Happening In My Kitchen
Even though I went to university in upstate New York I had never had Spiedies (this Bighamton NY delicacy) until I met fellow Professor Steve Kucera at University of Tampa. He hosted small get-togethers at his home and inevitably served spiedies. These events we special to me. It was a time where I questioned my roots a lot. The food was always homey and everyone would talk about where home had been before Florida. I started making them in my home and they became part of our family tradition. We make them with chicken but any protein will do.
Mama Gina's Lasagna
When I was in high school my dear friend Gina (Granddaughter on Mama Gina) and I spent countless days at each other's homes. The traditional Italian food served in her home of extended family is one of my deepest memories of that time. That and sitting in her room listening to hair bands but I digress. I have lost touch with Gina but that connection lives on through this recipe. Mama Gina's lasagna is now part of the tradition I pass through my own family and friends. This photo is from the first one my 19 year old made on his own while serving with The AmeriCorps.
Jack Daniels Marinade
Lauren Lindheimer was one of the best cooks / entertainers I knew in Tampa. (Sorry Natalia and Shelley.) Lauren is beautiful and graceful in both manner and soul. I vividly remember her preparing this, doing a quick shrimp marination, then tossing them on the grill. Some fresh greens and warm bread followed and we sat and talked about life, cooking, and children. Lauren and her family left Tampa for great adventures. I am not sure where they are now. This marinade, we use mainly on pork, has become a staple in our home and hearts. I think of Lauren every time I make it.
Rocky Bridges and his wife Kathleen visited my parents at Three Maples Farm one summer. She made mashed cauliflower promising it would be the perfect substitute for mashed potatoes. She walked me through the prep. We spent time chit-chatting about family, art, and watched the pending sunset over a field of soy beans out of my mother's kitchen window. The food was amazing and Kathleen was right. I am not sure if she remembers that evening; or even the visit but I do. We never became close. I cannot remember if we actually ever meaningfully spoke again after that. But I remember that night and mashed cauliflower is now a staple in our home. Thank you Kathleen.
Who knew my 13 year old's science class would start the habit of fresh baked bread; certainly not me. With the goal of calculating the carbon footprint of something tangible, the science lab of the week involved baking bread. In the name of science my not-so-little anymore one forged ahead with the lab experiment doing something he has watched me do for years. On his own, with careful measuring and instruction following he produced a delicious loaf of bread. It tasted better than any bread he had before. When it was devoured, he began to make another batch. This time we did it together and not for science but with love.