Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Five Foods

A bit late on the writing prompt, as I have had a tumultuous week. But here we go, with Five Foods.

The first time I fried chicken, I was fifteen years old. Mom had gone back to work in preparation for my college tuition (which she didn't have to pay, since I ended up scoring a scholarship - but Mom and Dad paid for years and years and years of piano lessons, so in the end, they did pay for my education...) and I was given a few assignments to help get dinner ready. This was a new thing, cooking for my family. I was selfish and inexperienced. But I tried. I followed the directions: floured the chicken, shook it up in a paper grocery bag (to this day, that's the way you should do it, I think), heated the oil in the cast iron skillet and put the chicken in to cook. When it turned brown - like it looked when I saw it on the table - I figured it was done. I took it out, set the table and waited for my parents to get home. When my dad bit into his first piece of chicken, it pretty much gushed blood. Turns out my powers of visual assessment weren't quite developed yet. I learned that it takes a good long while to fry chicken. And that those visual assessment powers come after you have kids and cook a thousand meals.

And by the way, I still prefer my mom's fried chicken over all others. When she makes it.

One of my favorite meals that I make myself is homemade chicken soup. It's all natural, very few spices - just lots of fresh carrots, celery and onions. Boil an entire chicken. Throw in a lot of garlic and some kosher salt. Add pepper. Cook everything down; add extra wide egg noodles. Watch the end cook time carefully; turn off the heat right before the noodles are done. It's real food. It's good for you. It marks my virtue as a real mom. I make chicken soup, and it's healing powers are real.

Our family vacations together every year - my brother, his wife and two kids, my parents and our crew. The first year that my sister-in-law was a vegetarian, she brought a recipe for rice bowls. Very similar to Chipotle's burrito bowl, but fresher, better for you, and sans meat (although somebody usually cooks up some chicken to toss in). I love food you assemble yourself when you have a bunch of people together. This is a standard vacation food for us now; we never get together without having rice bowls. It means family to me. If you come to my house and we make rice bowls, you know I love you.

Meatloaf at The County Seat restaurant in my little town. They only make it on Wednesdays. It's really, really good. It reminds me of the meatloaf I used to eat at Neely's Home Cooking in Tolar, Texas. That was a million years ago - before I had kids, when I was a 20-something teacher who thought she knew everything. I wish I could go back and tell that girl a few things.

Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream from Haagen Dazs. Because it's my husband's favorite ice cream. I love to make him happy. Ice cream - especially this kind - is always a sure bet.


spookyrach said...

Oh, yum. You like some gooood stuff. I have not had really good homemade fried chicken in years and years and years...

annie said...

My post disappeared! The one wherein I confessed that I am a southern born and bred woman and yet, can't fry chicken worth a tinker's dam! I have forgiven myself for this shortcoming.

Lori said...

So did mine..... I love all your foods... and now am mos def hungry.