“I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream”- Heywood Broun
This post is not really about ice cream, but in the second photo a young Chris Grove of Nibble Me This seems to be embracing what will become a lifelong passion. The joy of food and the strength of family. In the photo his dad seems to be working hard to bring Chris this joy. What a gift. The kind of gift that only a potent combination of summer and childhood can bring. GREG
I grew up in the sweet sticky heat of Florida summers. I was literally “toes in the sand, head in the clouds” before I learned to walk.
I was raised in the “middle class dream” of block houses, lawn chairs, picnic tables, and family cook outs. We spent our weekends at the YMCA and the beach. My dad hand-churned ice cream in the backyard on summer afternoons.
Once I could walk, I beat the summer heat by getting out early and spending my mornings exploring the wide world known as “our lawn”. I would chase anoles (lizards indigenous to Florida, not Aholes, which are indigenous to most highways). I tried mimicking the birds that sang out to see if I could trick them into replying. I watched ants as they busied themselves building their mounds. I built forts for my plastic army men and streets for my Matchbox cars in my sand pit.
But the one constant to my summer days was just about the time it was getting too hot outside, my mom would call me inside for lunch.
Summer lunches were always something simple and usually something cool. One of my favorites was homemade pimento cheese sandwiches.
Back then, pimento cheese wasn’t some orange goop that you picked up at the store. It was something moms made because it was economical, easy to make for a houseful of brats precious children, and didn’t heat up the kitchen.
One of the things I loved about my mom’s pimento cheese sandwiches was that it was served on “that other kind of bread”. In those days, to me there was white bread and Roman Meal. I didn’t know the term wheat bread, it was Roman Meal. For pimento cheese she would use the Roman Meal with the crusts cut off and that was special to me.
When Greg asked me about summers where I grew up, I thought I would try to modernize those memories. This is Sippity Sup, afterall. I thought I needed to jazz up the cheeses, deconstruct it, or make it an edgy appetizer.
First we tried using specialty cheeses. Since I am a barbecue guy, we tried including a smoked cheese in the recipe. Just one ounce of it added to the mixture. Holy SMOKES that was bad. We only used a little of the smoked cheese but it RUINED the pimento cheese. All you could taste was fake smoke flavor. Ick, yuk, and ewww.
Then we made our basic pimento cheese for normal sandwiches. But that was too boring for a guest post on Sippity Sup, I couldn’t just do that. It needed to be bold, big, or special.
“Eureka!” I thought, “Let’s make it into an appetizer!”
So I deep fried balls of pimento cheese. The first 4 attempts all failed. The crust fried off in mere seconds, it tasted too oily, or it ruptured. After freezing the cheese, adjusting the coatings and frying processes, we finally came up with a perfectly cooked fried pimento cheese appetizer, served with a bbq dipping sauce.
It was crispy, gooey, melty, and tasted.……eh, okay. But it didn’t taste as good as a plain pimento cheese sandwich on wheat bread.
You know why? Because sometimes you just can’t mess with a childhood summer memory!