Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Syncretic Food Culture – Part 1

Michael Pollan seems to have a clear picture of what his ancestors ate and what we need to get back to. But what is my food culture? It's a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, with a huge dollop of the food-fads-du-jour.

Mom’s from a tidewater family, so on our frequent vacations to the seashore, while most headed right for the sands, mom and grandma headed for the local fish market. During our stay at the efficiency hotel, we ate “home-made” crab cakes, ocean fish, shrimp and whole fried soft-shell crab. We rarely fished ourselves, and always from a borrowed hook. As a hot young babe in a bikini, I was often offered food, beer and strangely, fishing gear while combing the beach merely looking for seashells. Grandma always knew how to handle whatever I caught, but she did reserve comment about any of the guys.

And then there was the unlimited saltwater taffy, and the huge bag of peanuts that only lasted as long as they did because they had to be shelled first. Grandpa taught me how to shell peanuts. He opened the first one, and then I was on my own. This was traumatic. It took me a long time to figure it out.

On the drive back home we bought a Smithfield ham. I have never tasted a real Smithfield ham. They were always to be used as gifts.

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