Food Memories

by Cate on January 12, 2007

Food has the unique ability to instantly transport you back to another time and place, conjuring up all sorts of different memories. I think that’s one of the reasons I love cooking so much … you have the ability to tie a meal to an important occasion, a special event, or even just to bring up memories of family time. Whether it’s a casual dinner, or an all-out event, you are creating lasting memories.

I was so not motivated to make dinner tonight, but since we got take-out last night, and are going to be going out tomorrow and Saturday night, I persevered. I ended up throwing something together that just worked. Don’t you love when that happens? I had bought a rotisserie chicken this afternoon, and had planned to use it in some way. I sauteed some diced onions with a little butter and then added pieces of the chicken to warm it up. I had some leftover red pepper from the weekend and threw that in, and then some hunks of bleu cheese I had. Mmmmm, love warm, melty soft bleu cheese. And that’s where the food memories come in.

When I lived and worked in Madison, before I met The Husband, there was a new lunch restaurant that opened up, On a Roll. They had fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients in all their offerings, and the salads and sandwiches were divine, one more drool-worthy than the next. I fell in love with a sandwich that they had, and I wish I could remember what they called it, but no matter. It was a buttery, flaky croissant stuffed with a piece of warm grilled chicken, then crispy pieces of bacon and warm bleu cheese. So, so, good, my mouth is watering as I type this.

Working nearby and visiting often, I befriended the owner, and loved to go by to see what he was coming up with in the kitchen … a curry chicken salad with grapes, soft oatmeal raisin cookies, vegetable couscous, yum. When The Husband and I started dating, I took him over there for lunch one day, and he loved the sandwich as much as I did, and it became a regular for him too.

Around this time, my sister was in college. We’d go up a couple times a year to visit her, leaving Friday night after work, driving through the night to eek out as much of the weekend as possible. Before leaving, we’d pick up a Car Picnic lunch from On a Roll, with our favorite sandwiches, masses of homemade cookies (and extra for my sister) and couscous salad, snacking and chatting all the way up, deep into the dark night.

I had completely forgotten all about those sandwiches until I threw the crumbled bleu cheese in the stir fry pan tonight. I think a weekend visit to On a Roll might be in order.

I took the stir fry I had made and put it in sandwich rolls that I had toasted and smeared with garlic butter, and then I topped it with fresh sliced avocado. Delish. And in a pure coincidence, as The Husband was eating dinner, he started to say, “This reminds me of…” I thought he was going to mention the sandwiches from On a Roll, but instead it conjured up an entirely different food memory for him.

There is a wonderful farmer’s market in Madison and I used to go every Thursday after work religiously. When I got home, I’d take a baguette, smear it with garlic butter and toast it. Then I’d take fresh tomatoes from my farmer’s market visit, slice them up and put it on the bread, followed by slices of gorgonzola. Then back under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese was all soft and melty. Mmmmm, simply divine.

OK, enough food memories from me tonight. Now it’s your turn. Share some of your food memories. Go on, I know you have them.

On a Roll
50-1/2 Main Street
Madison, NJ 07940
(973) 822-3644.

Until tomorrow…

A year ago today … flip pops.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire January 12, 2007 at 3:48 am

That’s funny…tonight we had dinner guests and my roommate, unknowlingly, picked out a recipe that we made ALL the time when I was little…chicken roll ups, nothing fancy but something little kids LOVE!

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Cate January 12, 2007 at 4:13 am

LOL, that IS funny. Now we’re going to need the recipe, especially if it’s so kid-friendly. ;)

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Brilynn January 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm

When I lived in Brisbane I discovered the New Farm farmer’s market. It happened every other Saturday morning and I love to get up early, skip breakfast, take the citycat to the market and stuff my face with all the free samples. Who can refuse wine at 9am? Not me, especially when it’s accompanied by a nice piece of cheese and maybe some fresh bread. I miss that market.

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Foodie Bride January 12, 2007 at 11:14 pm

Oh, my. You made me remember chocolate gravy.

Growing up, the before-church breakfast in our house on Sundays was always chocolate gravy, biscuits, and scrambled eggs. Our friends always reacted the same way the first time they slept over: they wrinkled their nose and said “Chocolate gravy?!” The only gravy they knew was the slightly gray mixture with sausage chunks. Those poor, deprived children :)

I’m inspired. I called Mom and got the recipe this afternoon. I know what I’m making for breakfast tomorrow and I can’t wait!

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Michele Lane January 13, 2007 at 2:30 am

I was raised in Anchorage Alaska (an AMAZING place to learn to love food) and came from a very very unadventurous family when it came to food. In college I got as barista job at a new resturant whose chef had escaped from a big fancy resturant to cook his own way. I had little to NO cooking experience, but he saw “a chef” and taught me about food. He showed me cheeses and different varieties of bread and herbs that I had never even heard of let alone tasted. I will never never smell gorgonzola without thinking of him.He made a cajun chicken sandwich there that had roasted chicken, gorgonzola, roasted red pepper mayonaisse and micro greens that I WILL recreate someday.

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Claire January 13, 2007 at 2:48 am

:-) You’ll get it but it will be without pictures because of oven problems! They tasted fine but didn’t look so good.

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