Tag Archives: Food

Fried Pies

These are the apricot fried pies my mom used to make when I was a kid. I’ve mentioned them here before.


This is a photo taken a couple years back when she revisited the recipe in response to my nagging about wanting some. Forgive my crappy food photography.

But can’t you just taste them? The golden, buttery crust. The sweet, sticky apricot. Why have I now tortured myself so? My mom is out of town, taking care of my ailing grandmother. There is no way I’m getting a bite of these. I’ve tried recreating some of her recipes to no avail.

There are other tastes from my childhood which linger on my tongue. Granny’s backyard garden tomatoes, crimson, bursting with robust nectar. Nana’s pancake corn bread, the edges crispy and the middle a fluffy intoxication of milled corn. Nanny’s sweet rice, solidly puffed, dewy with cream and sugar, peppered with a hint of nutmeg.

Can you get I was raised in the South?

Now I’m one of those gluten-free, non-mammal eaters. Don’t hate me. My digestive system, conscience, and waist line appreciates it.

I’m grateful to have these culinary memories. I hope to provide the same. I do make a pretty mean grilled cheese for little man. And this Moroccan chicken stew. And coconut rice that tastes almost as good as Nanny’s.

What sumptuous dishes do you remember from your childhood? Have you ever tried recreating them?




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Filed under Recipes from an Unpretentious Kitchen, Yep I'm Becoming My Mother

An Empty Stomach and Good Walking Shoes

Food & wine

Let the games begin.

Today marks the last official day of one of the greatest events I’ve personally ever experienced: Disney World’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Epcot includes a “World Showcase”, or the world within a theme park.  Every few steps you enter a different country, complete with restaurants, shops, topography, architecture, and street musicians representing said country.  I am not a major theme-park person, mainly because of the crowds and possibility of being coaxed into getting on a ride that will unearth my distressing claustrophobia.  But almost every year since 1999, God, Universe, and Paycheck willing, me and hubby make the short trek to Epcot.  We missed one year for some reason and I felt a pang of emptiness for months and months afterwards.  I think I’m still having after-effects.  Although this year just might have filled that void forever. I will get to those details in a few.  But first:

What you must have, understand, and appreciate before entering the fest:

  1. An empty stomach.  I spent the week before being even more diligent about my diet and exercise.  That way I could eat with abandon and not feel guilty.  If you do not suffer from food-guilt then bully for you.  Eat your heart out, no Hail Mary required.
  2. Good walking shoes.  No, you do not have to wear your boring jogging sneakers or ugly orthopedics if your feet can get away with it.  As a lover of flip flops I chose some comfy sandals that would stay put and also allow the cool breeze to flow through my toes.
  3. A fat wallet.  Just know going in that you will spend too much money.  Disney ain’t cheap but they do it right.  Don’t be one of those assholes who takes the time to get to Disney yet still gripes about the prices.  If you want cheap then Don’t Go To Disney.

    Convenient dining

    Convenient dining.

  4. Flexibility to eat standing up, sitting on a stoop, or using the top of a trashcan as a table.  Hubby and I joke about this, but yes you will end up using one of the trashcan tops as a table.  I like to think Disney is impeccably clean, so the trashcans are probably no worse than the steps, more than likely cleaner.  And by your third sample of wine you won’t give a rip anyway.  If you do spot an empty table, which you will stand at, then consider yourself royalty.  This is a competition, really, so there’s no need to sit down and relax.  Unless you want to chill on the steps of Venice and watch a little girl twirling her purple parasol to the tune of Volare while you sip on the biggest pour of wine ever received at the festival.  It’s Italy.  Would you expect anything less?

    My view close to the little girl with the parasol. She really was adorable. But I wasn't going to be a weirdo and take a photo of her.

    My view close to the little girl with the parasol. She really was adorable. But I wasn’t going to be a weirdo and take a photo of her. So here’s a gondola mooring instead.

