Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Love Food

I love food. Shocking, I know!

I've briefly blogged about food before. I often reblog pictures of food on my tumblr. I occasionally mention food on twitter. I frequently post photos of food I'm eating on instagram.

I come from Italian and Greek family where we've bonded around plates of pasta and spit-roasted lamb since forever.

Some of my favorite memories of Christmas Eve involve sitting outside with my cousins with plastic cutlery, no table and paper plates filled with warm pasta al forno (made by one of the nonna's), next to a few slices of honey ham, a few spoonfuls of extra cheesy scalloped potatoes, a few morsels of roasted vegetables and a ton of conversation about whatever's going on in our lives at that moment. My cousin, Matthew, and I both agree that tonight will be the night where we finally succeed in leaving no leftovers by the end of the night, although the result always suggests otherwise. Dessert is always creme caramel - a traditional favorite provided by my great aunty Mary at almost every family occasion for as long as I can remember - and Norma's Christmas speciality; pudding with some warm cream poured over the top and a spoonful of ice cream.

When I remember being sick as a child, I don't remember how long it took me to get to sleep with a blocked nose, or how many days off I had to take, or what medication I was prescribed by my doctor. I remember my nonna giving me a mug of warm milk with a spoonful of honey to help soothe my sore throat. I remember having slices of toast with ricotta cheese on top and a coffee for breakfast. I remember my mum making tons of rizogalo for me to eat throughout the day. And I still, as a 28 year old, crave these things as soon as I need to take a day off work for being sick.

My first thoughts when Orthodox Easter comes around are about eating magiritsa after midnight mass on the Saturday night/Sunday morning, cracking red-colored hard-boiled eggs at the church with my Greek family while standing outside in the cold because the church is tiny and there are hundreds of Greek's trying to get in, eating spit-roast lamb with rice and vegetables on the Sunday afternoon to the point of nearly exploding, and spending the next week or two eating a couple of slices of tsoureki with every coffee (and sometimes just having a coffee, so I can eat more tsoureki).

When it's time for the Christian/Catholic Easter, I think about eating fish and lentil soup with my mum and nonna on Good Friday.

Before he passed away, one of my nonno's favorite places to eat out at was the buffet at the Templestowe Hotel. The year after he passed away, on what would have been his 78th birthday, my nonna, my parents, my brother and my uncles and aunties and their children, and myself of course, all enjoyed a buffet dinner at his favorite place in his memory.

Nonna's riso al forno. My girlfriend's lamb stew (the first thing she ever cooked for me) and shepherd's pie. Mum's lamb chops with okra. Dad's soutzoukakia and seafood platter of calamari, scallops and mussels. Whenever I get the chance to request a meal, these are what come to mind first.

My girlfriend and I have had countless conversations about food; what to cook for ourselves, what to cook for our friends and family on XYZ occasion, what our favorite restaurants are, what our favorite childhood meals were, why I hate green peas and corn kernels (but not corn on the cob) so much.

I'm not sure what the entire point of this blog post is, other than to just talk about food. Maybe there isn't one. I was just thinking about how food is firmly ingrained into my life and memories. I may not remember the conversations, but I remember where I was, who I was with and what we ate. It's not just the food that I love, but also the memories that accompany the food.

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