LAST YEAR I traveled to New York and set out on a mission to find a neighborhood Chinese restaurant that supposedly had “the best” steamed crab and pork dumplings. When I arrived, I knew that the experience would be authentic. Fortunately, my Chinese friend had written the exact name of the dumplings, Xiao Long Bao, so I was only required to point to the item on the menu. When the dumplings arrived nestled in a bamboo steamer with unfamiliar utensils and sauces, I briefly panicked.
After taking a moment to observe the more experienced diners and their approach to delicately and politely consuming the dumplings, I mustered the energy for my first attack. Briny, earthy flavors from the sea paired with salty pork and exotic spices filled my mouth and juices dripped down my chin and rolled down to my elbows. A food memory was made!
I can tell the story of my life through food experiences and memories. My cousin, Tish, and I began experimenting in the kitchen at an early age with oven-fried chicken rolled in crushed potato chips. This was not our best effort and our skills have vastly improved over time. Years later, when we were in graduate school, my dear high school friends, Nancy Gaden Jackson, Debbie Duke Morvant and I formed a cooking and dinner club together, “Les Trois Petits Cochons.” We perfected traditional New Orleans Creole basics such as BBQ shrimp and Chicken a la Bonne Femme. Quite a step up from the fried chicken!
I asked my foodie friends to share a few of their recent favorite food memories and bests:
The best thing I cooked in 2014 has to be the strawberry pavlova for the Downton Abbey cooking with friends party. Peggy loves the truffle fries, fish tacos and pulled pork sandwiches from Lola Deux food truck. Carol Lapari loved the farm to table dinner at Bartlett Farms prepared by Ristorante Del Porto. Darnell had an orgasmic food experience at the newly re-opened Brennan’s with the exquisite foie gras and squab soup. Carol Miles loves Carmo’s and Peggy’s recipe for Fish en Papilotte.
What is the best food memory you have from the last year or from your past? Do you have a cherished family recipe? Did you cook or eat something recently that was “the best” and that you want to share with our readers?
Go online to the Foodies and Friends section of SophisticatedWoman.com and share your “best” food memories and recipes with us. Your food memory could be featured in Sophisticated Woman Magazine! You will also find many more blog posts and recipes from Jan Robert.