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Meet and eat

Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2011

One time during Thanksgiving dinner I whispered to my plate, "This is going to be quick. You will not feel a thing." And right before the fork full of stuffing entered my mouth I hollered, "In my belly!"

I think it's safe to say I have always loved food. I was the kid that enjoyed fish sticks during hot lunch in elementary school. Yeah. I was that kid. Twenty years ago the fish sticks probably weren't even made of real fish ... but that meant little to me.

The only food I wasn't excited about eating was vegetables or chewy meat. Vegetables made me sigh and shake my head "no." The chewy meat I ate as a child generally refers to lean, muscular moose meat. It was always well prepared by my mother and tasted fine, but I couldn't get past the texture (much like my brother who frowns at the thought of mushrooms) and would drown it in ketchup and gravy.

Plus, in between bites, I didn't really appreciate my dad recollecting the details of the hunt. This is probably why I avoid moose today. I don't want to face the shame of having previously eaten its potential grandma that probably made fantastic cinnamon rolls. Now that poor moose is out a grandma and her cinnamon rolls.

I say that because my grandma makes awesome cinnamon rolls. They are so ridiculously good, when I know they are in the vicinity, I hum in expectation until I partake of the warm, buttery goodness. The delicious smell alone can work its magic two different ways: it can be soothing and lull a high maintenance person to sit a while and ponder the beauty of life; or it can cause you to be hyper-sensitive while anxiously waiting for them to come out of the oven.

Someone might be talking to me, but if in any way I am near grandma's cinnamon rolls I check out mentally, map the nearest route to the blocks of sugary glory, and do the robot the whole way there.

Seriously though, they are that good.

My second favorite thing to eat are those ginormous waffles you can make yourself in a hotel in the morning, if they offer a continental breakfast bar. You pour the batter into a gadget (I believe that is the technical term), flip the gadget over, wait, and then it beeps extremely loud so everyone turns and watches you battle it out with the gadget to release its grip on the waffle. I usually get nervous the gadget will win or something nearby will randomly explode. Then I begin to sweat and just want it to be over with.

After the waffle is on the plate, I stare. It's beautiful. The really good breakfast bars have strawberries and whipped cream on the side. I have to fight back the tears of joy and blubber silently as I top the magical creation with syrup. Then I whisper to my waffle, "I'm gonna wreck you." The next 5 minutes I black out. As I start to regain memory I hear someone scream in the background, I look around feverishly, and see strawberry stains clinging the plate, while my husband sighs and says, "Every time." I smile slowly. A smile that belongs to waffle killer.

I enjoy cooking anything simple or complex. It's a little difficult sometimes, because my year-old son likes to cling to my pants, which causes me to shuffle and do everything in slow motion. Cooking is already a process, so unless I have a lot of time on my hands (Ha ha ha! No.) I don't really get the chance to commit to such planning. If I try a new recipe from a magazine or watch a follow-along cooking show on TV, I usually end up winging it.

The foodies would probably call me a failure to my face and my amateur self would have to just take it. I'm no Julia Child (sadly for me, I could use her talent and height). In my heart I will always be an aficionado with food, but as far as any real cooking skills go, I will continue to pine after the dream of being a master chef.

Whether you are a culinary artist who creates beautiful works made out of chocolate or the dude sitting on a couch with a sloppy joe, food can be quite the topic of passionate conversation. Like bacon. If you get two bacon lovers in the same room, it's madness. For instance, I own some bacon flavored toothpicks. I've heard of bacon flavored cupcakes and ice cream.

I know. Total madness. My friend sums it up this way: bacon is the candy of the meat world.

What I enjoy most about food is how it brings people together. If you can't speak the language in a different part of the world, you can always taste the culture. Warm food is about as universal as a warm smile. Eating is the new handshake.

If that is the case, I want to meet as many new people as possible!

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.



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