“I’m not sure what makes pepperoni so good – if it’s the pepper or the oni.”

Yes, it remains hot and humid, but the deck has a breeze so I’ll go back when I finish here. While I was reading the papers outside, I stopped a few times, as I usually do, to watch the birds. This morning it was an amazing variety. A hummingbird dropped by and took nectar from the zinnias, but he was too far away for a good picture. This was his third visit so I’m now counting the hummingbird as a regular. The male oriole was back for some grape jelly, and I was able to catch a picture of him on a nearby branch. A fledgling made all sorts of noises from a branch by the feeders. He was a young titmouse still sporting fluffy feathers. My regulars too were there in big numbers, and they ignore me so I get a close-up view. I noticed one of the feeders needs to be filled, an afternoon chore.

When I was a kid, we used mustard or mayonnaise on sandwiches. Ketchup was for hamburgers and French fries. Piccalilli was for hot dogs. The bread we used was always white and mostly soft. It beaded when you took a small piece and rolled it. For sandwiches I ate bologna. My mother always bought a roll of it, and I’d cut it for my sandwich. Most times the piece was thick on one side and thin on the other. I wasn’t the best slicer. A friend of mine’s father introduced me to hot peppers, and they became a sandwich regular, even with the bologna. I still get hot pepper in my subs. My mother bought liverwurst for my father. He’d spread it on bread and add some onion. It looked awful so I never tried it. Much later in my life, I tried and love pâté so I gave liverwurst another chance figuring the two were distant cousins. I liked it.

When I was a freshman in college, a good friend was from an Italian family, and I used to go home with her for weekends. For spaghetti, her mother made gravy instead of sauce, and her meatballs were the stuff of dreams. My friend’s father was a butcher, and he brought home sandwich meats I’d never heard of before. They were all foreign and exotic. I ate mortadella, capicola, both regular and hot, soppressata, proscuitto and finocchiona. Even the cheese was exotic, the provolone and the mozzarella. The bread came in loaves which had to be cut. For dessert we had Italian cookies and pastries. I felt like an exchange student.

My friend left school, and the family also moved so I lost track. I wish I could thank them. They made me a fearless eater of the unknown.

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9 Comments on ““I’m not sure what makes pepperoni so good – if it’s the pepper or the oni.””

  1. Christer Says:

    It´s been raining here since last night and we never reached over 55F. My radiators are on for the night now.

    My mother is a mustard, mayonnaise and Ketchup person. She would have ketchup to pancakes if we didn´t protest so much when we see it 🙂 🙂 Mayo is ok, but I don´t like mustard and uses ketchup only to hotdogs. I´ve never even heard of Piccalilli! What on earth is that?

    We seldom had white bread at home but we always had hard bread. A hardbread sandwich with cheese, tomatoes, salt and pepper is one of the best there is!

    I do like livewurst, but it´s hard to find here. I think it´s so because liver paté is so popular. I don´t think there´s a single home over here that doesn´t have liver paté at home every month. Something else I really like is Smoked baltic herring paté. It was quite common when I was a child but nowdays it´s hard to find.

    Have a great day now!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      We postponed the movie night yet again. It’s getting dark and a storm was predicted.

      Piccalilli is a wonderful condiment. My mother made it the best. It is a mixture of green tomatoes, chopped cabbage, chopped sweet red peppers, chopped onion and all sort of wonderful herbs.

      We all grew out of eating white bread except for my father. You described an almost perfect sandwich. I’d add some fresh basil.

      I am not a herring fan.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Great post today. Food memories are fun. I used to be a picky eater until I befriended a co-worker who was a Nederlander, born in Japan, married to a Sri Lankan and who had lived in Indonesia until right after WWII. She introduced me to all kinds of wonderful foods, including sashimi, long before other people were eating it.
    For the record, my two most favorite sandwiches are grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and sardines, thinly sliced red onion and mayo sandwich. Yum. Except I don’t use mayo, I use Miracle Whip. I know. Evil. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Caryn

      Africa gave me the opportunity to try all sorts of foods, not just African. The Lebanese had several cheap restaurants in Accra so I had middle eastern food for the first time and loved it. The Maharajah was an Indian restaurant, and I ate there too. Then there was goat and grass cutter.

      I love grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. When I was little I ate sardine but wouldn’t touch them now.

      Evil indeed!

      • Rick OzTown Says:

        I have to ask: What’s “goat and grass cutter”, as I failed to understand from the comment?

  3. Zoey & Me Says:

    I remember trying different foods in college. Growing up it was mostly meat and potato dishes, roasted chicken on Sunday although we had cookouts in the summer. But college was like you wrote a place to meet different nationalities and try their foods. Being in Washington, D.C. you can imagine the foods we tested. Military families who lived around the campus were always feeding kids from foreign countries and we would tag along. It was fun.

    • katry Says:

      Z&Me,
      We were also a meat and potatoes family, and Sunday dinner was also chicken or roast beef.

      Ethic food for us was spaghetti. Our town had a Chinese restaurant, but I didn’t eat it until I was older. My parents told us it wasn’t for kids.

  4. katry Says:

    Caryn,
    I was talking about the strange food I ate in Ghana. Goat was a popular meat and grass cutter, also called bushmeat, looked like a giant rodent, but it was delicious.

    • Caryn Says:

      Thanks for the explanation. I assumed grass cutter was bushmeat but was thinking more on the lines of antelope.
      I have had goat in Indian and Dominican restaurants and enjoyed it every time.


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