Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Savory to the Taste (07/26/12)
TITLE: The Secret Ingredient
By LaRue Kendrick
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What makes anything taste good? Is it the way food is cooked, or the seasonings used? Maybe it can even be connected with what we think about or remember along with certain foods. Peaches are a fall delicacy in Colorado. Not only are they flavorful, juicy, and sweet to the taste, but the smell of peaches being heated for canning takes me back a long way. I would come home from school and even as I walked through the yard from the school bus, I could smell the peaches. I didn’t have to open the door and go inside to see in my mind my mother working over boiling pots on the stove. Several rows of beautiful, bright, golden peaches in quart jars would be sitting on the counter, cooling and waiting for the lids to pop, telling us they were sealed.
The smell of roast beef and potatoes bring back memories of Mother’s delicious dinners. Even if the current offering might not be as tasty as hers, just the memory of her roast sitting on the platter that her mother used makes my mouth water. Then there were her mashed potatoes served in a bowl with a generous pat of real butter melting down the sides of the creamy mound. The combination of these tasty dishes in my memory brings out the best in today’s roast and potatoes.
The memory of Mother’s fresh-baked bread, dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls have power to make even my own breads taste better. In eating mine, I taste hers. The dinner rolls were like little golden bubbles filling the baking pan. Her cinnamon rolls came out of the oven with either lightly browned tops or with sticky, gooey caramel on top. Crusty baked bread came from the oven in a set of four loaves to a pan. What a treat it was to slice into the warm, soft bread, slather butter over it and then add brown sugar. The brown sugar would melt into the butter and both would blend into the fresh bread. Ohhhh, how good that was!
Then there is the Danish Christmas Soup that mother prepared so painstakingly each year. We had it only on Christmas Eve so it was a wonderful treat. Now that it is up to the next generation to prepare the soup, we still toil over the little meatballs, rolling them in just the right amount of flour, making sure they aren’t too big or too small. On December 23, the white dumplings for the beef-broth soup are lovingly prepared. We are still trying to make them come out as perfectly as hers did. As we all take our places at the Christmas Eve tables, the soup aroma wafts throughout the room, and we savor the labor, the fruit of our labor and remember the soups of years gone by. Those memories add as much to the soup’s flavor as all the ingredients mixed inside.
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