Saturday, July 12, 2008
Kippers, Baby Pickles, Beets and Hot Reuben Sandwiches
I have a profoundly deep love for fish stuck into tin cans. Yes, I know it's really odd. I love kippers, cans of tuna, even the "bad"anchovies packed in olive oil. I've yet to meet a can of fish I wasn't into. I thought about this odd adoration as I was tucking into my afternoon snack of canned sardines. I dressed them up a bit with lemon, chopped parsley and garlic and ate them directly from the tin. I can understand how the overwhelming fishy smell and even look of small silvery fillets would turn a lot of people off, but tins of fish are a pretty standard snack for me.
Overall my eating habits are a bit odd. But the one thing I've come to notice is that my palate seems to mimic my Dad's. While it's true that you tend to love the food you were raised with. I was lucky enough to have a Mom who made almost everything from scratch and was/is a fantastic home cook. The odd thing is that these aren't foods I had growing up. I'm fanatical about the foods my Dad ate in secret or that my Mom would allow him to keep for himself in the fridge. My mom hated brussel sprouts, tinned fish (she said she could always only taste tin), pickled beets...things my Dad absolutely adored. He could make an entire meal of baby pickles with kippers in cream on crackers. He's pull his one jar of creamed kippers out of the far, far back of the fridge and carefully spoon it into wheat crackers. One taste of the kippers and I was hooked (no pun intended). And now as an adult, I adore brussel sprouts. And pickles? Dear lord, I can eat an entire jar in one sitting.
Dad wasn't much of a cook (except he did grill) but he enjoyed making one thing in the kitchen and was good at making it. Hot reuben sandwiches. Somehow he mastered the combination of of the pickled kraut with the sweetness of the 1000 island dressing and the buttery toastiness of the dark rye bread. The ratio of corned beef to swiss cheese was always perfect. Oh man, his hot reuben sandwiches were masterpieces! And since he and I were the only ones in the house who enjoyed reubens, it's truly became our thing. And so whenever I order a reuben sandwich I always hold it up to the Mt. Everest of reuben's...My Dad's. Clearly, nothing compares to Dad's.
And so even now as a 30-something leaning against the sink in my own kitchen snarfing down pickles and contemplating the various cans of sardines in my pantry, I'm clearly my father's daughter. He'd be so proud!