Category Archives: Memoir and Food

Memoirs by people whose life work is food, as well as memoirs that just happen to dig into deep memories connected with food.

Status

REVIEW: THE SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT HOT DOG

xfamous-nathan.jpg.pagespeed.ic.G-WA2hmVuw

This is the story of a family business selling frankfurters-in-a-bun at Coney Island, a precinct of Brooklyn famous for its amusement parks.

Even before the tiny store opened in 1916, Coney Island’s illuminations were visible 30 miles out to sea. To inbound immigrants like Nathan Handwerker—a Polish Jew who in 1912 fled poverty, hunger and war—the glow whispered: “This is the land of opportunity.”

Handwerker—who died in 1974—made the most of every opportunity. His business, at its height, sold 75,000 hot dogs in a single weekend.

Continue reading

Advertisements
Status

LOIS’S CHICKEN CURRY

IMG_0565

The typed recipe card for my father’s famous chicken curry.

The recipe card says Lois, but it should say Louis.

And I should know. Louis was my father, and the recipe is for his famous chicken curry.

Well, I’d better clarify—the curry was famous, but only among a small group of people.

In Louis’s small culinary repertoire, chicken curry was definitely his signature dish.

Continue reading

Status

TOAST: IT’S COMPLICATED

The taste test. Inconclusive verdict. More testing needed.

The taste test. Inconclusive verdict. More testing needed.

Surely nothing could be easier than making toast. In these modern times, all you have to do is drop sliced bread into the toaster slots, push the lever down, and toast will pop right up when it’s done.

It was much trickier in my childhood. Our toasters were primitive appliances, with fold-down doors on either side. They demanded vigilance and patience, with disastrous consequences if we wandered away. These were the days before fire alarms, so burnt toast could be very burnt before the smell roused our attention.

My family also had a camping toaster, a simple wire mesh contraption held over a flame. I remember the toast it made was particularly delicious—very crisp on the outside and somehow fluffier and moister inside.

Either way, there was nothing difficult or complex about toast. Or so it seemed.

Continue reading

TRUFFLE FEVER

Truffle butter under the breast skin, grated truffle added during cooking.

Truffle butter under the breast skin, grated truffle added during cooking.

One wintery evening in Canberra, I tried a beer brewed with truffles and spices. It tasted like a gorgeous big slice of Christmas cake but, amid the other flavours, I couldn’t find the truffles.

But, up to then, I had never tasted the mysterious fungus. Of course, I had been reading about it for years. But no description was able to convey to me what truffles smelled like, or what they tasted like. Ultimately, language—no matter how subtle and dexterous—cannot capture an experience accurately enough to allow someone else to live it.

So, during winter 2013, I went on-line and ordered a truffle.  Yes, it was expensive, but when compared to a truffle dinner at a restaurant, it was affordable.

Continue reading