  5. A loose fitting shirt.  You will eat too much.  So dress accordingly.
  6. A love for food and wine.  This may seem like a given, but there are those there who don’t get the whole eat-and-drink-as-much-foreign-culinary-delights-as-you-can-partake thing.  I actually heard a woman, who was quite obese, as she was choking down a shrimp taco say to her friend, “God I can’t eat this much food.  This is just too much.”  I also noticed across from the Mexico kiosk (which served the amazing taco) that people were actually eating cheap nachos at this side-street cantina instead of the amazing shrimp tacos at the kiosk right across the street.

    This is just a snippet of what I saw regarding crazy hats. Notice the random Viking in the background. There was actually a whole group of them.

    This is just a snippet of what I saw regarding crazy hats. Notice the random Viking in the background. There was actually a whole group of them.

  7. A ridiculous hat, fluffy multi-colored tutu, silly socks, or matching t-shirts.  These Disney patrons are not messing around.  They are there to have fun and make memories.  That’s what this one lady actually said to me when I asked where her and her six other female family members got their fluffy, multi-colored tutus.  I wore my hair in pig-tails just to be a little funky but that was nothing compared to the Viking helmets, Mickey Mouse hats, karate headbands, googly-eyes, beanies, and electric, flashing plastic dread locks I saw on the top of many a head.  The wearing of such will not only look more normal, but also make you happier.  It’s a known fact.  Disney is the land of funny hats.
  8. Revert back to the playing of Frogger.  When you do need to pee, and you most certainly will at some point, you will have to use your old Frogger skills to get across a sea of merry folk to get to a restroom.  Once again, this is a competition.  This was the first time in my life that there was actually a line for the men’s room.  I looked over at the twitching, beastly characters with no sympathy and said aloud, “Now YOU know how it feels!”  Then I proceeded to get real nervous when in line for the ladies I found out there were only two stalls at this particular restroom and all the women in front of me were nearly clocking how much time each one was taking to finish.  As all my friends and family know it takes me forever to pee so this was not a fun moment for me.  I pictured the flowing stream and dripping faucet well before it was my time to enter.  I think I even unbuttoned my pants in line just to gain time.

    Halfway round the world.

    Halfway round the world.

  9. Pace yourself.  Even if you can “put it away” or have saved up room in your belly for this glorious occasion, you will get full.  So pace yourself.  I was getting full only halfway around the world after an amazing artisan cheese plate.  I know, loser.  So I took a food break for a bit then started again.  Our goal is to go around twice.  The second time hitting up all the kiosks we couldn’t the first time around.  Or we use the second go-around for dessert and hot toddies.
  10. Go with someone who can handle all of the above.  I might not take my hubby to every party (small talk is not his thing) or other gatherings where he might not feel comfortable, but he is my partner in food and wine utopia.  He can keep up with me, genuinely enjoys it all, and doesn’t complain.  In fact I hadn’t seen him move faster or act cheerier than I had in a long time.
They were the friendliest of all the kiosk servers. I think I even got a marriage proposal.

They were the friendliest of all the kiosk servers. I think I even got a marriage proposal.

I don’t mean to dampen the excitement of this splendiferous occasion by spouting off rules.  Because it is such an occasion.  For me, at least. Those were just suggestions for if and when you decide to go.  Of course you’ll have to wait til next year.  I’m already counting the days.

Big pour on the stoop

Big pour on the stoop.

Anyway it was a wonderful day.  The weather was perfect.  The food was the best ever since 1999 when Mexico had those warm, cheese nips.  It was seafood-heavy this year which is right up my alley since I don’t usually eat mammals.

I got crazy and mixed-- Sake and Moroccan chicken roll.

I got crazy and mixed– Japanese sake and Moroccan chicken roll.

