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?