Genie Please

Flavors of the World

Feb
18

 

There is nothing better than having that first bite of something delicious. When a dish is truly delectable the flavor of it is something that you will never forget. There are a few flavors that will be in my mind forever.

Tiramisu – I’ve had tiramisu before and the flavor of it wasn’t that special to me. It’s a pastry of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, a mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese and flavored with cocoa. Don’t get me wrong it’s a wonderful dessert, but the times that I’ve had it here in America it wasn’t anything special. It was just okay. Until I went to Spain. I saw it on the menu in one of the restaurants that my travel group was at for lunch. I decided to give this pastry one last try before I would decide to never have it again. When the waiter brought it to my table it was presented in a tall glass. I could see all the layers of the tiramisu. The ladyfingers, the crème, the cocoa sprinkled on top. I started to eat the desert and like before, nothing seemed spectacular about it until I reached the crème. But it wasn’t crème. This one was more of a foam consistency. It was light and sweet and fluffy. I liked it so much I almost ordered another one! When I came back to America, I ordered a tiramisu at a bakery in Chicago hoping that it would taste like the one in Spain. Sadly, it didn’t. The crème was too thick and wasn’t as sweet. Until I can go back and visit Spain, the taste of the fluffy filling will remain in my memory.

Potato salad – I will only eat my grandmother’s potato salad. I will not try anyone else’s because I know that I won’t be as good as hers. Everything about it is just perfect. From a young age, I would sit in the kitchen with her and watch her make it. She would have all the ingredients ready to be put in a big bowl to be mixed together. The potatoes would go first, then celery, eggs, sweet pickles, these tiny red peppers from a tiny jar, then the mayo would be added and then she would mix everything together. After that, she would sprinkle some paprika on the top. Once the dish was complete, I would get a little bowl and a scoop of potato salad and eat it. All the ingredients worked together. My favorite ingredient was sweet pickles. They are tangy and sweet and crunchy. These pickles were the special part of the salad because it added flavor that the others couldn’t. It made it tangy and sweet. This one ingredient sets my grandmother’s potato salad apart from everyone else’s.

Brown stew chicken – This dish comes from Jamaica and since my grandmother Monica is from there, she makes it quite often. This dish is made in one pot with the chicken and a browning sauce. My grandmother will add black pepper, thyme, salt, onions, and a whole scotch bonnet pepper for more spice. She’ll season the chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, and a bit of ketchup. Then she cooks it all in one pot and the chicken will turn brown from the sauce. Once it’s done cooking you eat it with either white rice or red beans and rice. The best part about this dish is the sauce. The gravy is a little tangy, a little sweet, and a little spicy. The chicken is moist when finished cooking and tastes wonderful with the rice.  I prefer to eat it with red beans and rice because I think it goes better with it. It’s more filling if eaten with beans and rice. Every time I visit her, this is the dish that she makes the most. I have watched her make it plenty of times before and still do.

Orange Chicken – I love Asian food. Everything about it is just perfect. The dishes are creative and each one has a completely different flavor and spice from each other and I find that truly wonderful. One of my favorite Asian dishes is orange chicken. Now I know that this dish is not originally from China it is most commonly found in North American Chinese restaurants. Not all types of orange chicken are my favorite, there is one that I prefer more and that is Big Bowls orange chicken. Big Bowl is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago and every time I go there, I always order the orange chicken. I particularly like it because it isn’t heavily breaded. I’m not actually sure how they make it, but it is the best orange chicken that I have ever had. When they bring it out you get this whiff of the sauce which is sweet, and you can smell the tanginess of it. The dish comes with white rice and a plethora of red and green peppers, green onions, and snow peas. The chicken is tender and cut in slices. The breading is light and makes the chicken a bit crunchy. The sauce is what really makes this dish stand out to me. The sauce is tangy and sweet but not overpowering. Whenever this dish is put together, the flavor is unforgettable.

 

 

Nina

Oct
19

I would always watch her while she got ready for bed. I would sit next to her and watch her pull out her rollers and head wrap, and comb and I would watch her put her hair up. She started by parting her hair in a section, brushed it, and began to roll up that section of hair. My grandmother was neat and organized, and she had a system for everything that she did. This included rolling her hair up at night. She had the softest hair, and it stayed this blondish greyish color. She was gentle when she rolled up her hair. When she finished putting in all her rollers, she would tie her silk hair scarf carefully around her head. My grandmother had a way of doing everything with grace. No matter what she did, she made it look graceful. Cooking, cleaning, just about anything she did she did it elegantly and with care. As a child, I wanted to be like her when I grew up. Elegant, graceful, independent just like my grandmother.

I would be watching her while she did this, talking to her about anything and everything a five-year-old could talk about with her grandmother. I would ask a lot of questions, and she would always have an answer for them. We would talk until it was time for me to go to bed. I would tell her goodnight, and we exchanged I love you, and I was off to bed. Even Though I would have loved to stay with my grandmother the entire night.

Sometimes I would come into her room, and she would be reading or painting her nails. I would walk over to her and ask her if she could paint my nails. She would say of course and start to paint my tiny fingernails. My grandmother only had one polish color, and it was this pale orangish color. After painting them, she showed me how to dry my nails by blowing on them. Another thing we shared.

My grandmother used to write beautiful poetry. I specifically remember the one she wrote about a girl and her hat. When I would come over to her house, I would ask her if she could read to me the “story about the girl and her hat.” She would say yeas read me the poem. I would tell her that it was my favorite and she was always happy to hear that. Writing is one more thing we share. It’s too bad that I can’t read to her one of my stories.