December 26 – Soul Food
What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?
Author: Elise Marie Collins
If you look at the link above, it is all about healthy foods and their benefits. When I think of soul food, seasonal,it changes for me. Spring: my soul food would be picking strawberries and eating their sun drenched goodness, just as they are. There is nothing like picking these juicy, freckled berries that doesn't make me happy. I usually have strawberry shortcake for my birthday, with a large dollop of whipped cream kissed with vanilla extract. I earned it, bending over and picking faster then everyone.
Summer: probably popcorn, I love to escape on a hot, humid day to the theater. I love the beach, too, but somehow I still haven't gotten use to the humidity in the south. There is nothing like the escape of a great summer blockbuster, popcorn in hand and treasured memories of practically growing up in a theater. Popcorn is a comfort food for me, isn't that soul food. Takes you back to your roots.
Fall's soul food, would be several things, I love apples, cranberries, but if I had to pick one. It would be stuffing. Bell's seasoning is key, toasted bread, whole wheat and white, a splash of olive oil, chicken broth, blended with piny spikes of rosemary and thyme, tasting of the earth's harvest. Roasted garlic and caramelized onions dance in sauteed oil. Blended together, this mixture is a combo of 3 women and their take on the holiday. My grandmother's recipe, then my Mom added her signature note. Me, I added the fresh herbs, olive oil and caramelized onions. One bite makes you taste buds sing, it is a blend of earth's rich soil with rustic touches. It awakens wonderful memories of family gathering, music and a huge feast.
Now this brings me to Winter. Yes, the above photo; It is tradition, I make this every Christmas morning. I prepare, the bread dough the night before. It is your basic, Parker House Dinner Roll recipe. It is fun to shape the dough, pinch it and roll it out. It is soft and forgiving, this dough. You then spread butter or margarine or the dough flattened into a rectangle shape. Mix 1/3 c. sugar with 2-4 tsp cinnamon. Your preference, my family loves cinnamon, less is not more, at my house. Then roll and cut into slices, pinwheel shaped. We frost ours with a cream cheese frosting. It is a bite of heaven, rich with buttery, cinnamon goodness, kissed with vanilla cream cheese icing. The soft bread dough surrounds the ooey gooey icing as it floods the cinnamon, butter blend. One bite and I'm 5; my Mom made these every Christmas. It is a flash back of warmth, a tree covered in tinsel, my Dad answering the phone as if it was the North Pole, and a crowded house. My Dad tried to make Christmas last longer than most. We only were allowed to open our stocking and then had to wait, til after breakfast, before we could open any gifts. We watched each other open gifts, it was interrupted with family phone calls. He never did succeed, but he tried. The scent of these rolls is Christmas for me, the warmth of family, laughter and love.