Singapore’s lemongrass curry chicken and seared Mahi Mahi with “Singa” sauce rated in our top 3.  The other toppers included the chicken roll from Morocco and get this: the Trick’n Chick’n curry and Chili Colorado from the Terra kiosk, which was all vegetarian.  Even my meat-eating hubby thought it was heavenly.  And their Vegan Vine Chardonnay was probably the best (though not the biggest) pour of all.  There were 30 kiosks and 22 countries represented in all.  Also a cheese cart, coffee cart, brewer’s collection, and desserts & champagne kiosk.  The Moroccan baklava and mini Belgium waffle with warm chocolate ganache melted in our mouths.

Kaiko drummers and sake-- fabulous!!

Kaiko drummers and warm sake– fabulous!!

Yes, it was crowded.  And yes, Spaceship Earth stopped in the middle of the ride as rides always do when I get on them.  But I took it all in stride.  When you’ve got a delicious breeze, culinary delights, and booze involved everyone’s happier, right?  And I only heard one kid cry.



The competition proved a success.  No blisters formed.  Made it around the world twice.  Even had room for multiple desserts.  Saw a woman in a muumuu.  Got choked up during the evening’s fireworks as usual.  Woke up with a slight hangover.  Ready to do it all over again next year.


Filed under Observations

Local Tourist (Date with Myself)

So I’m pretty new to this whole blogging world.  Couple that with my mild OCD and it hasn’t been comfortable for me to publish a post without rethinking and tweaking it about a thousand times and sitting on it for days.  But today I had such a great time in my own company I thought it would be a disservice to myself and my readers if I didn’t post at least something about it.  On the same day.  Without OCD creeping in.  And I only have about an hour until the entire family comes barreling through the door.  Then quiet writing time is over.

So many places to see!

So many places to see!

See my parents and visiting sis-in-law and nephews took a day trip to Disney World.  Magic Kingdom to be exact.  For various reasons, one including that I’ve been there enough to know I power through it at best, I decided to stay home.  Hubby joined them with our son, who played hooky so he could spend time with his cousins, and who according to his written note tomorrow will have been “too ill to attend school.”

Hubby owes me anyway.  I’ve helped his mom move three times in five years and each year the cat-hair covered stuffed animals and baskets of plastic plants breed and multiply.

So after spending several hours working at my computer in the morning I decided instead of watching crap TV I would enjoy an afternoon bike ride in the most glorious October weather we’ve ever had.

I usually go full throttle on my rides.  iPod blasting on shuffle.  Thighs burning.  I pass so many cute shops and restaurants along the way.  I only stop if I’m with someone and they need a drink of water.  Every once in a while I see something random that I must click with my camera phone.  Then it’s back off to the races.  Calorie burning.

My view while dining with myself al fresco. Never noticed a eucalyptus tree in these parts before!

My view while dining with myself al fresco. Never noticed a eucalyptus tree in these parts before!

But today I figured since I really had nowhere to be, no one to pick up from school, no appointments or commitments, why not burn cals and stop at all the places that have caught my eye?  Be gone, OCD.  Let’s be like the tourists and putz around.  So I did.  And it was wonderful.

I had fish tacos by myself.  And they were delicious.  Real corn tortillas and everything.  I’m a social person, and I adore my friends and most of my family, but sometimes it is so refreshing to only have to entertain yourself.  I didn’t mind dining alone.  I was a very good date.  I was patient.  I wasn’t a loud-mouth.  I thanked the waiter.  I ate with my mouth closed.

I went ahead and did it. I had to. It's beautiful! And only $14.

I went ahead and did it. I had to. It’s beautiful! And only $14.

After I nearly licked my plate clean I rode to all the cute boutiques I notice on my speed-ride but never allow myself to stop and enter.  At one consignment shop I found four outfits for under $40.  At another emporium I chatted with the flamboyant and hilarious owner and bought cheap costume rings for Mom, Sis-in-law, and of course myself.

I stopped at a candy shop and bought a piece of hazelnut dark chocolate.  I rode to the marina and inhaled the gulf air.  The wind tickled my face.  My thighs burned.  And I just might have worked off that piece of candy.  But mostly I enjoyed the peacefulness an adventuresome bike ride offers to quiet solitude.

And that I bought my first muumuu.


Filed under Observations