30 October 2010

I Never Knew I'd...

Yes I know this is the theme for last week's State Department Blog Round-Up, but I'm not known for my timeliness.  For those of you who don't know about this Round-Up, a different FS blogger hosts a weekly post (Fridays) of fellow FS blogs.  Some of the weeks have themes and some are random posts that are highlighted by the host.  There are some amazing blogs out there and some amazing writers.  You should check them out.

So, in keeping with the theme of the Round-UP, and this blog, I Never Knew I'd...

enjoy sushi.  I was introduced to it about 23 years ago and that was enough for me at that time, but now I really like it.  I'm not sure what changed, but now I will voluntarily eat sushi.

eat fish 3-4 times a week.  Well, not now, but when we lived in Iceland.  We ate salmon a couple times every week and I have to tell you, my hair and nails never looked so good!

have kids who will eat pretty much anything.  And I mean ANYTHING!  I had always hoped I would and now I do.  This makes the FS life style a whole lot easier!

blog.  About food.  But I do.  And so does my daughter (joeatingraw.blogspot.com).  I guess it runs in the family.

have a husband who loves to cook.  Especially after the first meal he "cooked" for me while we were dating.  He's come a long way Baby!  He also looks hot in an apron!

make my own ice cream or bread.  Yes you can buy these, but the home-made versions are sooooooo good and so worth the effort.

go off topic.  Well yes I knew that this would happen because it always does.  I did know that joining the FS would be an adventure.  What I didn't know is just how much of a community it is, but now I do.  And it is awesome!

23 October 2010

A New Tradition

Let me begin by saying that I love food.  Good food.  And I love a nice glass (or two...) of wine.  A good, full-bodied wine.  I also love my family and friends. Now add those things together and I'm in heaven!  The dilemma I now face is how to hold this combination together as we depart in two short weeks for our first overseas post!

I am fully aware that I can get good food and good wine pretty much anywhere in the world.  This is a good thing given the whole Foreign Service "worldwide availability" requirement.  I am also willing to admit that I have quite an appetite and am willing to try new foods.  Lucky for me, my husband and my children are of the same mind when it comes to food.  The difficulty lies in the family and friends part of the equation.

Our immediate families are on the East Coast and, while they love to travel and visited us while we were in Iceland, they will no longer be just down the road.  Our friends are a little more geographically wide-spread (talk about "worldwide availability"), but we are again faced with the bulk of them not being geographically convenient.  Which brings me to one of the benefits of our new post.  Two families with whom we became very friendly in Iceland have relocated to Norway.  I haven't seen these friends since the summer of 2009 so I'm over due for some serious face time.   

Which now brings me to starting a new tradition.  I was reading a foodie magazine recently and saw this great article about a woman who had an open house luncheon every week.  She and her husband issued a standing invitation to all their friends and family to their house every Sunday.  The author of the article got the idea from the Sunday dinners her mother-in-law held.  I LOVE this idea!  What a great way to combine three of the things I love about life.  I know for a fact that I can get some awesome seafood in Norway and I assume that I can also get some great wines there as well.  Throw in the friendly faces on the ground and we're in a prime position to start the new tradition.  What is even better?  This is a tradition that will be easy to bring with us on our worldwide availability!

13 October 2010

Food + Family = Memories

Why is it that food always brings back memories?  Some fond and others not so much.  In looking back at my family memories, I've noticed there is always (and I mean ALWAYS) food involved.

As a child when we would visit my father's parents, the trip always included a meal at one of their favorite restaurants.  There were the Thanksgiving dinners at the New England Steakhouse or the Cock 'n Kettle which included the whole family.  Or just the non-holiday dinners at Brian's with whomever was around.  There was the trip to Anthony's Pier 4 after my grandmother's final diagnosis from Dana Farber.  And the family style dinner at some restaurant whose name I can't even remember where my grandpa ate absolutely everything.  We did eat at my grandparents' house, but my grandma was not a great cook.  That was not a surprise to anyone and certainly not to her.  She was well aware that her cooking was not the best, but that was half the fun of eating there.  What would she attempt and how bad would it be?  Dinners always started with cocktails, real ones for the adults and a Shirley Temple for me.  Man I loved those cherries!

A trip to my mother's family home always found us in the kitchen.  Just the kitchen.  Eating and drinking tea.  My gramma always had those little Entermann's frosted donuts and we could each have a couple with a cup of weak tea.  Any time someone had an upset belly, she pulled out a bag of Canada Mints from her purse.  Those always did the trick.  For special occasions she would make her famous Dynamite.  I never found out why it was called Dynamite, but it was certainly a type of chili.  When she died, one of my aunts took over making the Dynamite for our special occasions, but it just wasn't the same. Nancy tried and her Dynamite certainly was good, it just wasn't gramma's dish.  When the family outgrew my gramma's house, we started having potluck holiday parties at a local hall.  Everyone would bring their favorite dish, and boy that opens up a slew of memories!

I love these memories, even the sad ones, and can pinpoint certain milestones in my life to the meals that were consumed at those times.  There was the law school graduation dinner at Barretts, the engagement dinner at the Ritz, the martinis at Boston's in FLA the day my grandma died.  Never mind the meal served at my wedding!

I've noticed that the memories I'm creating with my husband and children are following the same sort of pattern. Friday night when we missed our plane home to visit family, Princess started crying.  Not because we missed our flight, but because we would not being having dinner at a new restaurant with Grandma and Papa that night!  Food is such a part of my life that at my wedding shower, the guests all brought their favorite recipe which went into a recipe box for me.

Visits with my parents usually include a meal at one of their favorite restaurants.  Dinners at home always start with cocktail hour.  Real ones for the adults and Shirley Temples for Princess and The Boy.  Visits with my mother-in-law usually revolve around her kitchen.  Just the kitchen.  Eating and drinking tea.  Nana doesn't have the Entermann's frosted donuts, but she usually has her homemade Irish bread, which quite frankly is much better than anything store-bought.

I love these memories too and I've noticed that my kids are able to pinpoint their memories to the meals that were consumed at the time.  There was that time that Grandma and Papa took Princess and The Boy to a fancy-schmancy dinner and the kids had to get dressed up; the time Princess took Grandma and Papa to the Sushi Train in Reykjavik; and the time that Nana made them Daddy's favorite pancakes for breakfast the morning after a sleep-over.  Just based on the comments I've overheard from Princess and The Boy, I think they will love these memories too!