Cooper did an awesome list of 10 foods that define who he is. I'm totally stealing this one.
1. Peach Preserves. Cooper had this on his list and it definitely makes my top ten list as well. When I went to Maryland earlier this summer I specifically went to the Amish market so I could get some. Here's why.
2. Funny Cake. It's a Pennsylvania German dessert. It's cake in a pie crust with a layer of gooey chocolate. My mother, who is not especially comfortable in the kitchen, made this all throughout my childhood. She taught me to make it when I was about 10. Until a few years ago I never met anyone outside my family who made it and virtually no one outside my home county who even knew what it was. My father, who is not given to offering praise no matter how deserved it may be in any circumstance, will unabashedly praise my funny cake and say it is the one thing my mother knew how to make well. I provided pictures and a recipe at the end of this post if you are curious.
3. Roti. This East Indian flatbread became much beloved during my time in Trinidad where I learned from a few friends their different techniques and secrets for making it properly. It's a dish I have made regularly since coming back to the US 16 years ago. It's one of the few things Diana has asked to learn how to cook because she loves it. Calypso also requests it frequently. Both of the girls have asked how they will have the necessary utensils and cookware for making it when they have houses of their own. Not to worry, we'll get the platin and dabla one way or another. Here's a roti post.
4. Venison. Mr. Lime has hunted ever since we were first married. I love venison. Given the choice between beef and venison I will choose venison every time. I prefer the taste. I like that it's basically organic and very lean. I love that it's super cheap...cost of a hunting license and a box of ammo. I like that Mr. Lime has friends he can butcher with so we don't have to pay for processing. I do enjoy having a few specialty items from the butcher though like venison pepper sticks or making jerky. I like that putting venison on our table involve activities that build a sense of community. The group Mr. Lime hunts with makes sure everyone in the group gets some meat even if they didn't get a deer that year. Last year between Mr. Lime, Diana, and Isaac, our family took 6 deer, which fed our family and went toward helping feed 5 other families as well. If there is a year we don't do so well, someone will share their bounty with us. Cheap and healthy meat, community building activity...these are the things the anti hunting groups fail to see as beneficial. It's a shame. This post has one of my favorite venison recipes.
5. Pretzels. This is something I took entirely for granted as a kid. I have fond memories of the "chip man" who sold chips, pretzels and licorice whips at the local farmer's market. He'd let the kids have the broken hard pretzels. I really just never imagined they didn't exist elsewhere. Then I went to Trinidad and couldn't get a hard pretzel to save my life. I had friends who mailed me bags of them periodically. God bless those friends. I also know how to make homemade soft pretzels and have done so with great enthusiasm. They are a real treat. Here's a post on that process.
6. Applesauce. When I was a kid I was a picky eater. In order to gag down things I detested I used to smother them in applesauce....things like spaghetti and sloppy joes...please try not to vomit. I no longer need to resort to such a tactic but I do still love applesauce...warm and chunky with a sprinkle of cinnamon...mmmm. Oh, and my kids no longer eat jarred applesauce, they expect homemade.
7. Fastnachts. Geshundheit! No, kidding aside. These are Pennsylvania German potato donuts made every year for Shrove Tuesday. My great grandmother on my mom's side used to make them and my grandfather on my dad's side did too. They are just delicious. I've never perfectly recreated their respective recipes but I still make them most years. Here's a recipe.
8. Christmas cookies. Yeah, I know it's not a single food item since I make several kinds but on a good year I make between 60-100 dozen of them to give away. Chocolate chip, wafer thin cutout sandtarts, Reese's cookies, molasses spice cookies, Russian teacakes, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate nut cookies.
9. TastyKakes. Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake. You can have your Hostess Twinkies, your Little Debbie barf pies, whatever other commercial goodies are out there. Gimme a Peanut Butter Candy Cake or a Chocolate Junior. When my dad came to visit me in Trinidad I begged him to bring me a box of these.
10. Spanakopita. Greek spinach pie with feta cheese all in a flaky phyllo dough crust. Oh yes, please....I've only made this from scratch a couple of times but any chance I get to have it I will take it. In a nod to my ethnicity this is my favorite, non-dessert Greek food, but I won't say no to avoglemono, galaktoboureko, dolmades, souvlaki, or baklava either, or a nice Greek salad....I'm so hungry now.
11. Chocolate. Yes, I know anyone who has read this blog for more than a couple of posts knows I love chocolate but if I left it off the official list you'd all be wondering why. My love for this is best illustrated by a conversation shortly after Diana was born. Someone asked Mr. Lime if I'd had any cravings during pregnancy. He answered, "Chocolate." I countered that I craved it even when I wasn't pregnant. He deadpanned, "But when you were pregnant you DEMANDED it!" Nuff said.