My family loves food. All of us. I think we secretly mistrust anyone who does not. We love to eat it, shop for it, prepare it, discuss it, and plan for future meals while still in the middle of one.
Food is even our gift of choice. As a teenager, I had the chance to visit Paris and returned home with a wheel of camembert and a small tin of foie gras for my father; he welcomed these gifts as if they were precious stones.
After the glow and warmth of the Holiday table, the following days can seem rather dark and gloomy. The winter in Canada is long and cold. While most dietitians and nutritionists frown on “food as comfort”, I embrace it (which might explain the few extra pounds).
When the weather is foreboding, I turn to my food memories for instant warmth.
My food memories’ journal was started when, having depleted the batteries on both my kindle and ipod and faced with a few more hours to kill before boarding a plane back home, I started jotting down all of my favorite food memories.
My earliest comfort food was a breakfast dish cooked by my maternal grandmother, my beloved, saintly Teta Teeta (teta is the informal word for grandmother in Arabic).
She would fry vermicelli in butter until they browned (but not too dark), place them in a shallow bowl to which she would add warm milk and sugar. Just enough milk to submerge the noodles but not enough to make it soupy. The smell of the sugar and the milk and the chewiness of the noodles were a perfect mix. Listening to one of her stories while I ate my breakfast was equally comforting.
I always wondered if other Egyptian grandmothers made this dish; as far as I can tell, this seems to have been a family tradition but I could be wrong.
This dish was not an everyday staple but a happy indulgence and not dictated by a set schedule. I never figured out when Teta decided it was a day for vermicelli and milk but it set the mood for the rest of the day. I was never a milk drinker, I wonder if that was her clever and delicious way of ensuring I was getting my calcium fix!
I would love to hear about one of your food memories, leave me a comment and don’t forget the recipe 🙂
Have a great day,