Friday, June 26, 2015

Day 83: What's Your Favorite Food?

It's late.

The Wifey is sleeping on the couch and I just finished an invigorating budgeting session for July. Is there really anything better for a Friday night than crunching numbers, reviewing where you overspent the month prior, and trying to figure out how to correct it the next month? Yeah, I didn't think you could come up with anything better to do.

So what's your favorite food? Now follow me on how I got to that question. I spent a good bit of time looking at the numbers as I said. Then I decided to take a look around the vast 400 square foot arena that is our combo living and dining room, checking out The Wifey tossing and turning on the sectional couch donated to us. I took it all in grateful for the life we have. I shifted my eyes to the sweet dark wood table from World Market, the first ever brand new piece of furniture we've ever bought. On it is a smattering of items, including several glasses, and a small chalkboard with "__ weeks" written on it to indicate how many weeks The Wifey's pregnancy is. Then, right next to me, is a salad plate with 1/8 of a pistachio donut left from none other than Doughnut Vault, the most legit donuts in Chicago (if you have any other recs for best donuts I'm all ears).

Donuts are great; The Wifey loves those and all things sweet. But it got me wondering about my favorite food and then your favorite food and all the delicious food in the world!

So what is your favorite food? I know this question can be answered a ton of different ways, but I'll just stick with two: Nationality and dish

In terms of type, hands down it's Italian. It's one of the most popular in the world, is revered for both utter flavorful goodness and simplicity, and is perhaps best caricatured with the nonna in the kitchen with her secret sauce and pasta. This is how it was for me growing up when my mom and I were living in NJ with my grandma, great aunt, and her daughter (first cousin twice removed? 10th cousin blue removed? I don't know). In that house it was my great aunt who dominated the kitchen, making homemade pasta and sauce every Thursday. It was the place to gather and in classic fashion, we rocked the nuts and fruit after meals, sitting in the basement kitchen for hours talking. Well, I was running around an didn't care about the grown ups seeing as how I was three or four.

This stuck with me, the longing for this environment, but knowing that it's the food that brings us together. Let's face it, Italians love each other probably just as much for the food as the fact that we have to as family. So Italian food is it for me. Nothing matches it as my favorite.

Now for a dish. As I grew older, my palate got more refined. I enjoy penne bolognese, lasagna, bread, oil, all of it. But the dish that puts it over the top for me time and time again, one that is probably more American than Italian, is shrimp parmigiana. Think chick parmesan, or as Tom Haverford would say, "chickie chickie parm parm," but with shrimp. The best is when you get it all prepped – juicy jumbo shrimp, breaded, then all layered with sauce, cheese, shrimp, sauce, cheese, shrimp, shrimp, shrimp, cheese, cheese, cheese, sauce...oh man! – and let it sit overnight in the fridge, soaking up all that goodness, becoming more and more Italian by the minute, converting from good to BOOM!

Bake that bad boy just before you get ready to serve it and you may have people worshipping you by the end of the night. I don't advise you let them worship you, but you can't help what happens.

So what's your favorite food?

That was fun to write.

Now the donut is gone too.

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