Monika over on Mum on the Brink has written one of my favourite posts ever this week - she posted two recipes that reminded her of happy, childhood times and family times and love and comfort.
For me food is a bit of a friend and a foe. I am a real emotional eater. I eat when I'm happy, I eat when I'm sad. I eat when I'm alone, I eat when I'm with family and friends. Food and comfort. Food and celebration. Food is an important part of all occasions. It isn't merely fuel, it's emotion.
I want to post here about foods that remind me of my parents, and times spent with them.
My Dad and his wife came back from a holiday in France with a raclette - I've long been a big fan of fondue and this is like a big manly grown up version of that.
Some might think it's naff - the guests on Come Dine With Me the other day certainly thought so when faced with one - but this is exactly the kind of thing that I love. I love food as a family. I love food that you can be really involved with and tactile with. I love food when you sit around together talking, sharing, laughing, sharing stories and passing things around in circles so that you can all taste and experience everything.
I love melty cheese and little scraps of fried meat. I love crispy, crunchy, roasted veg and all the goodness that goes with that. I love tearing off a chunk of the loaf in the centre of the table and dipping it in the melted cheese (even if that cheese might have been my Dad's) and just the thought of a raclette makes me happy.
I think I'm going to have to buy one - I'm all excited at the idea now and missing my Poppa and his lady.
The other happy family time food I'm thinking of is shared with my Mum, The Boosh.
At Easter she came to stay, and in the summer we went to stay with her. Both times we had similar foods - only she did it better. We had fresh Greek salad, with tiger bread and dipping oil and balsamic vinegar - and chilli oil for dipping.
At Mum's we didn't have tiger bread though - we had freshly baked bread. She whipped up some fresh herby bread, cooked still slightly doughy, that we could tear and share. Onto that she blobbed sliced chorizo, sun dried tomatoes and cheese. Nom. We shredded it and dipped it and nommed it up, and followed it up with G&T and chocolate.
Image from http://www.karafs.co.uk/UserImages/SiteImages/pizza2%5B1%5D.jpg
For me food doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate - it just has to be shared with people I love, whose company I enjoy. That is what makes a happy meal.