Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rust Belt Cuisine

The Hungry Moms

Recently Anthony Bourdain featured the cuisine of the Rust Belt, which included Detroit. I expected some mention of Vernors, Faygo, bumpy cake and Coney Islands but no, just the food of various immigrant communities including that of the Arabic, Belgian and Polish. One contribution of the Polish community I learned was that vile substance I had as a child known as 'city chicken'. This was miscellaneous pieces of tough veal on skewers rolled in cornmeal. It had a funky, musty taste. Chicken used to be much more expensive than veal. It didn't taste like chicken.

Other foods of my childhood that I stay away from:
Mexicorn and creamed corn in a can
Canned corned beef
Chipped beef
Banquet pot pies
Frozen, breaded fish
Canned fruit cocktail
Vienna sausages
Frozen cream pies of any sort
Jello with various canned fruit suspended in it
Pudding from boxes
turkey legs at 19 cents a pound
Swiss steak
Junket-made from rennet

Bad childhood food I still like:
Chicken rice-a -roni
Waldorf salad
Orange jello with carrots in it
Ambrosia although modified by me to be tastier
canned crescent rolls
3 can green bean casserole though I do use frozen green beans

Last night I cooked for the moms: the post-partum support group for moms of babies pushing 31 years. Although some of them call our group the Awesome Buddy Group, I refer to them as the "Hungry Moms" from that reggae classic whose lines include "A hungry mob is an angry mob. Them bellies full but we hungry..." When I first heard the song, I thought Marley said 'hungry mom'. Still I am not sure whether he says 'man' or mob'. Jamaican man=mon.

No rust-belt cuisine for my friends. I cooked 'for survivorship' as 3 out of the 5 of us are 'survivors'. Yogurt cheese with a smoky chipolte sauce and tuna cakes for appetizers. Carrot curry coconut soup and sesame sole for a main course. A lemon, dill yogurt sauce also was prepared to put on the fish . My friends brought spinach pies, shrimp, a garbanzo avocado salad, dessert(tasty raspberry tart) and lots of wine to supplement. Absolutely none of those things would I have had as a child although my mom did make a nice raspberry pie.
It was nice.

We've received better mail recently. An E-Z pass transponder and news that our insurance has decided to consider UM an in-service provider. No more trips to the lab in Livonia when there are UM labs right down the street. Less out-of-pocket expenses. Who-hoo!
Michigan is surrounded by states with tollroads so few of us have transponders. When I was trying to beat the clock driving like a maniac to Boston during Shanna's first labor, not having to stop for the many tollbooths would have been a blessing and probably, less costly. Also I didn't have full use of my left arm then so it was a pain fumbling for money and then extending my right arm out. But no more of that with my brand-new transponder!

Although it is warmer than usual, it is raining now. I ran in it, cold with the wind and hard to see with the drops on my glasses. Shanna and family should be at her in-laws now but I won't see them until our 'family dinner' tomorrow. Hope they like left-over sole.

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