29 January 2011

Ymmm! Shrimp: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 5 Favorite Food

Week 5:  Favorite Food.  What was your favorite food from childhood?  If it was homemade, who made it?  What was in this dish, and why was it your favorite?  What is your favorite dish now?

Blogging:  A good excuse to fix shrimp, so I could take a picture!

It was hard to narrow down my list of favorite foods to just one, but as I thought about special dishes I had when I was a child-I kept coming back to shrimp.  It wasn't something we had often, so when we did-it was special.  I am guessing it wasn't an economical meal to prepare for a family.  My mom would buy breaded shrimp and deep fry it.  I remember my mom serving it with coleslaw and sometimes french fries.  I preferred tartar sauce as a child, but like cocktail sauce now.

Once in third grade we were reading in social studies class about shrimp.  I was one of the few students who had eaten shrimp.  I don't know if I volunteered my mom, or if the teacher asked her, but my mom made shrimp to share with the class.  She made it at home and brought it into the class for all to try.  I think back on it now and realize what a generous thing that was for her to do.

Sometimes in the summer we would get food baskets and drive to Lake Huron and have a picnic.  My dad was a teacher in a small town, and when he was hired he was told that teachers weren't to be seen in the local bars or restaurants that served alcohol.  So, my mom or dad would call the local bar/restaurant and order takeout baskets for us.  We would drive up to the back door of the bar/restaurant and my dad would go in and pick it up.  We would have to sit in the car smelling the delicious food until we drove the seven miles to the lake.  I remember ordering a shrimp basket many times.  The place on Lake Huron that we would go to was a scenic turnout with picnic tables and a beautiful view of the lake. 

I still enjoy shrimp, but very rarely make it.  My favorite food now is anything Thai.  I have three Thai cookbooks and enjoy trying new recipes.  I especially like pad thai, maybe it's the shrimp in it!  I like the combination of spicy, sweet, and salty.  My favorite homemade pad thai is:

8 ounces rice noodles
2T peanut oil
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2T. chopped shallots
3/4 cup cooked small shrimp
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar substitute
6-8 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup chopped blanched peanuts
1 medium egg, beaten
1 cup bean sprouts

1.  Soak the noodles in water at room temperature for 30-60 minutes or until soft.  Drain and set aside.
2.  Heat the peanut oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallots.  Stir fry until they begin to change colors.
3.  Add the noodles and all remaining ingredients except the egg and bean sprouts, stir fry until hot.
4.  Stirring constantly, drizzle in the beaten egg.
5.  Add the bean sprouts, stir for about 30 seconds.
6.  In a small bowl mix together the following for garnish:
     1 T. lime juice
     1 T. tamarind concentrate
     1 T. fish sauce
     1/2 cup bean sprouts
     1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts    
7.  Place Pad Thai mixture on serving dish.  Top with garnish (see #6) and lime wedges.

Finding all the ingredients in Battle Creek, Michigan is not easy.  I found fish sauce at our local oriental market, but had to buy tamarind concentrate online.  My favorite Thai restaurant is in Chicago, Opart's Thai House.  It is in the same block that my daughter and son-in-law live on. 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin, of the We Tree blog, is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.


  1. Brenda,
    "Once in third grade...about shrimp. I was one of the few students who had eaten shrimp. I don't know if I volunteered my mom..."
    I had to LOL cause I can hear it now. Classroom setting: Teacher ask question during shrimp lesson. "Who has eaten shrimp before?". Three or four students raise their hands, but yours is waving wildly. Teacher calls on Brenda. Tell us about eating shrimp.". And you start raving about your Mom's shrimp. Teacher wants to try some too... LOL And Now, I want some, with tarter sauce.

    Great post! Thanks for following me.

  2. Thanks for the laugh, I probably volunteered her!