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Tuesday, March 31, 2015         

The Little Foodie Premium

For articles before August 3, 2011, see the Free Archives »

My father is an adventurous foodie, but there are a few classic foods he can never pass up on. If you take him to an ice cream parlor, he will always order vanilla. If there is a pork chop that promises to be perfect, he will get it. If there is bread pudding on the dessert menu, he has eyes for nothing else.

A recipe with an ingredient list a mile long and multilayered preparations does not scare me. I can spend a good portion of the day on a cake that makes sweet promises.

It's a recipe that empowers children: Put vegetables in water. Heat up the water. Then you have soup. That soup was immortalized in the story of the traveler who tricked an entire town into feeding him with a supposedly enchanted stone.

It's not the New Year I dread. It's afterward, when I'm struggling with new habits every single day. Last month, I was too busy eating cookies to discuss anything remotely about new beginnings.

If I even have an extra minute, I have a talent for filling it. I say "yes" to too much. In theory I want to have less to do, but I usually end up with one more assignment at the end of a conversation.

Sometimes I regret my offer to bake for a friend's birthday. I've had several friends forgo the traditional cake in favor of pie. While I do love a layer cake, I can muster up great pies: pecan, pumpkin, lemon meringue, French silk or any number of creamy, fattening pies.

My daughter knows that in our family, food is an expression of love. The other night I made a stew, and she praised the meal between each spoonful. Her proclamations were almost comical, with long sighs as if she was experiencing new levels of flavor.

As a child, I ate sheets of teriyaki-flavored nori by the dozens. Green flecks lived in my teeth. I'd try to get non-Japanese friends to eat some, but I think they assumed I was crazy to eat stuff that was considered fish food.

If California strawberries that stay in California are as good as residents claim, mangoes in Hawaii definitely rival that legend. The sweet and perfectly tender varieties grown on our island seem to dwarf those that are shipped in, still green and well packaged.

Last December, just before the holidays, we were eagerly awaiting our first batch of lilikoi from the tangled vine all along our chain-link fence.


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