Terrible Twos for BAMF! 5 Foodie Memories That Stuck Like Spaghetti On a Wall

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Blast from the Past: Let’s Stroll Down Memory Lane


May 3rd marked the two year anniversary of Bay Area Menu Files and part of me can’t believe I’m still posting semi-regularly for this blog.

I admit that I am not as consistent as I could be about posting, but it’s not terrible?

Maybe you guys might feel otherwise. Leave me a comment if you like me to post more frequently!

To celebrate, I thought I’ll recall 5 memories-- strictly food related-- that ranges from rose-colored nostalgia to “why-in-the-world-did-you-think-that’s-a-good-idea-Amy” stories.

I have a lot of those moments, by the way. No parental supervision during college translated in a lot of cooking experiments in the kitchen. And it’s not because I don’t know how to cook, but because I didn’t want to cook in the tried and true, traditional way.

It’s my idea of living on the edge. I know, so extreme… Heh.

Once in a Blue Moon



Mooncakes are a staple in my family for the yearly Mid-Autumn Festival. My family would almost always purchase a box at the supermarket and I would nibble on a pieces here and there, favoring the lotus paste ones with the double yolk over everything else.

While I’m not a huge fan of mooncakes, the Mid-Autumn Festival wouldn’t be complete without tasting one.

And I can still remember, back when I was younger the days when my grandma would make mooncakes by scratch. She and her sister (my other grandma) would start this intensive labor of love early in the morning by making the dough out of flour, syrup and a ridiculous amount of oil and knead it until it was ready to be filled. Sometimes they're extra ambitious and make dough for the snow skin mooncake as well.

Plates of different fillings (lotus paste, red bean paste, various nuts, egg yolks and etc.) would be prepared and everything would be moved to the linoleum kitchen floors that’s lined with a mat for seating and filling. My grandma would pulled out this thick wooden paddle with two holes that were carved hollow and into an intricate pattern to fit the pastry.

They worked side by side, sometimes just the two of them, other times my grandma and my aunts and they would meticulously fill the dough with the filling and egg yolk before pressing them firmly into the already floured mold. Once ready, they would flip it over and with a loud CRACK, smack the mooncakes out from the mold and place them on a tray, ready to be baked or chilled.

An egg wash would be gently painted over the top and edges to ensure a golden finish. My grandma made ones with all sorts of filling, five kernels for my mom, plain lotus paste for another aunt, ones with single egg yolks, one with double yolks and etc.

As for me? Grandma would use the leftover dough and make me piggie or fish shaped cakes.

Popcorn Madness



When I was younger, I spent a lot of my summers and hours after school at my grandma’s house with my cousins. As one of the oldest cousin of the bunch, I was always expected to set a good example for my younger cousins.

That rarely happens.

One summer day, out of boredom, I had a great idea in my mind.

At my grandma’s house, bags of pre-popped popcorn were an essential staple in the pantry and my cousins and I had it often for snacks. At that time, one of my relatives had returned from a vacation to Canada and bought back maple syrup as a souvenir.

I decided that day, it would be ingenious to combine popcorn with maple syrup and while I was at it, I’ll also toss some peanut butter into there. I would combine everything together and make a massive maple syrup peanut butter popcorn ball and shared it with everybody.

Now, I didn’t get that far before being thwarted by the adults. Their danger radar must’ve gone off when they saw me spending too much time in the kitchen. I had gotten as far as pouring the syrup and started adding spoonfuls of peanut butter before I got stopped. So instead of the glorious popcorn ball, I had sad maple syrup popcorn and a spoon of peanut butter.

Not to say, it didn’t taste good separated. But it could’ve been glorious.

Eggcelent


Not the actual egg dish, but it's egg. Haha. 

Once, my aunt called to ask how I made scrambled eggs.

I asked her why.

She told me that her son (my cousin) said she wasn’t making them correctly.

“I want it Amy-style,” he said.

He was referring to the egg and rice dish I whipped up as an after school snack.

So she asked for the recipe.

One egg. Scrambled in the pan. Add soy sauce. Cooked well (Gordon Ramsay would totally disapprove) and place over a bed of white rice.

I still look back on this memory fondly. Because he was a picky child. And I take it as a major compliment since he’ll eat my cooking.

Looking Green Around the Gills



Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

My first concussion happened when I was 12.

I was at a summer music program and it was nearing the end of lunch one day.

I had this brilliant idea of having my cousin (different one from the “Eggcelent” story) push me down the stair rails so that I could slide down faster.

Everything was going great until I was sliding too fast and I lost control.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

I flipped backwards and smashed my head against the concrete with a considerable amount of force. And the world went spinning.

All the King’s Horses and all the King’s Men

I ended up in the emergency room. Threw up my lunch. Which at that time was a hot dog and a box of Applehead into the sink before getting escorted in for a CAT scan.

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Luckily for me, it wasn’t anything serious. Just freaked my parents out and racked up a huge bill for doing something stupid. And rocked a huge bruise in the back of a my head for a few days.

I can never look at Applehead the same way again.

Shake that Mama Noodles



We eat a lot of odd things as kids with combinations that probably look like a nightmare to others. Pizza with ranch. Hot cheetos with nachos cheese. And the list goes on and on.

When I was in middle school, it was all the rage to eat Mama Noodles-- raw. You know, the one in the silver bags with the iconic red “MAMA” font with the bowl of noodles printed on the bag and marked Tom Yum Shrimp flavor.

We would pull it out of our backpacks during breaks or lunch, crush the dried noodles into smithereens and dump the entire packet of seasoning before giving it a thorough shake.

Now that I look back on that time, I wonder what gave us the idea to even do that? Maybe the lack of hot water to make proper instant noodles? A craving for MSG? Whatever it was, I can’t look at a bag of Mama noodles without thinking back to the days in Middle School.

I just want to say thank you to all my readers for sticking around, whether you’re new or you’ve been here since the start. Now here’s a food for thought: what sort of food evoke a strong memory for you?

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