Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tastes Like Home

It seems that certain holidays and seasons brings specific memories of home to mind. I’m sure it’s the same with you.

Not long ago one of my blogging friends Geggie, introduced me to another food blogger, Megan. Megan was putting together an interesting blog exchange called, “Taste Like Home”. You can read all about how she became inspired here.

I was mildly interested in this exchange idea, but hesitant to participate – because you know "Mit" and “mailing” go together like "ice-cubes" and "hell".

Then I examined the photo a little closer – and realized the products were from Anderson, Chico, Orland, and Red Bluff – all places near where I grew up.

Immediately I was transported to a Northern California summer. What “Tastes like Home” to me in the summertime?

Bartlett Pears – picked warm out of the orchard on Railroad Avenue

Freestone Peaches – sitting in a lug box keeping cool in the garage

Cantaloupe, Cassava, and Honey Dew Mellon – (I just the smell – I don’t like to eat them! But they were always around 'cause my dad's customers were always sending him home with them fresh from the fields.)

Bing Cherries – I recall my brother (Too Tall) picking them out of Mrs. Smith's backyard, and then us standing over the white porcelain sink and watching the discarded pits stain it purple – then using Comet to scrub them away.

Kiwis – Gridley, Ca. was one of the first places outside of Australia and New Zealand to grow these furry fruits.

I took the plunge, and joined the "Taste Like Home" exchange and I’ve been matched up with a partner, who I can’t wait to get to know better. The title of her blog, “Warm Olives and Cocktails”, makes me want to sit in her kitchen while grazing on variety after variety while sipping a cocktail or two! I have this perfect image already of her kitchen and sunlight flooding the counter-top as we chat away. (God, I hope she likes talkers!)

She lives in the Bay Area another bonus – as we all know San Francisco is my personal version of “Heaven-on-Earth”. I love “The City” (that’s how you refer to it in California – just as “The City”) even more than I love Phoenix.

I’ve been in love with The City since my first visit – as a young child – maybe four or five years old. We went to a relatives flat to see their newborn child (Well - THEY wanted to see the baby. I could have cared less). I remember being fascinated with the concept of a “storied” house – with no front-yard or backyard – and people living above and below you. Of course, their flat was built in the 20’s or 30’s – and had the most amazing high ceilings and crown moldings. Not to mention bay windows. I can remember as we came into the city – my dad saying, “We’re going to see the ocean Mit! Do you want to see the ocean?” And the more he talked about it – the more excited I became to see this thing called the “ocean” (and I have no idea why crossing the Bay Bridge into the City - or driving along Port Isabella and the Golden Gate Fields didn't count as "seeing" the ocean). We dipped over the last hill on Geary … and there it was – the Pacific. Parking the car, we walked down to the water to dip my toes in. Maybe it was because I'd already seen Lake Tahoe – or the fact it was a cloudy day, but I still recall being so nonplused about the ocean. It was gray (meh), Tahoe was this brilliant BLUE. There were waves (meh). I’d seen those before on the lake, and it tasted LIKE CRAP. Fortunately – I changed my mind about the ocean when we went to Bodega Bay a few years later for a vacation. THEN I fell in love – and have been smitten with the Pacific ever since.

(Sorry for the detour down a non-food-memory-lane)

Now I’m trying to figure out what “Tastes like Home” here in the south that can be easily shipped west. In my treks to the Raleigh and Durham Farmers Markets I’m going to be looking for Chutney, Honey, and Pecans.

Maybe … hmm. Peaches are so “Georgia” not North Carolina, besides California is the number one producer of peaches – so peach jam and jelly would be nothing special for her. Maybe chow-chow? Vinegar based B-B-Que sauce? Stone ground grits from a local mill?

If YOU were going to send someone a “Taste of Home”, from where you currently reside, what would you include?


Anonymous said...

Boiled peanuts ? Or just peanuts ?
Now, if you want something from "home-CA" I could arrange that very easily !!! tp

Anonymous said...

Chicken fried steak! Good God almighty, I LOVE me some chicken fried steak! Oh...and individual slices of yellow cheese wrapped in cellophane.



MitMoi said...

TIG you cannot MAIL Chicken Fried Steak!, and I think that nasty cheese wrapped in cellophane is (unfortunately) sold across the US - there is nothing "regional" "home-like" about it! lol

Talla Paula ... but I want to see what someone will CHOSE for me. Also? I've lived through enough fruit transports that I'm kind of leary about them. (remembers apples and kiwis together in one package)

G Liz said...

very easy...MOONSHINE!

Anonymous said...

Egads!!! I missed a few key words in that question, didn't I? Okay, this is my do over answer. Let's see...a jar of fried apples, a bag of boiled peanuts, a bottle of vinegar based BBQ sauce, and of course, a few tins of Moravian cookies! How's that?

MitMoi said...

g liz ... like I'd ever let THAT out of MY HOUSE?

TIG Much better! I knew you could do it!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't thinking about fresh fruit - I was thinking more along the lines of walnuts, almonds or jars of pomegranite, plum, or some kind of jelly. OR, something from Sunsweet - now there's a novel idea ! French Kisses !!! tp

CG said...

Don't forget hushpuppy mix!!!

And from Rochester? Red hots, garbage plates, apples, ice win and CHEESE.

Of course Rochester isn't my HOME.

Robert said...

Somewhere between Rochester and Syracuse is a magic line that divides those that love garbage plates from the rest of us.

CG said...

Route 14.

Megan said...

We go to Bodega Bay every summer. We camp at Duran Park at the very end by the jette. This year I'll be going in August and again to a wine makers dinner in September. I love love Bodega Bay!!!
Cant wait to see what you get in your exchange package.

Kate said...

Hi there! What a great post -- Megan pointed me to it because I overlooked it earlier. You are more than welcome to pull up a chair, I'm sure we'd gab all night long over some cocktails, or at the very least, head into the City and do it there.

In the meantime, I really need your name and mailing address. I think my emails to you are going into the Black Hole ... so please ping me!