"...everything in life is writable...if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."..... Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How I became a food snob: An excerpt from a memoir in progress

...My mother did a lot of canning. If you walked down the basement stairs into the cool, dark concrete, you would immediately encounter giant cocoons of cheese cloth hanging from the ceiling. Underneath each one was a pail into which thick, purple, syrupy stuff dripped for hours. The  smells of plum, grape, and blueberry mingled and hung in the air like a sugary veil. She would make the most delicious jams and jellies from the sweetly sour stuff. I can still taste that special  flavor on my tongue making my mouth water like I’d just eaten a fresh lemon.

  Sometimes the smells changed to the more pungent aroma of vinegar and tomatoes or the sweet comforting fragrance of fall apples as they boiled in huge metal pots on the stove daddy had moved down stairs and planted against the far wall. Shelves lined the wall across from it, a repository for rows of canning jars filled with jams, jellies, beans, corn, and beets all in a row. I can taste the delicious chili sauce and apple sauce.

 During the war, we had an huge Victory garden with everything imaginable growing in it, including canta­loupe and watermelon. In the summer, my sister and I would gather lapfuls of plump, ripe tomatoes and sit in the cool green grass with a salt shaker eating and laughing. We also had a peach and a plum-tree. It was then that I first developed a love of fresh fruits and vegetables ripened in the summer sun.

Although I had been a “food snob” most of my life, staying a purest was next to impossible when we became really busy at the Inn. I just didn’t have time to make everything from scratch, or to can and make fresh bread and granola.

Some of the other Innkeepers had started using mixes, pre­cooked bacon and even precooked omelets. I couldn’t bring myself to do the omelet thing, but I did try a few mixes and started using precooked bacon. I held out to the end on whipped cream from scratch and home-made granola, but eventually gave in. One of our signature dishes is a Quiche that started out as a simple spinach Quiche, but we kept adding more to it and tweaking it so it would taste better. Now it has herbs, spices, and sauted onions and mushroom and is abso­lutely wonderful. My guests tell me it’s one of the best Quiches they’ve ever tasted..........


if you enjoyed this post, feel free to leave a comment

18 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm hungry now! I could go for a really good Quiche right now. And you reminded me that I skipped breakfast.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That sounds great - I envy your guests!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Kelly, Yeah, we make quiches at our Inn all the time. The favorites are Spinach-Mushroom and Tomato-Onion. Still hungry?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Helen, thanks so much for commenting. I think our guests, judging from their feedback, really enjoy what we have to offer. I love to cook, especially breakfast, so I'm constantly coming up with new things.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can smell those fruit jams myself as I read this. What wonderful memories! A friend of mine just gave me a jar of home made Peach Jam and I was just having some on toast for breakfast. NOTHING like home made jam. You are a woman of many talents, keeping an Inn, cooking, writing... what a full life!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Michael Ann, Yes, And since I've been writing a memoir, those sights, sounds, and smells are just flooding my memory. I used to make all my own jams and jellies and serve them in the B&B but we got so busy I didn't have time to do it anymore.

    I do have a full life and part of that is because I'm fascinated or interested in just about everything, especially since I spend so much time on the internet. There's so much information out there and I just want to know it all!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds absolutely wonderful! Victory Gardens remind me of England, I think everyone had one there. My Grandfather never stopped his, long after the war had finished! I used to do all my own pickles, preserves and baking also until I got sidelined by health issues, so now I write, but I'm still a food snob!

    ReplyDelete
  10. From one food snob to another: Elizabeth, so nice to hear from someone who has had the same experience I had. There's absolutely nothing like each fruits and vegetables right out of the garden. What a food rush! You buy the same in the supermarket and everything tastes so bland. Those who can find Farmers markets of small stores that buy from farmers are really fortunate. We have both here in Louisville.

    Thanks so much for the comment.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lots of sensory information and visuals. I can relate because my grandmother made jellies and jams. What a process! This is a rarity now because my mother doesn't do that and I probably won't when I become a grandmother either. But to have those memories of peeling peaches and eating the skin is precious.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the nice comment, Totsymae. Yeah, I was going for sights and smells alright. While I was writing, it was amazing how it all came flooding back. I could even taste the plum jam, which is still my favorite today. And you are right about so few people doing this anymore...unless you live somewhere out in the country or on a farm.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi! I’m following your blog. Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance. If you’re ever interested in a blog makeover please let me know. Take a look at my portfolio and packages when you get a chance. Hope you are having a Sweet Week.

    April
    A Mommy’s Blog Design Studio
    Join us every Friday for our Blog Hop!
    Review and Giveaway Blog Directory
    If you feature Reviews and Giveaways come add your blog here!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi April, Thanks for the offer, but I love my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love this post! My father grew and my mother canned a ton of fruits and vegetables when I was growing up. Between that and the pigs and the cows, we were set.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Nancy,
    Welcome to NOBH and so glad to "meet" you! It sounds like you had a great childhood filled with so many fun and delicious memories! I love quiche and could eat it all day so I can imagine your recipe is something I would love! Hope to see you again on NOBH! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks, Tracy, for the gracious welcome. You will definitely see me again. I'm very intrigued by bloggers.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Kelly, So glad you liked the post. It brought back so many nice memories while I was writing it.
    Sounds like you had lots of good things to eat too.

    ReplyDelete