Friday, March 31, 2017

Food, Family, and Memory

It's been a while since I missed a Friday Food blog entry - or it least it had been before last week. But the week leading up to the 24th was a little odd and serendipitous, and I think you'll understand. (Oh... Sorry... Although there is a lot of food in this post, there won't be a recipe in it. If that's a deal breaker, then skip this one and come back next week for actual food. I won't hold it against you.)

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time - or if you just know me - you know that food and memory are fairly strongly intertwined for me. So, a few years ago, I was excited to get a Kickstarter notice on a small movie that someone (whom I don't know) was making that dealt with a young restaurant owner reconnecting with his mother over some of her old recipes. I donated just enough to get my name into the closing credits of the movie, and then it kind of slipped my mind.

When the movie came out (in 2014), I added it to my Netflix queue, and - this week - I finally got around to watching it.

It's a sweet movie about the family we are born with and the family we choose, and - frankly - I found myself really craving Chinese dumplings by the time it was over. I watched it on Thursday morning (because I was waiting for a package to arrive that needed a signature, so I couldn't go sit in the basement and do work because I wouldn't have been able to answer the door before the delivery guy would leave), and it seemed to be the perfect week for it.

Not to get all maudlin (or too personal), but I grew up in a really small town - with a graduating high school class of just 33 people - and found out on Wednesday that one of my classmates had passed away after battling cancer. So my home town has been on my mind a lot.

We weren't best friends - and we hadn't been in touch since graduation - but my parents keep me updated on what my classmates are up to, and... well... when there were between 30 and 40 people in your class for 13 years (from kindergarten through graduation), there's a bond - even if you have nothing else in common. 

On Thursday evening, thanks to the miracle of social media, I found myself messaging back and forth with another friend from my home town (who now leaves on the East Coast). We were trying to get caught up - and, although it's been years since we've truly been in touch, it was an easy conversation. We joked about things that only people who grew up where we did would find funny (hot dish, ambrosia salad, and kuchen all came up). And it felt great - even though it was such a short exchange. (To prove that the humor was based in my upbringing, I repeated the conversation that made me laugh for Christopher, and he just looked at me and sighed.)

And I made chislic for dinner, because it seemed like the right thing to do. (Chislic is - according to the packaging from my hometown grocery store - "mutton on a stick," which can be broiled or fried in oil, and is typically served with garlic salt and saltines. We typically bring it back with us after we visit my parents.)

So I was thinking of all of that last week, and - on Friday - I had the chance to meet up for lunch with a good friend of mine, and so instead of blogging I was out talking about all we'd been doing in the past few months (it's amazing how much time can pass between visits - even when you're in the same town).

Long story short:
  • Food = Memory
  • Eat with Me = Good "comfort" movie (rent it if you can)
  • Cyber world = Occasionally comforting, but real life tends to be more so

(I'll do my best to get you some real food discussion next week.)

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