School lunches varied for me growing up. It generally ran the gamut of stereotypical American school-age lunches: Lunchables, Chef Boyardee Beefaroni, sandwiches, Hot Pockets, the occasional lunch provided by the school, and leftovers. Even when I was in elementary school, I think my favorite lunch was leftovers of the previous night’s dinner (yes, even more so than Pizza Friday).
Pretty much no matter where you live in the U.S., I can almost guarantee you’ll be able to find Mexican food items in your local grocery store. Or, in some cases, “Mexican” food items. If you’re lucky, your neck of the woods will have some kind of Mexican market — whether it’s a little bodega or a commercial chain. The trick is knowing what to look for.
Do you ever feel a little naughty eating pasta Alfredo? Like you’re doing something you shouldn’t, eating carbohydrates slathered in rich, creamy sauce? I do, sometimes. I also feel like having something green would completely cancel out any harm the cream may do to my arteries. And adding in a protein just makes it a perfectly balanced meal, right? Obviously, chicken and broccoli Alfredo is the perfect meal.
I don’t eat tortellini often; I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t feel like there’s ever enough, or maybe it’s because I have only had it with sauces that are too heavy for the little cheese packages. That must be it, because after making this recipe, I can’t come up with any other explanation.
“Forrest Gump” is one of my favorite food movies. What? You don’t think it’s a food movie? It’s totally a food movie. It gave the world Bubba, and gave voice to my love of shrimp. I had never related to a character until I witnessed The Shrimp Speech by one Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue. So much shrimp; so many possibilities. Steamed shrimp, shrimp gumbo, shrimp patties, shrimp and grits — all unequivocally satisfying.
I think my first chef crush was on Chef Boyardee. No joke. How could one man get such deliciousness into a tiny, convenient can? And it was tasty every single time I popped that metal lid. Naturally, when I was thinking about meals to make for lunches, I had to do my own Beefaroni. While Chef B’s will always have a special place in my heart, I think this version is a definite improvement on a good thing.
I can’t stand monotony when it comes to food. However, I could eat pasta every day for days at a time and never get bored. Not considering all the different ways it can be prepared, there are just so many different shapes — from long and flat to short and hollow. And then there’s gnocchi. While gnocchi could be categorized as a potato dumpling rather than what we think of as traditional pasta, it’s so much more than a simple dumpling.
In Hawaii, poke, a salad of marinated uncooked tuna, can be found in pretty much every situation where food is present. I’ve seen it on fancy hotel buffets next to the seafood bar, in the deli section of grocery stores, and on the table by the tub at family potlucks and birthday parties. Here’s the thing: Poke is pretty simple to make. All the work for this recipe happens when you’re grocery shopping because the ingredients are what really matter.
I don’t remember the first time I had dried plum. Maybe it was on a playground at my elementary school in Guam. Whenever it was, what I’ll never forget is how my fingers would be stained red after eating one, and how I could still taste traces of saltiness hours after nothing was left but the marble-sized pit. In Guam, these Chinese pickled and dried, sweetened plums are called “sweet and sours” because they are just that — sweet, sour, and a bit salty, too.
Dear SPAM, Those who don’t know you pass you by. Some even look at you with disgust or derision. They look at those of us who love you the same way, even with pity, and not a little bit of confusion. To them I say: You just don’t understand. They don’t understand that appearances aren’t everything. You may be pink, squishy, and a bit gelatinous — and sure, you’re not made with the best parts — but we are greater than the sum of our parts.