Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Food & Me Part II

As stated before I grew up open to many different foods.  I was very lucky that my parents were adventurous with food.  My mom learned how to make her own flour tortillas.  She did this because with us on a wheat free diet she could not use the tortillas from the store.  She baked homemade bread too.  She had found a flour that had additives, the natural kind not chemical, that made us able to tolerate wheat.  This was only with that particular flour mixture.  In a way I was spoiled.  I saw my mom experiment to find ways around our dietary restrictions. I was also discovered to have a sensitivity to cane sugar, so honey and real pure maple syrup were used as replacements.  At this time my mom was the den mother for my Cub Scout pack.  She tried to introduce what we ate to the neighborhood. It did not go over well.  I was teased by some of the kids for her food.  Thanks to mom I do not care for most cake frosting or cheap ice creams.  I find them to sickeningly sweet. 

Another uncommon thing we had in my family was our Christmas tradition for stocking stuffers.  Mom would not buy store bought candy and if she did it was a very limited amount.  Our stocking had some interesting stuffers in them: canned sardines, canned mussels, canned clams, canned oysters, canned baby octopus, canned clams. dried fruit, pomegranates, cuttlefish or squid jerky, nuts of all kinds (pistachios were only bought during the holiday), a minced dates rolled in shredded coconut with almond slices confection,  and oranges.  Today I prefer those, cheese, fruit leather, chips, jerky, tzatziki sauce (Greek yogurt with cucumber, garlic and dill sauce), salsa, guacamole, avocados, apples, pears, bananas, frozen grapes. and hummus as snacks.  I also prefer unsweetened peanut butter, especially with apples.

Over the years I learned a few tricks.  A Mexican restaurant in WoodlandWA had an interesting version of hot wings.  They glazed them in jalapeno jelly.  It took that idea and baked boneless pork in jalapeno jelly as a dish I worked with.  When I worked in pizza place for 4 or 5 years, I had discovered linguica.  Linguica is a Portuguese sausage that is used as a pizza topping in some places.  I used to order a pizza with linguica, bay shrimp (the little canned ones), and cheddar cheese.  A favorite restaurant of mine in my twenties was a place that fused Latin American food, Caribbean food and East Asian food.  One of these days, I should try to re-create their Mexican Chocolate cheesecake.  That place introduced me to many Caribbean and South American dishes.  Previously in university I found a place that served dishes from various Latin American cuisines.   That place was where I was introduced to Tortilla Espanola, which is an egg and potato dish.

As a kid while my dad was overseas, we were tight for money.  During some of those periods we ate government cheese (tastes like bad processed cheese) and sometimes MCI (Meal Combat Individual Ration) also known as C Rations.  MCIs were a box full of canned goods the military used as field rations prior to 1980. A few times my dad stocked up buying the surpluses of these.  Before that I loved canned spaghetti with meatballs or franks. Now cannot stand any canned pastas with sauce.  The rations also included canned fruit.  Before the rations I was not a big fan of peaches, afterwords I could not stand them.  I do not even like fresh peaches. I grew up where we home canned food too.  My grandparents taught my mother and she continued that tradition.  I used to can and my brother and his family still do.  When we lived in Alaska we canned our salmon catches, in tin cans.  They were Christmas gifts for years. 

Due to the circumstances of my life with Barbara a lot of these things went away.  Part of my healing has been reconnecting to old traditions, like sushi and anime night or the pizza I mentioned earlier.  To some folks a great deal of what I ate could be considered weird or unusual.  My response to that is yes, I am those things too.  Also you can see my atypical food habits made me open to so many possibilities.  I will try most things once.  I hate to waste food.  Right now due to living arrangements cooking is difficult.  I cannot wait until that changes and the possibilities are endless culinarily as well.  That Is My Not So Humble Opinion.