Food for Thought

How many of your holiday memories revolve around food?

As I write this I am only a few hours away from getting on a plane and heading to Indiana for the first time in a year. I'm also starving, but I'm stuck between eating now and waiting.

See, I love the food in both states. On top of that, it's almost the holidays. Wow that's a lot of food!

These past few days I have tried to have all of my favorite Rhode Island foods that are easily available between studying for finals and packing.

Fresh fish is an oxymoron in Indiana. We don't know real clam chowder. Iced coffee is hot coffee that they dump ice into and give you funny looks about. Pizza comes from a Hut or from Papa John. Italian food comes from Olive Garden, and a steak and cheese sandwich? What in the world is that?

Rhode Island takes the cake on those foods, among others, without a doubt! However, I definitely have some major cravings from home.

A breaded, fried pork tenderloin sandwich complete with all the fixins. A fountain Coke from McDonald's, where the soda is any size for a dollar, instead of the coffee. Chick-Fil-A and its amazing chicken nuggets fried in peanut oil. (People with peanut allergies BEWARE!) Arby's and their delicious roast beef sandwiches complete with horsey sauce. Steak-N-Shake and the thickest, most delicious milkshakes you've ever had in your life, as well as real Cherry Coke, with cherry syrup and everything.

On top of getting in my favorite foods from both states, there are also holiday meals to think about. At my house the food for the holidays is a tradition that I don't think will ever be broken.

Christmas Eve is a filled with appetizers. Spinach dip, shrimp and homemade cocktail sauce (the only way to eat cocktail sauce is to make it yourself), homemade cookies, yakatori (anyone know what that means?), mini hot dogs cooked in beer (everything tastes better cooked in beer), a meat and cheese plate, olives, and the list goes on and one.

Then on Christmas morning, after Santa has visited, it's an egg and sausage casserole and pineapple. How the two go together I have no idea, but it's delicious.

And yes. Santa still comes to my house. According to my mom if I stop believing in Santa then he will stop coming. I plan on believing for a very long time!

New Year's day is by far the most interesting tradition. If you want to confuse your cultures, come to my house. We have pork, sauerkraut and black-eyed peas.

Are we German or Southern? As soon as I figure it out I will let you know. The black-eyed peas are for good luck. I never believed my mom until I missed the meal and had the worst year ever. I now eat them religiously every year no matter where I am.

At school we spend a lot of time talking about diversity and culture and our own heritage. When I think of mine I think food. But along with that comes the memories associated with those meals.

Christmas Eve is so much more than appetizers, yet most of my memories are attached to the times that we are enjoying that meal together. We eat, we get presents from Eve (A tradition started when I was little; it's new pajamas every year, but we always pretend we might get something different one year), and dad reads The Night Before Christmas. Yes. To his 20, 22 and 24-year-old kids.

What are your traditions, favorite foods, and memories?

Although I'll miss the deliciousness of Rhode Island cuisine, I can't wait to be home with my family and our crazy traditions and interesting Midwestern, Southern and German foods.  Mom, let's have chicken and rice casserole for dinner!


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