Five things to eat...
It's been a while since I've been tagged for a meme (maybe because I only do them intermittently) but Tara of the Three Tarts pinged me for this and it's one of the more useful memes I've seen in a while. Besides, I have a slightly different take on my answers so I'm going to play. Melissa of the ever-tempting Traveler's Lunchbox has asked for everyone's lists of five foods to eat before you die. The meme has been circulating for a month or so and the collected responses are...holy crap! I just went to grab the URL and it's at 1550 items to eat before you die! That's one new thing a day for FIVE years! You no longer have an excuse for being bored with your food, go pick something off the list. Then go do it again. And again. And again. And again.
Cookies that you baked with a monstrrr (that would be a child for those of you without crib notes), especially if it's their first time baking their favorite cookies. I've made a point of telling visiting monstrrrs that we can bake any kind of cookies they want, even make something up if they'd like, and it is one of the surest hits ever. I've had twenty-somethings remind me of the day we baked their very special cookies — all of which end up named after the kids, "Kara's extra-cinnamon Snickerdoodles" and "TashiaDoodles" (since perfected on her own time) and such — and what we drank, and how the conversation has stuck with them years later. This is about so much more than cookies, they are simply the vehicle for awakening the knowledge of the wealth of experiences to be had when making and breaking bread with those we love. Plus, you often get a new cookie recipe out of it.
Something slightly unlikely with someone very special. One of my latest examples of this is vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries. It's not exactly gourmet — although there are no doubt restaurants selling french vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries for 7 bucks a serving (or would that be freedom vanilla with patriot berries?) — nor is it even unlikely in and of itself, but it was pretty unlikely at the time. And the perfect thing for the moment. The moment being 3am, which found the two of us, having just sent off chapters for the current book project and having a moment to relax, picking the berries by flashlight while some very confused kittens ran circles around our ankles.
Way too much of a favorite food. This is another thing that is perhaps best done with a child. I have fond memories of a couple of childhood food indulgences: strawberry shortcake dinners on the first day of strawberry season, a flat of Bing cherries on the first day of cherry season, the birthday child's choice of dinner and dessert. Oddly enough, we ended up with the same cake several times a year as one child after another chose "that chocolate cake, you know the one"...and we did know "the one" because it was the same as always. I should note that when I had a chance to have "the cake" at the Nut Tree Restaurant, which is the source of the recipe, it was just about identical to the one that we made.
A child's invented dish that makes you go "ick" Every kid has concocted something that they absolutely love and would eat every day that makes their parents retch. theKid's was hot dog and sharp cheddar omelettes with jelly; it had to be cheapish hot dogs (no hebrew national kosher for her) with Tillamook sharp cheddar (black label extra sharp if she could get it) and jelly, not jam. There is some aspect of this that totally squiks me out; maybe it's the insistence on jelly...or the cheap hot dogs...but ewwww, ick! I did have this once, well I had ONE bite of this once, and have managed to escape a repeat performance. Luckily for me, someoneElse was more cooperative and used to make two at a time so he could eat one with theKid...usually while I hid in another room.
Something that stretches your cooking skills I almost made this 'homemade bread' but that's second nature for some folks and that's so not the point. Think of a food you really love but would never try making, then make it. Having been raised to be utterly fearless in the kitchen, I still find some pastries intimidating and have had to twist my own arm to make myself attempt them. Having lost my fear of danish and pie crusts, I'm moving on to something else...those gorgeous molded chocolates are looking more appealing lately, even though tempering chocolate seems tricky. But tricky is good. No tricky=no feeling of accomplishment.
Maybe you can see a pattern here. For me, food is about much more than food. It's about creation, sharing, indulgence, validation of individual quirks (even the ones that make you go ick). And if you help inspire a child to cook and enjoy good food you are doing a doubly good thing.
I'd tag someone but I am late to this party so most of you have already done this. Oh wait, Miz D. has been moving and busy, I'll be mean and tag her! And Cherry because she has more energy behind her collection of blogs than I can imagine.