Meals can be memorable. Years later, one can remember what was eaten at a special meal. For me, I love that my family eats North Carolina barbecue, slaw, potato salad and hush puppies for Christmas Eve dinner. I'll always remember my paternal grandfather's obsession with dessert (so I come by it naturally) and how he once ate three HUGE pieces of my maternal grandmother's strawberry cake after a very large meal. I can't look at a red velvet cake without remembering that that's the flavor my husband wanted for our wedding cake. I remember that when my grandmother died, all the neighbors brought over muffins. When my great-grandmother died, it was fried chicken. Life happens around a dining room table.
Jason Epstein recalls what he's eaten and cooked over the years in his memoir, Eating. In each chapter he recalls a meal shared with someone, the conversation that happened, what they ate and then gives recipes to recreate that meal. Though not all of the recipes he included appeal to my taste, I can very much relate to the fact that we associate certain dishes with the people who have shared them with us.
Food and drink are meant to be shared with friends and family. Two recent articles I've written center on this theme. Recipe developer Alison Lewis has a sandwich cookbook just out called 400 Best Sandwich Recipes: From Classics and Burgers to Wraps and Condiments, and her story appears in Julep, a new online Southern magazine. For Georgia Connector, I wrote an article about the home brewing scene in Athens, Georgia, where it's a pretty big deal to brew your own beer and have your friends over to try it.
All this talk about food, friends and family makes me want to throw a dinner party to try out new recipes!