For the love of fries

4.29.10 § 5 Comments

I love that some of my strongest memories have to do with food.  I can barely remember my Grandma Oni, but I do remember sitting at the table, waiting for her chicken spaghetti.  Or, as I’m pretty sure I called it, chicken sketti.  One of my favorite foods, fried okra, will always remind me of my other grandmother and of cornbread being flipped out of a hot cast iron skillet onto the table before everyone dove in, breaking it apart with their hands.  And of course, I’ll never forget the first date I went on in college where I tried sushi for the first time.

I didn’t even realize how many food-related memories I had until I sat down to write this and they all came flooding into my mind.  I could probably write about food memories all night long.  But right now, I want to share one in particular.

I was with a friend earlier this evening, discussing his aspirations to open a burger joint as his next business venture. If you know me, you’ll understand why talk of burgers quickly turned to talk of fries.  I told him that his place better have awesome fries, because honestly, what is the point of a burger without good fries?  Anyway, this conversation about fries is what triggered tonight’s trip down memory lane.

I told my friend about how when I get french fries at McDonalds, which I love, I always ask them to make them without salt.  Because this way, they have to make a fresh batch.  This is something I learned from my mother.  I used to get so embarrassed when she would order fries with no salt as we pulled up to the drive-thru.  But as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that nine times out of ten, this is the only way to get McDonalds fries that live up to their potential.  The only embarrassing thing is when they don’t give you any salt packets and then you have to ask for them.  But believe me, it’s worth it.

However, before I was old enough to either be embarrassed or be in awe of my mother’s brilliance, I wouldn’t eat the fries because they were actually too hot.  Or more accurately, I would want a fry and eat it anyway, burn my mouth and start whining.  My mom’s solution?  She would place one or two fries on this tiny little ledge that was created when you aimed her Toyota’s air conditioning vent all the way toward the floor.  That way, the fry could sit there and the cold air would blow right on it until it was cool enough to eat.  It was such a simple act, but looking back on it now, it means so much that she pulled out her Macgyver-like skills to figure out how to cool my fries so I could eat them (and so she wouldn’t have to listen to the whimpers when I burned my tongue).

That is why food memories are important.  They’re about love.  Not all of them of course, but the best ones.  Thanks mom, for teaching me how fries are best and for cooling them down when I was too young to handle their awesomeness.

I’ve never really solicited feedback on this blog, but if you’ve gotten this far in this post, do me a favor and share one of your food memories in the comments.  Remember folks, sharing is caring.

All my love,
Tyla

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§ 5 Responses to For the love of fries

  • Laura says:

    Growing up, it was always a really special day when my mother would bake bread. My mom has, for as long as I can remember, made her own whole wheat bread from scratch. She’s very old school about it and has never used a bread maker. As part of her recipe, she uses honey to add a little sweetness. I was never allowed many sweets or candies as a child, because my mom’s very health-conscious. So, I would wait and wait until she’d added the honey to the dough. Then, grandly she’d hand me the spoon she’d just used to measure in the honey. She told me I was helping her clean up, because I’d lick the spoon completely clean (of course, she still washed the spoon in soap and water, but I didn’t figure that out for a few years).

    And then, an hour or so later, I’d enjoy a fresh slice of bread with a little butter and cinnamon while my mom washed the rest of the dishes. Even now, at 26, my mom still gives me the honey spoon. Tyla, you’re right, the best food stories often are about love.

    • tyla says:

      Laura I love your story! I think its so great when adults pretend that kids are helping them in the kitchen. I have a friend who used to let her niece hold the bowl on the mixer still (even though it’s locked into place)…so sweet.

  • sally says:

    I can’t really think of anything great, but I’ve got one.

    My mother never taught me how to cook (she thought it’d distract me from becoming a wealthy intellectual), so I had to teach myself. I relied on Food Network shows, Rachael Ray cookbooks, and my boyfriend. Our first cooking experiences together included spaghetti with sweet sausage and a tomato sauce with his special ingredient. I think that dish made me fall in love with him – it was SO GOOD! I had no idea why the sauce was so yummy until he confessed, days later, that he put cinnamon in it, which is basically my favorite spice ever.

    Since then, this has become one of our staple dishes to cook together. I can never seem to get it as great as he does and we’ve switched the sausage to ground turkey since he’s been more health-conscious. But whenever he makes the “classic,” it’s a good night at my place!

  • Lauren Silver says:

    My mom was not too big on cooking, and did not bake at all. In my world, baking was the absolute most wonderful thing that anyone could do.

    One of my elementary school friends’ mother baked cookies all the time – heaven to me. One day I went to her house after school and her mother set us free in the kitchen, unsupervised, to make Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookies. Not only did we make the cookies all by ourselves…but for some reason, we decided the best way to make them was to USE OUR HANDS – no utensils needed. Baking the cookies ourselves was wonderful, but the act of using our hands to stir the dough was magical and the delicious licking of our fingers left us giggling for a long, long time.

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