It must grow exponentially from generation to generation. My oldest living antecedents that I personally knew were my maternal grandmother and grandfather. In particular, my grandfather was 50 when my mother was born in 1937. Late baby. He was raised on a farm and his tastebuds developed before the proliferation of pizza and Italian food in general after WWII and could never bring himself to eat it. I couldn’t imagine my life without Italian food!
As children we were raised in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and call it for what it was: a barrio. This gave my sister and I leg up on expanded palates. Our favorite food then, and still is, Mexican; in particular, CaliMexi food. Also, as a young single parent, my mother would foray into the culinary unknown with Helen Gurley Brown’s “Single Girl’s Cookbook” and some highly inappropriate erotic cookbooks, one that featured phallus shaped cookies which I remember helping my mother bake when I was around 7 or 8 years old. It was the late 60’s and early 70’s rife with free love and self-expression, yada-yada. My mother finally settled on meatballs. Swedish meatballs, Italian meatballs, German meatballs (they even had raisins!) as her darlings of the kitchen.
As a young woman, I joined the military and was sent to Europe. I discovered Greek food on the beach in Leiston, Indonesian food and Indian food in Amsterdam and Spanish (NOT MEXICAN) food in London. Since I’ve been, England’s food scene has been revived. but while I was there, it was slim pickings. I do feel compelled, though, to mention the wonderful pork pies and sausage rolls and high tea with wonderful pastries and lunch at the local pub featuring big hunks of Cheddar served with fresh crusty bread and Branston pickle on the side.
My daughter, who I always encouraged to try anything when it comes to food, went to the California Culinary Academy and furthered her gastronomic experience way beyond anything I’d ever thought of it. Since then, I’ve tried mussels, savory jams, more root veggies than I had known existed, while she’s eaten foods that I wouldn’t have thought were considered food, such as sea cucumber. Well, someone must have though it was food to name it that, but yikes! So finally, four years after her graduation, I allowed her to make me…cold soup. Inspired by Food Follower’s blog entry, I turned to her and said, “Let’s have gazpacho.” She almost fell out of her chair. She used the same recipe she had made while working for a very nice restaurant in Loomis. We took beautiful pictures of the soup and accompanying bruschetta and my mouth watered in anticipation.
And…it was okay. I lived. I’ll eat it again if it’s made, but I won’t be requesting it. However, it does make me wonder, with the world becoming smaller, what’s on the culinary horizon for my grandchildren (if I ever have any!). What will their traditional Sunday dinner be?