March 22, 2012

What is your favourite meal?

This is an interesting question, believe it or not.  I find that it gets people to seriously consider what their taste in food is, and for my aspect of it, it gets my students thinking and speaking in English.

My favourite meal is as follows:  roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy.  If I add a desert, it would have to be creamy cherry cheesecake, and to drink, coffee.

My mother related a story or memory to us many, many years ago, about one particular meal that she used to hate when she was growing up.  I don’t think it was so much a ‘meal’, as it was particular items that were served at mealtime.  Apparently, every Friday, her family would have baked beans and cherry pie.

Personally, I don’t mind baked beans.  I like to sprinkle a little sugar on top, and eat them with my meal.  I really like KFC baked beans in Canada, although they are unavailable here in Taiwan.  As for cherry pie, no problem.  I do remember mom baking a cherry pie once in a blue moon, so that could be why I have no aversion to it.

As for my fave meal, roast beef… mmm.  I can remember like it was yesterday, my mother putting a roast in the oven in the morning, or early afternoon, having it cook slowly throughout the day, and the house smelling of roast beef.  Man, just writing this, I can smell it now.  It’s making my mouth water.  Whenever I smelt this incredible odour throughout the house, I knew what was going to accompany this meal.

Dad’s whipped potatoes!

I don’t know what dad’s secret was.  I’m not sure he even knew.  I know that he couldn’t have realized back then, just how much I loved those potatoes.  I never minded before these meals, peeling potatoes.  Mom would fill the sink with water, toss in a bunch of potatoes, and basically it became my task to peel them.  A couple of times, she would just tell me to go an get them ready, and I would intentionally through in a few extra potatoes.  That should have been their giveaway of how much I appreciated whipped potatoes.

Anyhow, after the potatoes were cooked and drained, dad would haul the blender, and start the whipping process.  Once all the potatoes seemed to be smooth, in when a huge dollop of butter.  Yes, creamery fresh BUTTER!  No margarine here.  As the butter was slowly melting, in would go milk.  Now, dad would never, ever measure any of this.  It was all done by sight.  Oftentimes, in the case of milk, more would be added as the whipping process was going on.

While the potatoes were being whipped, we kids would be setting the table, getting things ready for the meal.  Mom would now be making the gravy.  The roast would have been taken out of the pot, and placed on a platter on the table.  The pot would be on the stove, boiling away.  Mom would mix corn starch and water to a milky consistency, and start adding it to the beef juice and drippings.  I suppose she used corn starch because it was a lot smoother than using flour.  Flour tends to make gravy lumpy, whereas corn starch blends very smoothly.

Then once it got to a certain thickness, as only mom knew the timing, she was strain it into a bowl, and that would go on the table.  By the way, mom would make gravy anytime we had beef, pork, or chicken.  Many times though, especially with pork, there would be no gravy, but that was okay.  For me, as long as every roast beef we had, had gravy, no problem.

A couple of years ago, when I went back home to Canada for a few weeks, one of the questions mom asked of me, was if she could prepare a particular meal, what would it be.  Of course, without hesitation and without thinking, I rambled off:  your roast beef, dad’s mashed potatoes, corn and gravy.  No thinking, no second thoughts.

When it comes to asking my students this question, their responses of course, are very typical of what Asian people would eat.  Noodles, soup, rice…  all things that I don’t really have a problem with, but I certainly wouldn’t want to make a steady diet of it.

I asked a friend the other day, if he could have ONLY one meal, from this point on, and nothing more, what would it be?  Restrictions:  you can have this meal as often in a day as you like, it can include a dessert, and a beverage.  Water is always available, so the beverage would have to be something else.

I must admit that a couple of the items he mentioned, sort of made me gag (in my mind!).  I’m sure that when I stated my meal, he thought the same.  How we choose our meals or foods, is obviously contingent on what was given to us growing up.  Perhaps it was something your grandmother prepared.  Maybe, like me, something my parents prepared.  Perhaps it is something that you weren’t given a lot of as a child, but when you were an adult, was available outside the home.

Feel free to share your favourite meal by posting a comment.  As, just for reference, if you don’t mind, add where this meal is available.  A country or city, will suffice.  Perhaps there’s something on this planet that I could substitute for my favourite meal!

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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