I second the Aldi comments above. I went last week, and got a bag of IQF shrimp, wild-caught salmon in individual frozen portions, a bag of bay scallops and a can of salmon, which I will use to make croquettes (patties). Good prices, good quality.
I cook all meals at home (except for Friday nights, when I indulge in deep-fried pub grub) and try hard to use "real" food all the time. As I've aged, my tolerance for saltiness and sweetness has dropped precipitously and much of the packaged stuff is SO salty/sweet that I can't eat it.
@joeqboo, I remember the IUP GD Breakfast well. Still miss the tiny cream cheese frosted cinnamon buns from Sheetz!!
I make a broth with chicken stock, a few slices of ginger, a couple of cloves of garlic, smashed and a few shakes of hot red pepper flakes. Let it steep, and drink it hot. It helps!
I steam them, then drizzle with sesame oil and lemon juice with a sprinkle of kosher salt, and eat them warm.
This is weird, but I also like them in tuna salad.
I was there in 2001 or so, and remember eating at a little place on the river (to get to it, we had to walk down a very narrow stairway, single file and turned sideways to fit). We ordered the house special, which was a big platter of duck breasts, thighs and legs, and sausage, pieces of pork, sauerkraut and potatoes and came with some form of apfelstrudel for dessert. I remember it being delicious!
I pour the bacon fat into aluminum muffin-pan liners, filling them 1/2 inch full of fat or so. Then I freeze them, and when they're good and frozen, I wrap the foil around so the fat is all wrapped up. I have a Ziploc of these in my freezer. Folks thinks they're frozen peanut butter cups or something, but I know the truth: pure bacon fat, ready to be used to grease a skillet for cornbread, added to greens or to Crisco for frying chicken. Some kinda good!
I have a family cookbook from 1976. It is lovely and sentimental to me, even if I do occasionally get frustrated by ingredients like "one $1.29 package of..." and "a large tub of ...." Be specific, please and remember that the recipient will use the book for years to come.
Honestly, I can' t think of a nicer gift, especially if the recipes come with comments and stories. BTW, it was spiral-bound when I got it (upon the occasion of my 21st birthday; family tradition), but I wore out the spirals and had to put the pages in acid-free sheet protectors to keep it safe and usable.
The one that I really think of as Colt-45 is cheap sherry. No matter the maker. And good sherry is such a pleasure! Once I learned about the real stuff, cheap sherry tastes like so much pancake syrup.
I am guilty of enjoying a glass or five of two-buck-chuck, too.
In many Southern families (including my family), this is known as the "dead spread." It's not disrespectful, just a way of injecting a little humor and ritual into a tough situation. When someone dies, the dead spread is a way to show continuity and community--in my small hometown, I know that if someone (or I) dies, then the menu will most certainly include briskets cooked in a Nesco roaster, pimento cheese (both with white bread to put it on), deviled eggs, probably a chafing dish of meatballs served with toothpicks and a huge assortment of cakes, one of which will be coconut all washed down with sweet tea. It's a comfort.
I hate it now, too. It used to have great teaching shows--Taste with David Rosengarten was wonderful--but now it seems to be "let's go look at American restaurant food," "Let's open some cans and boxes and dump them in a slow-cooker" or "let's put more butter on it." Alton Brown is the only one I ever watch.
I watch PBS cooking shows now, which are of far better quality than anything on FN.
Sorry for the rant...grrrrr...
I ate many, many PB and J or tuna sandwiches (no name brands!), and spaghetti with butter and garlic. Chicken leg quarters were my go-to protein (still like them) and I ate a BUNCH of scrambled/hard-boiled/fried eggs on toast.
Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt (comes in a shaker at the grocery) and butter.
An old friend of mine showed me a great trick for even application of butter to corn---butter the heel slice of a loaf of bread, then roll the bread up around the corn (so corn comes into contact with butter!). Spin the corn. Remove bread. Chow down.
I hated them until I grew them myself. Now I can't eat enough of them. Raw, off the vine, still warm from the sun....
South Carolina benne seed wafers?
The hot dogs at Sheetz were a favorite of mine while I was in grad school. 2/$1.29, unlimited condiments (the spicy red pepper relish was my favorite), and walking distance from my office. A cheap treat!
Whataburger. No other will do.
Sonic, but only for cherry limeade and a foot long Corny dog.
I made vichyssoise and Salad Nicoise directly from Vol. I and both were absolute perfection. And easy!
Deep-fried Buffalo wings. Chinese buffet (I know....).
I think it's goofy to go out for a sandwich. I can make better, fresher, more interesting ones at home.
@hungrychristal: OK with me! :)
When I was a little foodie, I spent summers with my grandpa in the Smoky Mountains. We would get a watermelon and put it in the ice cold mountain stream outside my great-aunt's cabin. At the end of the day, we'd haul it out, he'd cut it into it with his Case pocketknife and we'd eat the whole thing with salt on it. I can't eat them without thinking of that.
@yayfood: I've been recommending It's All American Food to everyone, all the time. I love it, and all the recipes I've tried have been great, too!
The "hidden gem" cookbooks that I like are vintage Junior League cookbooks from anywhere there's a JL.
Honestly, it was a sandwich made with still warm homegrown tomatoes, salt and pepper, on WonderBread with mayonnaise. Eaten standing over the kitchen sink. Trashy but delicious!
This month's Saveur has a recipe from Zuni for quick zucchini pickles. Looks good.
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