Thursday, March 17, 2011
I started this blog for two reasons; I wanted an easy way to keep track of recipes that I enjoyed, but more importantly I wanted a way to update my parents and grandparents, Mamom and Papa, on my life in Michigan. Every time I talked to them on the phone or sent an email it seemed like there was nothing new to report, but writing in this blog allowed them some insight into my day-to-day life. Mamom was one of my biggest cheerleaders from the very beginning, and I would constantly get emails saying "I loved your latest Eat This and I can't wait to try that recipe" (she never called it a blog, always my Eat This). Over the last few months she asked repeatedly if I thought I would eventually have time to write more, and I always said that I intended to get back to it soon. It was a shock to the entire family when Mamom passed away two weeks ago, and I think that the only way to appropriately say goodbye is through an Eat This.
I have so many memories of Mamom that I don't even know where to start. Before I was old enough to go to school, Mamom and Papa took care of me while my parents were at work, and after I started school I spent most afternoons and summers with them. I don't ever remember watching tv with them (except for the news) because Mamom always had something planned. We went to museums, we ran errands, we volunteered, we went on walks and bike rides, and we went berry picking. Everywhere we went, I reached up to grab her hand. I was never "Katie" to Mamom, I was always "her Katie."
I've never met a woman who was so proud and supportive of her children and grandchildren, and I think we've all kept going at times because of her encouragement. In fact, her responses to my first (private) blog posts prompted me to open this up to a public blog. She also encouraged me to cook way before I started the blog, and whenever I made a meal for the family she would talk about it for days (sometimes years). While I was home last week I met some of her friends for the first time, and the vast majority of them mentioned something about my "gourmet cooking" (ok, so she sometimes exaggerated just a bit). I don't consider my food gourmet in the least, but to her it was because I was the one that made it. This loyalty and pride extended to the rest of the family and to her friends.
I also have many food-related memories of Mamom. She introduced me to pesto, hummus, and kale, just to name a few. I also have fond memories of her pumpkin ice cream, turkey and dressing, eggplant casserole, and baked spaghetti pie. And don't get me started on her blackberry cobbler. But one of the dishes that comes to mind first when I remember Mamom is her fumi salad. Mamom always made a large batch of this salad whenever the rest of the family was in town, particularly during the summer. I never get tired of this salad, and it gets better as each day goes by. I've shared a similar salad before, but last week I flipped through her recipe box and found her official recipe. Mamom, this Eat This is for you.
Mamom's Fumi Salad
4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
8 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 packages of ramen noodles (any flavor)
1 cup canola oil
6 Tbsp rice vinegar
4 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
Combine cooked chicken, cabbage, green onions, almonds, and sesame seeds in a giant bowl (or two large bowls). Place the ramen noodles (not the flavor packets - you can throw those away or save them for another recipe) in a large ziploc bag, and crush the noodles with your hands or a rolling pin. Add the noodles to the cabbage mixture. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients, and then stir this dressing into the salad. Mix well and refrigerate for at least a few hours before eating. Serves 8-10.