There is a show out there called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate".
I have watched it a few times. On the show, famous chefs, food critics and other such types tell about the "best" foods they have eaten, as in, the best sandwich, the best soup, the best dessert, etc. They show the restaurant and the method of preparation the restaurant uses, etc.
The show got me to thinking...
What are the "Best" foods I have ever eaten?
Not a single restaurant dish came to mind.
However, foods cooked by family and friends did immediately spring to mind!
Best potato dish? My Great-Aunt Effies fried potatoes. Holy cow, those were some good potatoes! She cut them just the right thickness, sliced in onions and fried them in a big cast iron skillet in a liberal amount of half bacon grease and half butter. When they were done, she mixed in some crumbled bacon if she had any left over from breakfast. She put those potatoes on the table in a big light brown bowl every day for every meal.
Best dessert? My maternal grandmothers coconut cake. It was perfection. Layers of perfect cake, iced with the most perfect frosting and all covered with sweet moist shredded coconut. Also, my Aunt Ginny's angel food cake with marshmallow frosting. Amazing cake!
Best breakfast? My dad's pancake breakfasts. He could make the lightest, most delicious pancakes EVER.
My dad also gets my vote for best sandwich ever...Peanut butter, banana and bacon. Had to slice the bananas just so and the right amount of peanut butter and the bacon could not be too crispy or too chewy. Fortunately, that is one item on my *best* list I can duplicate!
Best green beans and best cole slaw both go to my ex mother in law, mother of husband No. 2. Just giving the Devil her due! The woman couldn't cook everything well, but dear heavens!, she could make AMAZING green beans! Never did get the recipe off of her. And her cole slaw put every other cole slaw I have ever had to shame. Never got her recipe for that, either, darnit!
My mother is not a great cook. Maybe not even a good one. But she did master one meal down to the last detail better than any other I have ever had. Chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and corn. Her chicken fried steak was so melt in your mouth tender it was fabulous! After she fried the steaks in their breading, she would finish them off by cooking them in the rich gravy she made. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Best lasagna? My very own. I make a Sicilian recipe I learned from the chef at an Italian restaurant I worked at as a waitress back in my early 20s. I altered the recipe, making it my own and have never shared that recipe with anyone. I might write it down one day and give it to one of my kids...maybe. Everyone that tries it has said it is the best lasagna they have ever had and I have won a couple of bake offs with it in the distant past. My ex mother in law adored it and would go to her allergist to get some shots when she knew I was making it so she could eat it as she was allergic to cheese! Offered to trade recipes with her as long as she traded me her cole slaw and green bean recipes for my lasagna recipe, but she wouldn't do it.
I also make the best potato soup. I think I have posted that recipe on here before, as I don't have a problem sharing it.
I do pretty well at baking bread, making curry, making Korean and other Asian food as well. The Darling Man likes the German food I cook, too.
(For the record, last night we had a Thai coconut beef curry over rice, with a grated cucumber relish on top. Was yummers!)
I find it a tiny bit sad that the *best* foods all those people talk about came out of restaurants. Just once, I would like one of them to announce that their grandmother or mother or uncle made the best "whatever" they had ever tasted. Then maybe share the recipe, if they know it.
Food traditions run strong in families. What the *best* is to one person may not be so to another.
Some families have weird food traditions...to me, a ham and cheese sandwich just tastes wrong unless it has slices of sweet baby gherkin pickles on it. And what would Christmas be without a bucket of KFC on the buffet along with the turkey and ham? (Weird family tradition! The Darlin' Man doesn't like KFC, but I think I will insist on it this year! At least a small box of it, anyway.)
Thinking back to my lasagna recipe...I think I WILL write it down, along with most of my other recipes and give little recipe books as Christmas presents along with other gifts to my kids this year. It's nice to think that I can pass along a food tradition that a future generation might value.