A couple weeks ago, Anita of Married ...with Dinner pinged me via IM, mentioning that Erin had tagged her on the meme to post five things to eat before you die. Of course I was terribly curious what five things she needed to eat before I die. Now I know.
And now it's my turn. I've sort of been playing along at home, thinking up various delicious things and reminiscing on dishes and discoveries from various travels. Narrowing the list to five is painful -- the world is full of yummy things! -- but eschewing to my contrarian ways I will stick to the rules this time.
Rome may be Italy's capital for all things governmental, historical and arguably even cultural, but culinary is another matter altogether. In a country so rich in incredible edibles, Rome is at best serviceable, albeit still wonderfully Italian. But there are a few things unique to Rome that are unparalleled elsewhere, and supplì top my personal list. What else could you possibly do with leftover risotto besides form it into a ball around a dollop of mozzarella, sauce and/or meat, roll it in breadcrumbs and fry it until Golden-Brown and Delicious? Nothing this delicious, I am sure. Getting some of these is the first order of business when we go to Rome.
2. A crunchy, fragrant baguette, a nice, stinky unpasteurized-milk soft cheese and a lovely glass of Sancerre.
We've had better French food outside France (most notably in Québec), but when it comes to the basics -- bread, cheese and wine -- the French do it better. Combined together, eaten outdoors either in one of Paris' wonderful parks or on the shore in a seaside town, they conspire to form one of life's great simple pleasures.
3. Pulled pork BBQ sandwich on a soft bun with sweet and tangy coleslaw on.
Luckily, this is one of those things I get to enjoy relatively frequently. Of late we were treated to a double dose of the good stuff from Moonlite BBQ in Owensboro, Kentucky, but we have made pulled pork from scratch on a few occasions. It's time-intensive, but so worth it in the end. I love the complementary sweet-tangy flavors and the contrasting textures of the barbecue sauce and coleslaw together.
4. Piquillo peppers stuffed with baccalà.
When we spent a month in Spain, we ate a lot of tapas. And I mean a LOT. There were a number of repeats and regulars, but this was the one I would order pretty much every single day. I really adore a nice baccalà brandade under any circumstances, but stuffed in a sweet, red piquillo pepper and laid on a bed of tomato-ey salmorejo it is one of my ultimate comfort foods.
5. Maine lobster roll.
In Maine. Preferably at some dive shack on the water. This is a testament to my East Coast upbringing. The Maine lobster roll is one of those wonderful regional foods that is all but utterly unreproduceable elsewhere. First of all, the rolls. You need those split-top hot dog buns with the exposed sides that are nearly impossible to find outside the Northeast. Those bready facades get grilled in butter. The bun is then filled with cool, creamy lobster salad, accented with a touch of dill or tarragon, the crunch of finely diced onions and celery, and topped off with the smell of salt air and the keening of gulls. Heaven on earth.
Now, I can't just let this whole thing slip by without breaking one rule, can I? Of course I can't. So I am going to break the chain and not tag anyone this time. I know, I know: I'll probably go bald or not win the lottery or my nonexistant pet will die or something. But really, it's not so bad is it, considering 99.9% of all food bloggers have already done this meme? :-)
Well. Life is short. Better get eating.