One of Mimi’s favorite foods is beans. She gobbles them down in any shape or form (Which can make life rather…um…aromatic…at times) Her most favorite beans, however, are my World(ish) Famous Baked Beans. As I was preparing to make a batch of them for the weekend’s festivities, Mimi insisted on helping me make them. She desperately wanted to know what magic ingredients I used to create my unusual ambrosia. The only problem with her thinking. is that I don’t really have a recipe. I just toss in the same basic things as I remember them, doing a little tweaking here and there.
Mimi’s enthusiasm to duplicate my baked beans, reminds me of myself when I decided that I wanted to make my mother’s potato salad. I feel badly for those poor souls in the world that haven’t had their lives enriched by savoring a spoonful of Mom’s potato salad. It is, truly, the best in the world.
I can remember standing at the kitchen counter with Mom carefully cutting the potatoes in to bite size chunks, trying not to mangle the eggs too much as I sliced them and sneaking bits of sweet gherkins into my mouth. I’d help my mother by mixing together the mayonnaise, mustard and various other seasonings to create the sauce and then gently folding it in with the potatoes. It was heavenly.
After I grew up and lived on my own, I knew that I, like my mother before me, would make Potato Salad my Signature Dish. Only…I couldn’t do it. I would follow her simple recipe to the letter (Which, for me, is a huge feat!) only to have it fall short. Actually, it didn’t fall short, it fell flat. Completely flat. Time after time, my infamous potato salad was the only full dish sitting amidst platters that had been practically licked clean at the end of a gathering. Apparently word had gotten around. I was crushed.
I’ve since switched to my World(ish) Famous Baked Beans as my Signature Dish. (Happily, they nearly always disappear first.) Still, deep in my heart, I wanted to be known for my potato salad. After all these years, I think I may have finally found the perfect recipe. It involves such odd items as sugar snap peas, dill weed and olive oil. Despite the fact that it’s nothing like my mother’s potato salad, it was the first dish to be licked clean and everyone was raving about it and begging for the recipe. I just may have dethroned the Potato Salad Queen.
When I told my mom about my new recipe and all the trials I’d had to recreate her dish, she was astonished as she had no idea how much I had agonized over her salad. Then Mom reminded me of all the times she had tried to recreate her mother’s famed Glorified Rice. Hmmm…there seems to be a trend going on here.
Apparently, I need to tell Mimi to give up on my beans right now. She needs to know that no matter how hard she tries, the chances are that they won’t ever taste like her mama’s. Although, knowing my child, and all the women before her in our family, she probably won’t listen…
Don’t worry Mimi, you’ll eventually find your own Signature Dish…