Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Five Things to Eat Before I Die (Five Favorite Foods)

I was tagged by Rosa over at Rosa's Yummy Yums. (I do love that name.) This is a very interesting meme. Melissa from The Traveler's Lunchbox put this one together. I admit I have seen her blog mentioned around but I don't believe I have ever visited until now. Rosa was tagged by an old favorite, Ruth from Once Upon a Feast. I had the pleasure of "testing" two of her mother's recipes for her upcoming cookbook, "Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories, see this and that.

I pulled this from Melissa's post so you can get the gest:
". . . {I have} create{d} a list of food bloggers' top picks for things you've eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once before they die. Think of it as kind of a global food guide, which can enrich and inform our travels and perhaps even clue us into things closer to home that we've somehow overlooked. And although it will probably be too long for any one person to dream of completing, I hope it will give us all some small inkling of how many more edible treasures there still are out there, and how much there still is to experience.

Here are my general guidelines. I'm restricting contributions to five items per blogger, which is hard, I know! But this will keep the list semi-manageable in length and will force you to really think hard about what your absolute top picks would be. You're welcome to be as general or as pin-sharp as you like, referring to specific dishes, restaurants, ingredients, products or preparations (although I think entire cuisines are a bit too general...), but they should definitely be things you know and love and couldn't imagine not having tasted. A sentence or two about your history with this food and why it means so much to you would also be great, and an item or two that is local to you, your cuisine or a place you have lived will help maintain a nice geographical diversity. Oh, and although I really welcome contributions from bloggers all over the world, I'm asking for all contributions to be in English to keep the list coherent. I'm envisioning the contribution process to be passed along like a normal meme, which is why I'm tagging five people to start, but feel free to participate even if you haven't yet been tagged. And if you want to participate but don't feel like devoting an entire post to it, you're welcome to do that too - just whatever you do, drop me an email (my address is in the 'about' section in the sidebar) or a comment on this post with your five foods or your permalink and I'll add your choices to a (hopefully) ever-growing list as they come in. I've also added a link to this post in the top right-hand corner, so you can easily come back and check on new additions!"
This is harder than you think. I thought it would be a breeze until I actually sat down and tried to list only five things that I crave at any given moment. There are so many favorites in my smorgasborg of good eats, I don't even know where to begin. But I will, and, as usual, they are in no particular order . . .

  • A piece of chocolate (creme--any flavor) from Wittamer's in Brussels, Belgium.
The hub had a lot of business in Brussels for while back in the late 90s while we were still living in Northern Virginia. He would always bring a box of chocolates back for the family to enjoy. Once I caught on the the joy they brought to everyone who had a piece, he was under strict orders to bring back at least three boxes--one for us, one for my brother Jim (the food snob) and one for the school office I was working at. One time, the school was having their annual auction. The hub saved the day when he brought back this gorgeous hat box straight from Wittimers. It truly was one of the highlights of the night. It's not too often one can get a fresh box of Belgian chocolates flown in for an occasion such as this. You know at first sight when you see their lovely fuchsia box, or other beautiful wrapping depending on the season, you are in for a delight. I always preferred the hub to travel there in the colder months because it was then that he could bring home the chocolate cremes that are my all-time favorites. They won't last more than a week under cold conditions, so they would never allow him to purchase them in the warm months to bring home. So, if you are ever in Belgium, please look up Wittamer's chocolate. You are in for a real flavor. Each piece is a work of art in itself which will bring satisfaction to the eye, to your taste buds and to the soul. One piece will satisfy your chocolate passion like no other.

  • A Masala Dosa. This is an Indian crepe, so to speak, filled with potatoes and onions and served with chutneys to dip with. The dosa is made from ground lentils which make it soft yet crispy cooked on a griddle.
Growing up in Arlington, Virginia had its advantages. Being a stone's throw from Washington, DC and all it's embassies, we had quite an ethnic pool. My friends were from all around the world. Sometimes they would only live there for a year or so and others were there for the long haul. One of my best friend's family was from Trinidad. Nadia was my best friend all through elementary school. I even dated her older brother and he was my first true love. (awww) Since I was always at their house after school, I was introduced to their wonderfully different foods. (Remember, my parents were from Georgia and Texas, so I was used to Southern US foods.) I especially liked their roti (cooked on a griddle) and samosas (fried), which are basically dumplings stuffed with either curried potatoes or curried chicken. Both were equally delicious dunked in different types of chutneys.

