Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Comfort Crema

It’s amazing how foods we ate when we were children can now be just the right food to comfort us after we’ve had a bad day at work or are struggling with a problem. The food acts as a memory trigger, filling our bellies, allowing our minds to escape, and healing our hearts simultaneously. After having yet another frustrating day at work, I came home too exhausted to cook anything of substance.

I came home and instantly started making crema—cornstarch, egg yolks, sugar, milk, cinnamon stick, and lemon rind—a hot pudding. With the steam coming out of my bowl and warming my soul as I ate each bite, I relived my childhood experiences of eating crema in Abuela’s kitchen as I assisted her making Sunday dinners. At that moment, I was transposed back in time to a day when my worries revolved around boys and school. I could feel her love and sense her laughter. When I finished my bowl, I felt better. Life was put back in perspective: for now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Don't Worry, I Saw the Movie

I was at work thinking about what we would have for dinner when I remembered that we had some green tomatoes from the local farmer’s market in the fridge. I came home and told hubby I was going to make fried green tomatoes.

Do you have a recipe?

No, I don’t need one.

Well, then you’re not really making fried green tomatoes. Maybe I should make them; after all, I’m Southern.

After I finished chuckling: I can’t believe you still doubt my cooking after four years of eating it. Don’t worry, I saw the movie.

What?

I saw the movie--Fried Green Tomatoes. I remember how she made them.


I sliced the large green tomatoes and lightly floured the slices. Then, I mixed some yellow cornmeal, half and half (we were out of milk), egg, salt, and pepper. I dipped the tomato slices into the cornmeal mixture and fried them in a hot skillet with oil.

Drawn by the scent of fried food, doubting hubby came to the kitchen to supervise.

Well, they smell good.

Of course. Honey, will you please get the cheddar and grate some.

What are you going to do with that?

I’m going to put it on top of the green tomatoes with some black beans.

I’ll have mine plain, like a true Southerner. Who ever heard of putting beans and cheese on fired green tomatoes, anyway?

It’s delicious. You’re missing out.


As we sit down to dinner with our tomatoes, mine of course garnished to the hilt, I turn to look at the “true Southerner,” who without my knowledge has placed shredded cheese mounds on top of his tomatoes. He takes one bite and his look of ultimate satisfaction lets me know that we really can just watch the movie to make a great meal. Of course, adding a bit of our own personality always helps. Seriously, try it with the black beans. Delicious!