Posts Tagged: In Search Of Lost Food
5

My Attempt To Make Elderflower Cordial

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

A few years ago, on a trip to Edinburgh, I had an elderflower drink that I keep thinking about. I don't remember what it was specifically called on the menu—cordial, elderflower water, or some variant—just that it was so cool and refreshing that it seemed weirdly magical on that day. It was a late afternoon in November. My husband and I had been to this little graveyard in the old part of the city (martyrs, moss) and then stopped into a restaurant nearby. It was too early to be having dinner but that's the nice part [...]

9

My Attempt To Make The Fritters I Loved As A Kid

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

In elementary school, back in the 70s in Tempe, Arizona, one of my favorite meals was something called Farmers Fritters. On Friday nights, our mother whipped up a batch of the thin, crisp, tangy-sweet cottage-cheese pancakes, which were actually more like little crepes. She used to put her huge rectangular electric skillet in the middle of the table, and my sisters and I sat around it while she made fritters in batches, sliding them around onto everyone's plates.

While we ate these fritters with homemade applesauce and huge puddles of Aunt Jemima syrup, we sometimes told stories, [...]

31

How To Enjoy A Beef On Weck When You're Not In Buffalo

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

I have no idea why the chicken wing was the food to make it out of Buffalo. I mean, I understand the appeal, but its ultimate success is baffling when you consider my beloved hometown’s other signature dish—the beef on weck, which, were this a right world, would be the Buffalo food on every bar menu. It’s a very simple sandwich: roast beef and horseradish, but it’s the roll that’s key. It requires kummelweck, which is hard to find outside of western New York, and that might be what's held the beef on weck back from world domination.

[...]
7

My Ambitious Attempt To Make Puerto Rican Pasteles

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

Like most good Puerto Ricans, my mother was born in the Bronx. But growing up, I spent a decent amount of time in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, where my grandparents lived until I was in my 20s. There, as kids, my brother and I chased lizards in the backyard, enjoyed coconut right off the tree, listened to coqui frogs at night and roosters in the wee hours of the morning through open louvered windows. Everything on TV was in Spanish (which we didn't speak), so we explored a lot. We were also exposed to some dishes that, while [...]

17

My Doomed Attempt To Make Jjajangmyeon At Home

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

When I was little my father used to take me and my brothers into L.A.'s Koreatown after Korean Church. We would often stop by the Joonggook jip (Korean-Chinese restaurant) for a steaming bowl of my favorite lunch, jjajangmyeon, a roasted black soybean sauce served over hand-pulled thick wheat noodles. My father would always tuck a paper napkin under my chin, since the inky sauce was liable to leave flecky dark-brown stains on my white Sunday shirt.

Now I'm grown, and I no longer feel comfortable wearing a makeshift bib in public. To avoid visible stains I [...]

12

My Attempt To Make The Perfect Nebraska Runza

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

I grew up in western Nebraska, not a part of the country known as a culinary paradise. While there were plenty of perfectly fine meals growing up, many others just involved beef put on a grill or recipes from the side of a box, like homemade Bisquick pizzas staight from Betty Crocker. I also remember a type of taco salad, popular at potlucks, which was made up of iceberg lettuce strips, fake cheese, browned meat, some salsa and sour cream, and a large smattering of crunched-up Doritos. (When I tried the Doritos "Locos" Taco from Taco [...]

13

My Attempt To Make Jamaican Escovitch Without The Burn

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

While we all know Jamaica owes many of its food and cultural influences to British weirdoes (see: love of porridges; how my mother writes "Many happy returns!" in my birthday card every year), what is less known is the Spanish influence on the island.

The Spanish "discovered" Jamaica a long time ago. I, admittedly, am somewhat fuzzy on all the details of Jamaican history, but here's what you need to know: The Spanish came first in 1494—some say it was Columbus, some say it was another dude. No matter. Today, we call the place where the Spanish [...]

14

How To Enjoy A Pasty When You're Not In North Michigan

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

While there are many things that Michigan is known for (Motown; the dying American auto industry; Robocop), its cuisine is probably not what springs first to mind. When Michigan foods are mentioned, the references tend to be agricultural—corn, morels, muskmelons, blueberries, cherries—rather than culinary. But there is one dish that allows us to, rightfully, wax rhapsodic: the humble pasty.

The pasty is the definitive dish of Michigan, particularly the Upper Peninsula, although the downstate natives (I am one) can be equally passionate about it and partisan in their wars over the right ingredients. It was brought [...]