Comments: Five Foodie Memories (and the one that got away)

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Great stuff. I really get a feeling for how close you were to your grandmother.

Who fed you the mango, if you don't mind my asking?

Evil boyfriend's old best friend Steve from Seattle and his then-girlfriend Chole. They were really sweet to me in a troubled times.

Some time ago - months, years?? - I saw an Italian woman on TV stretch strudel dough exactly the way your grandmother did. She stretched and stretched it til it was insanely thin. I'm sorry. I don't remember the name of the woman but as I recall, she was Italian and made her dough with olive oil. (I'm pretty sure it was Lidia Bastianich....) It was amazing to watch the dough being stretched and stretched and stretched.

-Elzzabeth

Thanks for that very readable and vivid post. The amazing thing is how I find so many things in common....

Elizabeth, thanks for the confirmation! I Googled the chef but her web site (not surprisingly) didn't have anything about it. Maybe I'll have to check out her cookbooks next time I'm in the US, as I'd love to see the explanation!

Deccanheffalump, thanks for tagging me! I felt the same way reading your post (allowing for completely different cultures and continents)!

I too googled and couldn't find anything about it either, Meg. I double-checked with my husband and after looking at her photograph on the net, he confirmed that it was Lidia Bastianich. But neither of us can remember what TVshow it was on or exactly when it was. It may well have been on PBS before the food network was even launched.

-Elizabeth

Bingo! (well, not really) This strudel recipe describes a similar dough stretching method:

http://dessert.allrecipes.com/az/GrmnpplStrdl.asp

-Elizabeth

WOW. Elizabeth, that is fantastic!! Thank you so much - I'm definitely going to try that!!

Maybe I can somehow channel my grandma's spirit if I play songs from The Sound of Music over and over...? : )

Well... Grandma didn't make much >apfel

Grandma did tutor me once on the strudel, when we were living in Oberlin and she came to visit (in her mid-eighties!). What I remember most about the dough was:

a) it was very difficult to get the consistency that she desired - not too wet, not too dry, not too stiff. What was funny was that she used darn near EXACTLY the same recipe as the other grandmother, but the dough feel was very different.
b) part of the secret was the flour that she used. Here my memory fails me a bit, but I think that it might have been something unusual like cake flour.

Grandma also starred in a home video that cousin Joanie made of her and Eleanor making strudel. When I was in Colorado fifteen years ago I left blank tapes for them to make me a copy, but apparently they never got around to it.

Brother Kurt

Well, that's the last time I use brackets for emphasis in comments... part of my first paragraph got whacked off. It should have read:

Grandma didn't make much apfel strudel. She made poppy seed/dark raisin strudels and walnut/golden raisin strudels almost exclusively. The only time that I recall seeing apfel strudel around her house was when somebody like niece-in-law Stephanie (who was truly German, not Austrian like Grandma) had brought one as a gift.

Wow, I would just about kill for that video. I'll have to see if Mom has her address!

Thanks for the input Kurt! It's true that what I mostly remember is the poppyseed coffeecakes, but I thought that was just because grandma was so old by the time I was born. Mom always implied she had stopped making apple strudels because they were too much work.

Either way, I seem very early to have regarded the Irish-American grandmother as the source for dessert recipes and the Austrian one as the source for savory dishes. Funny, isn't it?

I'll be really interested to hear if it works. (I don't know about playing The Sound of Music over and over though. You don't want to get queasy from all that sweetness. ;^))

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