Sunday, February 5, 2012

I'm a 1000 Miles from Nowhere

Superbowl Sunday is here. The NY Giants were playing in Indiana, my home state. Eli Manning is fun to watch and is familiar like the kid down the street that had good parents and you went to smoke out with in his paneled basement. Looks like Hoosier snack time!

I opted to keep a running theme of my Fort Wayne food memories however foggy and completely wrong they might be.

The first dish was a roasted red bell pepper hummus for my Greek nachos. These were so invigorating with the cool tomatoes, feta, Kalamata olives and cucumber atop a generous painting of hummus on crisp toasted pita wedges. Uh... but those were Hungarians, not Greeks in Fort Wayne that I had admired, apparently not that closely. My sister M also made a really great goulash as I recall now.

Fried Pickles seem like a midwestern thing but I'd done those for the last holiday so I made fried pickled jalapeno slices instead and guess what? Even better Yo!! So good and the heat mellows, so you just get that little hit. Dipped in Buttermilk Ranch dip. Do the whole jar. You won't regret it.

I made a refreshing lime-aid with simple syrup and lots of fresh limes on ice.

A baked apple crisp for dessert with vanilla ice cream to honor Johnny Appleseed who I always thought was from there but turns out was just buried in the Fort. We had apple trees all over growing up though, so this wasn't like the Greek thing.

But the main attraction was to be the recreation of the Pete's Pride Pork Fritter! The frozen pork tenderloin patty that my dad used to fry up and put between white buns (fun fact - Sunbeam Bread is a Fort Wayne factory) with mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion. These stood equal to beef burgers in our house. And they were cause for celebration. I didn't even realize it but as I read now, this flattened, battered, marinated, fried, pork patty sandwich was a true local food tradition in Indiana.

And that sandwich was such a pleasant surprise. The taste brought me right there to that good memory. My dad was like many fathers of his time, terminally grouchy and your presence never made that any better. But there were these certain times when my dad was very happy and one of them was in his anticipation of this amazing pork sandwich while he was making it. Back from Avy's grocery store, excitement in the kitchen, lots of clanking around. I could sneak a peak at his red face and white teeth as he cracked jokes while he cooked, probably about how skinny my legs were or something of that humiliating nature.

It almost didn't matter though. I was going to eat too!
All in all a good homage to Hoosier cuisine and my sad sack upbringing.

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