So many of us living in California came from other states or regions — in many cases from other countries. Most of us have special memories of foods we ate as a child that only our grandmothers could prepare, or perhaps our parents could prepare. When times changed and many homes had two working breadwinners, we began to dine out more often or eat frozen foods such as TV dinners. Things were taking a gastronomic turn for the worse.
While those more senior may remember amazing homemade pies and cakes, younger folks may think fondly of favorite foods only available at a retail location. I loved when my dad would take us to White Castle for those delectable little burgers in the Midwest. Now, gourmet restaurants serve all manner of “sliders.”
The folk from Philly brag about Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Chicago lays claim to Vienna-brand, hot-dog stands and Italian beef sandwiches (which are amazing). New Yorkers think their pizza is the best, Chicagoans know their deep-dish pizza is the best and Detroit is rising up as a serious contender.
Everyone in California has a favorite Mexican restaurant or sushi bar they think is the best in the world. I’ve yet to try fried chicken and waffles, but I bet it is sublime. Not sure if that would kill me, or my wife would kill me first for even thinking about eating it.
A lobster roll on the East Coast is a thing of beauty. A poutine in Canada is a matter of national pride. Look that one up on the web for a description and prepare to drool.
I do enjoy a well-prepared piece of fresh halibut from Alaska, yet I also enjoy a nice greasy order of fish and chips. I could go on and on.
Here in Idyllwild, our population comes from the four corners of the globe. It would be interesting to publish some family recipes from Town Crier readers that they have enjoyed since childhood and are willing to share. The only rule would be to avoid leaving anything out, and to be certain it is unique and not a reprint of someone else’s recipe.
Every family has a meatloaf maker in residence. It would be fun to see a few family meatloaf recipes come in, with a story about them. Soups, stews and anything else would be welcome. The older the recipe the better, as far as I’m concerned. It seems that the current move toward more complicated and artistic endeavors can sometimes lose the “comfort food” factor.
I have run into a number of locals who say they have something that would be great in this column. This is their moment in the sun. I know the possibilities are awesome as Idyllwild is probably the potluck capital of the Inland Empire.
If you don’t have a special dish but know someone who does and may be reluctant for a chance at gourmet fame, give ’em a shove. I can’t keep doing all the heavy lifting.
Vic Sirkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.