Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Unlocking Memories

Everyone has a story to tell. Whether one's life is unconventional or relatively normal, there’s bound to be something interesting to share.  The past two decades have shown a surge in published memoir articles and books. It has become a popular genre that affords opportunities for us to leave behind a written legacy for others. It is important to preserve family stories and events. Memoir writing can also offer a healing experience and a chance to re-establish relationships that may have grown apart.  Memoir writers look back over a part of their life as an opportunity to gain insight and wisdom perhaps enabling them to proceed in a new direction. 
Memoirs have many themes ranging from surviving poverty, betrayal or timeless love of a soul mate, coming of age, rags to riches story, mother or father's love conquers all, sacrifice and bliss, spiritual journey, surviving a near death experience, overcoming addiction, family struggles, coping with mental illness or a physical disability and many other universal themes. 
Memoir comes from the French word memoire and means memory. Unlike autobiography that focuses on a whole lifetime a memoir focuses on an aspect or part one's past that is framed by certain events.  Using food as an analogy think about a whole pie and a slice or two of the pie being the memoir.   
The following books are some suggested memoir titles I have come across recently.  

Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
This memoir was written by a Gabrielle Hamilton, a chef in New York. She owns a restaurant called Prune.  She writes about the food industry and the challenges of running her own restaurant. It also is a book about her family, struggles in her marriage and raising two children while working. Her writing style is entertaining, irreverent and even spiritual at times. 
The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
This is a compelling story written by an author who is Rhodes Scholar and investment banker. He explores the question; how can two boys who have the same name, live in same Baltimore neighborhood, experience troubled childhoods, runs in with the law and one will survive and become successful and the other will spend the rest of his life in prison for murder. 
Chicken Teriyaki
Cook's notes: This photo does not exactly reflect the actual presentation of the meat for a Hawaiian meal.  I was involved in an event that served a meal for a senior group with a Hawaiian theme. We made Hawaiian plate lunches consisting of rice, macaroni salad, teriyaki chicken and a skewer with pineapple and Spam. (see blog from March 8, 2013 for some of the recipes) 
I got so caught up in all the kitchen activities and serving the food items I totally forgot to take a picture of how it all looked when it was served.
This photo is the cooked meat with the sauce on it the night before.
The next day the pieces of chicken were sliced and more of the teriyaki sauce added. It was then reheated for 10 minutes uncovered and served at room temperature. 
The secret to tender chicken is marinating the meat in buttermilk for 2 hours before cooking it.    
The basic sauce was increased 4 times to have enough sauce for 8 pieces of chicken 
Ingredients for 8 pieces of chicken breasts skinless and boneless
Basic Sauce  
  • 3 TB, soy sauce x 4= 3/4 cup
  • 3 TB. brown sugar x 4 =3/4 cup
  • 2 TB. sherry x 4= 1/2 cup
  • 1 TB. sesame oil x 4= 4 TB
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger x 4 -1 tsp.
  • 1 TB. sesame seeds x 4 =4 TB.
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder x 4 =1 tsp.
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice mixed with 2TB. cornstarch

  • Separate chicken into 2 large zip loc bags 
  • Pour buttermilk about 1 cup in each bag
  • Seal and place in a shallow glass pan in the refrigerator for 2 hours
  • Drain and place in 13 x 9 pan
  • In a saucepan add all ingredients and whisk to blend
  • Cook on low heat till thick and bubbly
  • Add half of the sauce to chicken in pan cover with foil
  • Bake at 350 @ 4o minutes
  • Remove foil add rest of sauce and  cook 10 minutes longer

Baking steps could be eliminated and chicken can be grilled basting frequently with the sauce

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