Posted by: njbrown | August 18, 2009

More memories of food pre-Julia

August 18, 2009

I “came out of the closet” last night and told my sister that I am blogging. She sent me some of her food memories from our youth:

“I remember Aunt Dot’s delicious “stuffing balls” that she would make at Thanksgiving and Christmas (and which I’ve never been able to replicate), mother’s wonderful (all day) baked beans, and baked ham, which she would baste with ginger ale and nutmeg and allspice and stud with cloves. I remember momma’s incinerated meat loaf because that was the way daddy liked it, and making Chef Boyardee pizza on Fridays (some of the first fast food?) and eating it in front of the Friday night fights. From momma’s dinner parties I remember her beautiful molded butter pats and wonderful corn muffins made in a heavy cast iron pan, and her molded salads. I remember being pressed into service (literally) and being taught the proper sides from which to serve and clear for guests. I remember my first “important” meal — pheasant under glass at the Royal Hawaiian. I remember lots of inexpensive meals, which must have been a priority — creamed tuna over toast, hamburgers (but never steak), pork chops (and momma made wonderful stuffed ones — do you remember?), plain home cooking. And I remember the same things you do about momma’s cooking by feel and intuition. She was just a natural.”

The trip to the Royal Hawaiian was to celebrate my tenth (I think) birthday. Our father, a navy chaplain, was stationed on Oahu with a naval air squadron from 1952 to 1954. In 1953, there were no high-rise hotels on Waikiki, and the Royal Hawaiian was the landmark, and to my memory, the most elegant of the hotels. I remember having pheasant under glass, but it looked like a small, plain chicken breast covered with a glass dome. I don’t remember any attractive garnish. Better than the food on that occasion was going into the ladies’ room through ropes of “pearls.” The seats inside were covered in coral velvet, and it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

When I first had Julia’s recipe for flank steak and saw she used teriyaki
sauce in the merinade, it brought back memories of my first teriyaki steak. Our family had taken an LST from Oahu to the big island of Hawaii where we stayed in an army rest camp on the side of Kilauea for a week. This was the first real vacation I can remember our having. As part of the experience, we were taken to swim in the Queen’s Bath, and then for a barbecue on the black sand beach. One of the things that was served was teriyaki steak, and I thought it was absolutely delicious. I don’t think I had it again until Julia taught her flank steak.



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