The Taste of Home
by, 11-09-2010 at 06:55 PM (939 Views)
If, as an adult, you moved far away from the State you were raised in, you know exactly what I mean when I say, The Taste of Home. The taste of home are those wonderfully delicious regional dishes that (whilst you were living there!) you figured EVERYONE must be eating.
When I first moved out of Maine, as naive as I was, It never occurred to me that I would no longer enjoy an Italian sandwich, red snappers (which are a hot dog in a natural casing that literally make a Snap sound when you bite into them), lobster (without giving up my firstborn or an appendage), whoopie pies, needhams or Moxie.
I never thought for a second that the dishes that I regularly consumed weren't "common" in the rest of the country. I was shocked to discover that people purchased "ball park" franks and other nasties that Bloat up when they're cooked. I thought those were simply used as bait when fishing for catfish, not actually consumed by people (on purpose!).
I was disgruntled to discover that Friday Fish Fry was the norm in the mid-west and frequently saw signs for "Brats" on the side of the road. To which I remember commenting to my husband, why would I want to stop and purchase "Brats", we have 2 already, (referring of course to our darling sons arguing in the back seat of our car). Brats, (pronounced "brawt" however, are not naughty children, but bratwurst meat chunks, which are actually quite tasty when boiled in beer and then grilled to perfection!
However, nothing in the midwest grossed me out as much as watching a lady dump copious amounts of shredded cheddar cheese atop a fresh slice of hot apple pie, her eyes gleaming with delight at her culinary treat. *Shudder* I had never heard of such a thing, let alone witnessed it.
After moving to Southern East Coast, I discovered that "Seafood" in the parts of the South consisted of shrimp/prawns being cooked 15 ways from tuesday. Where or where were the bay scallops, lobsters, steamers and fried whole-belly clams? Oy! My tastebuds were in shock and deeply saddened by the seemingly mistaken restaurant advertisement.
To this day, I still can't convince my brain (or stomach) that Grits are an actual food item. Many of my Southern friends try to help by mentioning that "they're delicious, if you mix them with" and proceed to list 10 ingredients- syrup, butter,eggs,bacon,sausage etc. My thought on it is, if you have to hide the original flavor (or if it lacks flavor), it probably isn't that tastebud worthy to begin with.
While I sometimes miss the foods I grew up with, I love that we have had the opportunity to experience different cuisines and cultures. Now, when we travel to different regions we make it a point to try the most popular dishes of the area.
Most of all, I love that if I truly miss the flavor of a dish that I can't reproduce at home, I can go online and have it shipped here.
What Tastes of Home do you miss (or Crave!) ?