Lately I've been thinking a lot about a quote from M.F.K. Fisher: "It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and intertwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the other."
So today I thought I'd share two of my favorite childhood memories of food: drinking hot chocolate in Paris and eating kettle corn with my best friend Susan. Both memories very nearly bring me to tears because they remind me of how much I love and care about the people with whom they were shared.
What is your favorite food memory? Please share with me at the bottom of this post or on Twitter!
I was probably the luckiest 11 year-old of all time. For two glorious weeks, my parents, my wonderful, wonderful parents, took me out of school so that I could travel to Paris with them. I don't remember most of it, save a few poignant details. How could I forget the luscious gardens at Giverny, the crunch of a perfect croque-monsieur, or the smell of the first perfume my Mother ever let me buy?
One detail sticks out to me, probably because it happened repeatedly: each morning at our hotel, I was served a hunk of baguette and a mug of hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was thick and mildly sweet, made only of milk and chocolate chips. I dream of it, still.Susan. And how it snowed that winter! Every time school was canceled, I went to her house to sled all day long, and when dusk finally came and her Mom practically blackmailed us to come inside, we would cuddle up in her basement and eat hot, buttery kettle corn while we watched movies.
These days when we get a weather forecast predicting snow and all of my neighbors run to the store to buy bread and milk, you can find me stocking up on kettle corn because I know how strongly I'll crave it.
"east of here" on Pinterest.
I also made a French soundtrack to accompany me while cooking, complete with music from Coeur de Pirate, Brigitte Bardot, the Midnight in Paris soundtrack, Carla Bruni and Stacey Kent.
For hot chocolate
Pour boiling water into your mug and let it sit for two minutes, or until it is very hot to the touch. Fill it about 1/3 full with semi-sweet chocolate chips and pour in warm whole milk. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
The process of making marshmallows is messy, hot, sticky and time-sensitive. I do not recommend making them with your kids.
Follow Alton Brown's recipe, but add an additional step at the beginning:
Place one regular sized bag unpopped kettle corn in a pot with one cup water. Warm until the butter has dissolved. Strain. Place in fridge until butter is separated. Place butter in with the sugar and corn syrup and use the rest of the water as directed.
Note: These marshmallows are gently kettle corn flavored. If you want a more pronounced flavor, try using two bags of unpopped popcorn.