Today's guest blogger is my dear friend Rachel over at Me, Myself & Pie. Rachel is someone I actually knew before I started this journey out of the extraordinary, and I am just loving her own journey as well. She loves to eat, she's learning to cook, and she's a fantastic writer. So read this post, and then go check out her blog! And if you're stopping by from Me, Myself & Pie, welcome!! I hope you take a few minutes to check out my other posts... I'd love to get to know you and maybe have you Be My Guest!
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Life Without Corn Dogs Is A Sad Life Indeed.
First of all, Janet, thank you so much for having me as a guest. I’m honored to contribute to your lovely blog!
Now…I’ll just go right out and say it. I love food. While other people collect snow globes and ski down mountains, my hobby of choice is making, eating and writing about all kinds of glorious food. At least that’s been the case these last few months.
In October I decided to really learn how to cook once and for all by pledging to spend a year behind the apron – making and blogging about a new Cooking Light meal and dessert every week for a year. Julie Powell style, only with less butter.
At first, I was excited to try my hand at fancy shmancy, Martha-like creations, but one thing I quickly learned was that it doesn’t take an extraordinary recipe to make a memorable meal. In fact, it’s all those ordinary foods that seem to make so many moments of our lives...well, extraordinary.
Don’t believe me? For just a minute, try to imagine all the important, cherished and unforgettable events we experience without the foods and drinks that make them what they are. This is what you’ll be left with…
Birthday parties without birthday cakes.
Break-ups without ice cream.
Mornings without coffee.
Midnight gossip without wine.
Third grade without tater tots, chocolate milk and Jell-o cups.
Tailgates without burgers.
Baseball without hot dogs.
Football without wings.
Summer without ice cream and watermelon.
Spring without salads.
Winter without chili and cocoa.
Autumn without apples, cider and donuts.
Top Model marathons without giant bowls of potato chips. And fat pants.
Movies without popcorn.
Sleepovers without pizza.
Prom without spiked punch.
Tea parties without tea sandwiches. Or tea.
Carnivals without funnel cakes and corn dogs.
Grandma’s house without homemade….everything.
Valentine’s Day without chocolate hearts.
Easter without chocolate eggs.
Thanksgiving without turkey and pie. And naps.
Halloween without candy.
Christmas without sugar cookies, gingerbread, and those little powdery snowball things.
Vacations without mai tais and margaritas.
Midterm all-nighters without grande mocha cappuccinos.
Potluck picnics without potato salad, taco salad, lasagna and fried chicken on the same plate.
Weddings without wedding cakes.
Campfires without marshmallows.
Saturday mornings without sugary cereals.
Shopping sprees without food court Chinese.
Pregnancies without taco bell, pickles and Cheese Whiz at 4 a.m.
Anniversaries without chocolate syrup and whipped cream.
Road trips without Cheetos and Doritos.
New apartments without pizza on the floor.
Childhood without mac ‘n cheese, Cheerios and heart-shaped, crust-less peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
These foods make up our lives. Our memories. Our comfort zones. At least mine, anyway. That’s why we talk about them. Obsess over them. Recreate them over and over.
But notice how there are no fancy French names? No required weeks of planning or hours of preparation? They don’t call for expensive imported olive oils or 20-dollar ingredients.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my fare share of fancy foods. Expensive dinners I couldn’t pronounce. Frilly L.A. cuisine. But you know what? I couldn’t even tell you what it was that I ate. And I bet I’ll never crave it again, or yearn to make it for my family.
Yet those plain old normal foods above somehow mean far more to me than any caviar-encrusted, rare fruit-infused, bank-breaking cuisine ever could. My life wouldn’t be the same without them. And to me, that makes them extraordinary.
So I leave you with this. Bread. Butter. Cheese. A simple, easy recipe for quite an ordinary food, but with a fresh twist. It’s a divine creation (that even Oprah approves, apparently) that I had on my birthday last year at a little café in Michigan. Maybe it’ll even become one of your extraordinary favorites. (And in the meantime, I’d love to hear about your “ordinary” pastime fare.) Cheers!
Grilled Three-Cheese with Tomato, Basil and Honey
(Café Muse’s grilled cheese sandwich)
Yield: 1 sandwich
1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 slices tomato
2 slices bread (multigrain or sourdough works well)
1 slice Havarti cheese
1 slice mozzarella cheese
1 slice fontina cheese
*NOTE: (I’ve also made it with feta, mozzarella and Swiss, with just as delicious results.)
Butter bread on one side with softened butter. Place in pan, butter side down, over medium-low heat. Place mozzarella on one half of the bread and fontina and Havarti on the other. Cook until golden on bottom and cheese begins to melt. Place tomato on mozzarella side and honey on fotina/Havarti side. Place under broiler for a few minutes to heat up tomato. Sprinkle on basil, assemble your sandwich and enjoy a huge bite of summer even if there are icicles on your radiator.