So, what memorable meals have I had during my life? A great question to ponder. Thinking back over many, many wonderful meals I can remember some remarkable, some surprising, some catastrophic, and some that turned out to be more food for my soul than food for my body.
When the kids were in grade school, their father and I established “cooking night”. Since there were five in our family and five week nights, it seemed the perfect solution to spread out the meal prep chores. Memorable meals definitely ensued.
I remember the time that Aubrey used spicy hot, spiced stewed tomatoes in spaghetti sauce along with the traditional Italian herbs. As I recall, she made spaghetti most every week and we tolerated the monotony far too long. After the spicy sauce fiasco she was banned from making spaghetti for a long time. And I remember when I came home from work and Joe had cooked an entire turkey dinner with all of the trimmings for his cooking night. Casey spent years perfecting his chicken marinade which later became the star attraction at my mom’s Fourth of July barbecues. Speaking of those….I remember my brother Jack feeding us bits of Casey’s chicken and marinated venison straight from the barbecue holding a meat fork in one hand and a can of Budweiser in the other. He called it Vitamin B (the beer, not the meat).
And then I remember when we were all at Conti’s Restaurant in Maine celebrating Joe’s graduation from boat building school when Noel splurged and ordered the lobster for eighteen dollars. When his order arrived there were two huge lobsters draped over the sides of the platter…and they were sitting on a bed of clams. Eighteen dollars! He fed the entire table of eight.
And I remember one very special breakfast that I had with my dad just a few weeks before he died. It was just fried eggs and toast, but for once he was able to eat and we sat there at the old dining room table and he joked and drank coffee and it was just like old times.
Then there was the recipe for Swamp Cabbage that was so secret my mom kept it in the lock box. She used to always make it in this huge roaster when no one was around so they wouldn’t see how she made it. My dad got the recipe from a woman who made him promise to never give it to anyone except his wife. They honored that promise. But then, one day when mom knew she didn’t have that many more years in this world, she presented it to me like the true gift it was saying, “Your dad promised that lady he would never give it to anyone, but I got to thinking…I never did make that promise. So, here you go. But, you need to promise me that you'll make it for your brother Bob every once in a while.” The original was written on the back of an old receipt that looked like it had been through a world war. Who knew it was really called Chicken Almond Rice Casserole? To us, it will always be Swamp Cabbage. No one ever questioned the name, even though it doesn’t contain a bit of cabbage. And how the heck did it ever get named Swamp Cabbage, anyway?
So, this is really a long-winded way of saying that I’ve decided to post a recipe now and again. Some will be old favorites; some newly discovered. Cooking and eating together have always been a huge part of our family celebrations. Cooking is part of who we are. So, I want to share some of my favorite recipes. May they help you produce memorable meals with those you love.
By the way….feel free to share. No need for a lock box.