Homemade Rubs & Seasonings
As a child, my family rarely went out to eat. Dinner was served at 5:30 sharp, and we were all expected to be at the table washed up and ready to disclose the highlights of our day. Eating out was a considered a luxury and was reserved for special occasions. As we got older, the rules began to loosen a bit and we developed a new family tradition. After church every Sunday, we began having lunch at a restaurant. The choice of restaurants varied each week, but we most of the time ended up at traditional home-cooked American type diners (think carved roast beef, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls). I undoubtedly considered this a treat and was always grateful for the opportunity, but the adventurous foodie in me truly relished the times my parents would feel bold and choose a local Chinese restaurant. My experiences with ethnic cuisines were limited at that time, and my desire to experience what I perceived as authentic ethnic cuisine was insatiable. And best of all, Sunday was buffet day at most Chinese restaurants on our route. Huge, unfamiliar dishes filled with Chinese-American delicacies were all mine to sample and savor. I was drawn to the unexplored combinations of sweet, sour, and salty. In my eyes, it was harmonious perfection.
The fragrant spices of India float through the kitchen and out onto the street, beckoning all those that pass by to wander into the establishment. The warm, complex smells of curry spice and coconut milk thrill the senses. The people on the street wonder, “What makes up this luring, warming aroma?”
Football. Tailgating. Chili. Three words that are often spoken simultaneously this time of year. The act of tailgating is very old indeed, with roots dating back to the civil war. Spectators would pack picnic baskets and lay out blankets to view the battle. Sounds dangerous and slightly crazy, doesn’t it! Chuck wagons were the next to resemble the modern day tailgate. Wagons were outfitted with a kitchen and the chuck wagon cook provided food to weary travelers and cowboys on the trail.