Comfort Foods. What are yours? Lately this editor has been eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches, English muffin pizzas, chocolate milk. I wonder if current events affect eating habits. Nostalgia for the good old days hits me upside the head.
Youíve moved from where you used to live.
You cannot find something at the store. You believe what you seek is a staple, and critical to your happiness. What do you do?
The answer is at the bottom of this article.
SMALL TOWN, SMALL WORLD
Until four years ago I lived within the same state, within the same hundred miles. It was a small state. Not as small as Rhode Island, but close. Massachusetts. No longer the Bay Colony, which oozed up through Maine and bumped into Canada, Massachusetts had all kinds of Olde New England types of things. Shoppes. Counties named after the Motherland: Hampshire, Essex, Hamden, Middlesex.
People who donít travel much tend to think their small world is somehow more real, or Ďrightí than the world at large. Just as people in the Southwest might really know the subtleties and various fiery qualities of peppers, people in the Northeast know what Ďrealí lobster is supposed to look like and taste like.
Real lobster, for example is not Rock Lobster Tails, or Caribbean lobster, or langoustines. Itís got big fat claws. Unfortunately it has to be cooked live. Yowch. Grown people in fine restaurants or lobster shacks wear bibs. General shell carnage ensues.
I took fresh fried clams (with bellies) for granted. I never heard of wall-eyed pike or tilapia or mahi mahi.
FIRST FEELING OF SOMETHING BEING WRONG
My childhood friend, Arlene, who has a sister in Atlanta, asked me within weeks of our move. ďSo? What do you miss? What canít you get?Ē She enjoys tormenting me.
Since mostly I couldnít even get to the stores quite yet, had no bearings, and was pretty confused in general, I didnít understand the question yet. The Truth of Moving Far From Home and not being able to find The Good and Familiar, hadnít happened.
THEN. When I looked for something simple at Winn-Dixie, Kroger, Publix, Ingles...the horrible truth became evident. These people did not know what a hot dog roll should look like.
It should have naked bread on the sides, that could be buttered and grilled, not look like crust all around. If you want a tuna roll or clam roll or lobster roll, you need these kinds of buns as holders. You just do. And with a hot dog, you need to squirt and spread the mustard and relish on the top of your hot dog resting nicely nested in its grilled on the sides bun. You just do. Thatís the way itís supposed to be.
BRANDS AND MEMORIES
Certain sights, sounds, and smells are tied up in our childhood and our memories. People should come out of their food closets to reveal their edible allegiances. I'd feel better about a raggle taggle bunch of us with endearing peccadilloes.
I'd find them endearing, at least. My husband thinks Iím nuts. But he drinks beer with cookies, so he doesnít get a say.
One time I mentioned coffee gelatin to someone down here. I donít drink coffee but loved Eclipse coffee syrup in milk instead of Hersheyís or Bosco when I was a kid. Still love coffee ice cream. Coffee jello with freshed whipped cream is great stuff. Few people outside of Boston have heard of it. But a Boston landmark restaurant, Durgin Park, served it all the time. People often say.... "Coffee jello? Youíre kidding, right? Eeeee of course I couldnít find any place down here where people could buy the brand that I used to buy and make.
IF YOU ARE MISSING A FOOD FROM WAY BACK WHEN
Sandy Siegel of InsideTVBiz, is the Miracle Maven of Links. Sheís got buckets of sites. I picture her strolling in various Los Angeles neighborhoods with a lovely handmade basket offering denizens of La-La Land free links to improve their lives. She is so generous by nature that e-mails from Sandy usually contain a live link to some place interesting. Between Sandy and Carol Skolnick of EclecticSpirituality who lives in NYC, and can find out where the rest of the good stuff is, I shall not go hungry or ignorant in Georgia.
Today, after admitting to a mutual penchant for chocolate Necco wafers, Sandy sent me the following link: Hometown Favorites. Motto: Step into a 50s shopping experience.
- Chocolate Necco wafers are on page 8.
- I found Plymouth Rock Coffee Gelatin.
- Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Flavored Syrup (heads up, exiled New Yorkers)
- Junket Rennet Custard Mix....I havenít seen that in years.
- Royal Pudding/ Pie Filling Dark Ďn Sweet. Canít get that down here. And itís crucial for my chocolate cream pie. No other chocolate filling is as good.
Have you thought of anything youíve been missing lately? Something edible that costs less than ten bucks?
All my good friends know how to make this peculiar person happy.
And so does Hometown Favorites.