Themes - Gracious and Good, Level Up
Food/Tech Tie In – Cake/Fritter Making, Dredge, Sautéing
Homage - Friends Gathering Together
When I think of sharing food with those we love, a fitting theme for this month, I think back on early days when my friends and I were on our first or second job out of college. For whatever money we were making, it was more than we ever had and as such, we would reward ourselves by gathering on occasion at local upscale hotels for their Sunday Brunch.
We were never disappointed as usually it was a smorgasbord of every answer, antidote and cure-all to the party the night before, inclusive of carving captains, omelet magicians and waffle wizards. Mimosa’s (yay) and Bloody Mary’s (yuk) were the proper accouterment and indeed “the hair” that an 11:00am reservation called for (IYKYK). Everyone once in a while a crab cake would be offered a’la cart, and if we were feeling like we had an extra couple of coins that month, at least one of us ordered it. Full of crustacean goodness, chopped veggies, bread crumbs and a seasoning from a yellow and blue can, it made us feel that we were really living albeit there was only one car between the 8 of us, and everyone had a taste of that one order of crab cakes.
In between the hotel brunch adventures, we also gathered in each other’s apartments complete with roommates, visiting parents, others not on the regular but still cool friends list. that mixed in with the core group, rounded out an amazing bonding of children of the diaspora who became, musicians, fight attendants, doctors, lawyers, writers, marketers, engineers, poets and designers (me). Music, adult beverages and food were always a part of what was in the room where thoughts, ideas and new plans...happened.
We ate chicken and pasta if we were on a budget, and seafood including shrimp and a crab cake or two if we were feeling flush. The standard crab cake complete with onions, celery, and peppers, was our piece de la resistance and generally reserved for smaller gatherings, (remember we were still first and second job beings) but it wasn’t a crab cake with out that yellow and blue can seasoning, and plenty of it (I verified this having quite a few in Maryland over the years).
As time ambled on, that was the flavor that represented all things crab, shrimp and good times as we continued to connect over the years and onward as we built separate lives and new memories spreading out to different cities, states and parts of the world. Today most of us have entered into second careers and/or are saying “tootles” to the corporate part of our lives. With more culinary exposure from our vast travels, all have turned a few recipes on their ears so that our global experiences can show up and out.
One of my go tos be it for myself or when sharing food with others (queue small gatherings), is a Shrimp Cake recipe that captures some of the familiar ingredients of its hard shelled cousin, but moves on from the standard seasoning to something that brings a little twist aka sumpin’ sumpin’ to the foodie game. An initial crunch that lets you know what time it is, gives way to a well held together yet moist bite of shrimp oh-so-good-ness. A little remoulade sauce on the side, a squeeze of lemon, accompanied by a blue pea tea prosecco topped libation...and we have Food For Those We Love, delivering culinary flowers to all that are around the table,