Later on in my years, our next door neighbors were from Pakistan. They were so delighted that I loved their food, they would bring plates of it over whenever they had a family gathering. I especially loved their basmati rice. I could smell them cooking and would just hope they would bring me a plate later!

In high school, my then boyfriend introduced me to Indian foods, particularly vegetarian dishes. There was a wonderful little mom-and-pop carry out on R Street in DC that had the best Masala Dosas on earth. We would normally order a masala dosa, an aloo paratha (a wheat flour flat bread filled with potatoes), a side of dahl (a lentil soup) and eat to our heart's content.

To this day, when I find an Indian restaurant with masala dosas on the menu, I am the happiest person around. I have found that the vegetarian restaurants serve better ones for some reason.

  • Crepes Suzette ala Raphael
Raphael is our friend from France. He first came to us through an exchange student program while we were still in Virginia ten years ago. He visits us whenever he can; and when he does, he makes us crepes! His family recipe is so delicious, I can't even begin to describe it. But, it's a secret, and I have taken an oath of silence; I'm terribly sorry. This year, he made Crepes Suzette for us. It was such a wonderful flavor, the orange with the warm crepes, oh my.

  • Peking Duck. A roasted duck sliced at your table and served with pancakes, onions and hoison sauce.
I admit, I have only had it at one restaurant in Virginia, but it is so good, I will try it anywhere I see it. The Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, VA, is an awesome restaurant. I have been having Peking Duck there for over 20 years.

Hmmmm, ok, I'm beginning to see a pattern here because my last entry is . . . .

  • Dim Sum. "Little token," small dumplings, usually steamed, and filled with all types of meats. Basically, it's a Chinese smorgasborg brought to your table by steaming carts.
Again, being in Northern Virginia and DC, we had our share of first-class Chinese restaurants. It was the hub who introduced me to dim sum in the 80s after one of his trips back from China. It is as much fun as it is good. Ladies come around with steaming carts, lifting lids and asking if you like. It all comes very fast and you can fill the table quite quickly with little round tins full of dumplings of all sorts. Don't forget to order the sticky rice (in a leaf of some sort) and the sliced pork! If you see a line out the door waiting on Sunday to get into a restaurant that serves Dim Sum, you know you are in for a treat.

Now, phew, glad that's over! I will now tag:

Mr. English (of course!) -- aka Mark of Gullible's Travels (England)

Suanne & Ben over at Chow Times (Canada)

Ann from Warm Butter Review (I'm trying to gently coax her out of blog retirement.) (NYC)

Tara of Paris Parfait (Paris, but of course.)

Robyn who is Driving Miss Robyn (Australia)

Up to you if you want to play. No pressure, of course.


miss*R said...

ok, I am way behind on memes, hell, I can't even remember which ones I was tagged for. so I will try to do this. I am not really that good at memes. xoxoxo

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thanks for doing this meme! It's great to see that you love so many different things. Very interesting indeed...

Sue said...

All sounded mouth watering delicious!
Fun meme!

Tammy said...

Wow...I've never tasted anything like the exotic things you listed...I'm a beans and 'taters and cornbread gal...lmbo!!
I will check out what the others say though because it is very interesting!!

Shell said...

All mine would have to be:

French vanilla ice cream
Choc. covered cherry ice cream
strawberry ice cream
chocolate almond ice cream
coffee ice cream

That's all!

PEA said...

Lol still laughing at Shelley's comment! This was very interesting and what a wide assortment of tastes you have...I could sure go for the Crepe Suzette..never had that before but sure sounds yummy! I did have Dim Sum when I was in Vancouver back in 1986...it was a bit too exotic for me. I'm afraid my tastes are for good old fashion Canadian food! lol Hugs xox

Motherkitty said...

All these dishes sound delicious. I wonder, though, if you're getting your fill of some of them now that you're living down south again.

I think the older one gets, the spicier a person likes their food. I know in my case, I definitely like more spice in my life and on my plate.

AnnieElf said...

Wow, what interesting food blogs. I have a whole new folder started on my desktop.

Linda said...

I love chinese food so much that I think I could eat it every day. My husband isn't that much of a fan so I don't eat it very often. I don't know if I could make a list of my five favorite foods. The same thing with books and movies--it sort of depends on my mood.

MarkMcL said...

I consider myself tagged. Have three/four, still working on the last two/one (I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure).
Mark McL (aka Mr English)



©Living as Rosa Designed by Rosa