Monday, December 21, 2015

Sibling Assignment #173: A Beautiful Friendship, Pert Wants Weak Coffee, What Once was Lost Now is Found

Christy decided it was time to do some diving into the archives, so she gave this assignment:

" Three Favorites" 
Review the archives of our sibling assignments and choose a favorite written by each of us. Link the post and share why it is a favorite.
Go here to read Christy's post and here is Carol's.

I have to admit, I didn't go back and read all the posts my sisters and I have put up over the last nine years since we started writing these assignments, but, I found three favorites and here they are.

First, back in April, 2007, Christy assigned the three of us to write a recipe memoir piece. It was the first of two assignments we wrote as Sibling Assignment #18 -- ha! -- it makes me wonder how many other times we have messed up our numbering, but I'll leave that question for another time.

Carol's post is here. It's titled "Breakfast Club" and in it she offers up two breakfast recipes, one for oven pancakes and the other for what she calls "Carol's Special Potatoes". 

Carol's piece fills me with gratitude. I am almost certain that Carol prepared her special potatoes for me one morning during the summer of 2006 when she and Paul and the girls first moved into their then new home.

I took a bite of the potatoes and my eyes bulged out in pleasure.  Carol wondered if I was all right -- sometimes it's difficult to read just what bulging my eyes mean.

I said, "Are you kidding? I'm great (had this been about five years later I would have said I was giddy, but the word "giddy" hadn't become popular yet with me and my sisters)!  What's that seasoning you put on these potatoes again?" She grabbed it off the counter and handed me the McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning.  I didn't know it then, but if the Montreal Steak Seasoning's name had been Louie, I could have said:

Indeed, that memorable morning set in motion the beginning of a beautiful friendship. When I returned home to Eugene, I bought us some Montreal Steak Seasoning and over time it became my favorite seasoning, not only for potatoes, but for steaks and beef roasts and roasted vegetables and probably stuff I've forgotten to list here.

I would have to say that having the seasoning for steak and roasts inspired me to buy the cast iron skillet and Dutch oven I used to own so I could fry steaks and roast meat. Every single time I prepared the Deke and me a rib eye roast or a sirloin steak, we both remarked how beautifully the Montreal Steak Seasoning enhanced the meat's flavor, at least to our taste, and how happy we were that Carol had introduced me to this product by way of her special potatoes.

Our father, however, didn't really care for special potatoes.  He never ate Carol's, but guaranteed, he would have taken a bite and made his bitter beer face. When it came to food, he didn't really care for anything "special".  He regarded special as "weird" and special food, and I quote him, as "weird shit".

Knowing this, my sisters and I never ever really gave up trying to introduce Dad to "weird shit" food
and, well, I can't remember a single time we succeeded in either preparing him something "different" or going to a "different" restaurant that he enjoyed.

In her piece, "Poppyseed Pancakes, Strong Coffee, and Red Flags Flying", found here, Christy perfectly captures what is possibly the most famous time ever we took Dad to the wrong restaurant, the Whale's Tale in Newport, OR.  Christy walks us red flag by red flag through the meal and helps us experience the increasing sense of dread we all felt as Dad just couldn't find anything to enjoy about this cozy bayside cafe. 

I have to admit.  I thought this place would work for Dad -- I probably even told Christy as much if she asked me if I thought it would be a good place to go.

So, while Christy got to be Dad's Jughead for the day, I will step up and say, I was a Jughead, too.  

Honestly, until the day he died on June 1, 1996, I never fully grasped the depth of Dad's deep need for things to be predictable -- his beer, steaks, potatoes, social situations, everything.  Sometimes this was frustrating, sometimes it was painful, but in Christy's piece, I got to step back from it, get some perspective, and roll on the floor laughing.  

OMG it's funny. 
So, it turned out that choosing my own favorite post made me giddy.

I made a most timely and serendipitous discovery and my joy right now is inexpressible.

Here's the deal.

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to remember the name of a cookbook Christy gave me about thirty years ago and I've wanted to make my favorite recipe in this book, but I couldn't remember the name of the recipe. I haven't had the book since we packed up and moved to Maryland from Eugene.

All I could remember was that it was a tasty casserole with no condensed soup in it.

Well, having read Carol's "Recipe Memoir" piece made me curious about what I wrote for that assignment.

My blog post blew me away.

I wrote about the very book and the very recipe I've been twisting my mind in knots to try to remember.  Lo and behold, it was right here in my blog all this time -- in fact, for the last eight years.

I was in Giddy City.

The book is by Nikki and David Goldbeck.  Its title is American Wholefoods Cuisine.  The recipe is Cheese-Vegetable-Barley Bake.

I promptly went to to see if it's available.  It is.  I bought a copy.

If you'd like to read my "Recipe Memoir" piece about this book, this recipe, and my early days of cooking, it's right here.

If you do read it, be sure to read Christy (InlandEmpireGirl)'s comment on my post.

Hilariously, it takes everything about food right back to dear old Dad. 

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