I learned my way around the kitchen from my mother, who was a wonderful cook both because of her skill and her adventurousness. I still use most of her pots and utensils, not to mention her spice jars (and in fact I think I still have some of her spices.)
While both my parents embraced the ethnicity-numbing melting pot and post war suburbia, she continued to cook "ethnic" throughout her life. I never even heard of frozen french fries, or knew that real people actually ate green beans baked in canned mushroom soup or put mini marshmallows in salad until I was in college. I remember the day in my junior year when roommate pulled the frozen french fries out of the freezer and spread them on a baking sheet. I asked what they were, and she looked at me like I had two heads (actually, she always looked at me like that, in her safe little suburban worldview I did have two heads.)
Because of this, one of my favorite things to eat as a little girl was tv dinners. The old fashioned Swanson ones in the divided aluminum trays. These were my main experience of "American" food. My mother never made hamburgers-- she made Greek or Swedish meatballs. Forget fried chicken; our chicken was Greek, too, marinated in lemon and oregano. Steaks? Never-- Julia Child's best boeuf bourguignon, but learned, not from Julia, but from her Provençal landlady in Aix after the war. And of course, french fries were, well, fried.
This week, after being sick for several days, I relented on the cooking and told Bill to just buy some canned and frozen meals, and he bought a couple of "tv dinners" multi-culti style. Swanson, move over, this company makes Chicken Tikka-Masala. And it was pretty good.
2 days ago