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Karla's Kolumn: Amazing food memories


September 29, 2022

Author Piolo Pascual wrote, “I’ve always loved how food preserves a memory.”

Truer words probably have never been written.

I will taste something or eat a favorite dish and the memories come flooding back.

Recently I made my own version of my mother’s pimento cheese sandwiches. She would get one of the blocks of Kraft American cheese, grate it, add a jar of pimentos and Miracle Whip (We were a Miracle Whip not mayonnaise family). And then she would make sandwiches. We had the sandwiches for road trips, camping trips, school lunches, you name it, when she needed to make a bunch of sandwiches it seemed that was her go to recipe.

But, unlike some sandwiches kids turn their nose up at these were good and enjoyed by all in the family.

Even after we were grown up when my dad and I would travel to Wyoming Cowboys games in Laramie (and back the same day) we brought the cheese sandwiches with us.

Well years ago I craved these and I bought a small block of cheese but unlike my mother who fed five people I was feeding one and well that’s a lot of cheese. But it was as good as I remembered.

So about a month ago, I thought about these sandwiches and thought, there has to be a better, less expensive way. A trip to the grocery store and I found Velveeta cheese slices on sale. I thought this is perfect. Velveeta is softer than other slices and that’s really what you need. No grating involved. I thought I can mix the pimentos with the Miracle Whip, spread on the bread and put the cheese (two slices) in between the bread slices.

I tried it and was not quite like Mom’s but it was still delicious and still made me think of all those memories.

I texted my sister “You remember pimento cheese sandwiches? Yum.” Her quick reply, “We would always get them during camping and I really like them. Are you making some?”

Told you they were a family favorite.

I explained my version and she said, “Much easier than Mom did but I suspect tastes the same.”

She was right.

Thinking those memories made me think of other memories with food, like when I was a senior in high school and Mom would experiment with recipes or a friend of hers (who could not cook) would drop a casserole off, I would tell Dad, it’s OK, I’ll run to the A&W and get us some burgers later.

Or putting grape jelly on grilled cheese (don’t knock it and don’t try other jelly it is not the same.) And yes I still do that if I have grape jelly on hand.

And there was the time I was supposed to put the baked potatoes in the oven at a certain time and when I went to do that I noticed only half had tinfoil so as a dutiful daughter I wrapped the others and put them in the oven. Ooops. She wanted a few so the skin would get crispy. She liked scooping the potato out and then eating the skin separate. That night she just had to have a regular ole baked potato.

Yes, most of my food memories center around my mom and my family growing up but there are a few as an adult, like trying calamari for the first time with by best friend at Red Lobster. It is my favorite appetizer now.

Having my best friend’s mom give me a recipe for shrimp scampi and helping me on the phone make it for the first time for Alan.

Making mayonnaise chocolate cake for Alan (yes I used Miracle Whip, again Miracle Whip family here) and he asks if I remembered the sugar. Well shoot. The great thing about mayonnaise cake is it is quick and easy so an hour later a good, sweeter and edible cake was ready to be devoured.

The look on his face though was priceless and bless his heart he was willing to try to eat it but it was like a dry chocolate, bread. Amazing what sugar can do.

If you have a favorite food story with a recipe to go with it send it to [email protected] so we can share with our readers.


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