from my youth, and maybe learn how some of it came about. There were five or so regularly recurring dinners that I really looked forward to, at least I know I requested them often; and it seemed like one of them was always in the fridge for between-meals ratboy snacking, and I very clearly recall my excitement at seeing any of them on the stove when I came in for dinner.

So my poor mother is in the middle of preparing one of these classics right now and in fact while at the stove just rather gravely intoned "you should probably just keep those fond memories of your childhood...let the past stay in the past," unaware that I was simultaneously typing about that very thing.

Indeed, our palates have changed. We have become unaccustomed to dishes whose seasoning is limited to salt, pepper, and condiments. Tonight's offering is Classic Dish #2: Beef and Rice (sort of a beef stew over rice, ingredients: beef, beef stock, wine, garlic, dash of steak sauce, corn starch, salt, pepper). #1 was Ham, Potatoes and Corn, which she made on Sunday (ingredients: ham, potatoes, green onions, corn, cheese, salt, pepper).

Another challenge in recreating this nostalgia food is that our groceries have changed so much in the last 30 years. Not just the products themselves, in terms of how they're made (HFCS), or their quality, but also my parents' budget has changed pretty dramatically. Ham, Potatoes and Corn for example, used to be made with a cheap ham steak, probably $1.00 or so at Grand Union or Price Chopper. Sunday's version was made using a $25.00 Costco spiral-cut ham.

So yis: the potatoes were a little different, the cheese was a little different, the ham was a little different, but it was close enough to the real thing to almost make me feel nine again.


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