I did a big photo-dump of my iPhone and found a bunch of food shots taken over the summer. I had intended to provide my usual droll commentary for each but never got around to it. Does that happen to you? Do you have a big backlog of material that never actually makes it to Publish Post? I think I throw away more than I post. Lucky for you.
Summer is synonymous with eating scrumptious dishes that might not necessarily be in my best interest from a health and wellness standpoint. I should be more mindful of what I put in my body since I have very young children and need to be around for a few more decades. It doesn’t help that I bought our healthcare plan from some guy in the Times Square subway station who was selling policies off a card table. But I simply CANNOT HELP MYSELF when faced with these masterpieces of culinary artistic endeavor. These hard/bad choices are almost exclusively related to our annual trip to Cleveland. Make of that what you will.
It’s probably because it’s what I was raised on, but I feel there’s no better pizza than what’s served on the great North Coast of Ohio. The style of crust in Cleveland is thicker than the weak, thin-crust variety served on the eastern seaboard, but it’s not nearly as thick as Chicago deep dish pizza. Like it’s place on the map, Cleveland crust is somewhere between the two.
This is the supreme-ninja-grandmaster-combo of all time; pepperoni, anchovies and onions. I’ll bet you’re having trouble breathing right now, aren’t you? Back in New Jersey I am surrounded by the IRISH, who apparently have a broad cultural disdain for the delicioso tiny, salty fish, so the only time I ever actually GET an anchovy pie is in Cleveland amongst my Italian brethren. You can’t have everything. The Italians are lousy playwrights.
For years, I have been writing ad nauseam about my bro-in-law’s ribs. Their miraculous quality. The soulful essence that billows up from the grill when he lifts the lid. They have a narcotic, almost addictive quality. This past summer’s batch were, as always, perfection and grace. It’s October and I’m still having dreams about these beauties.
There was a new item on the menu this summer. He served homemade baked beans. He MADE them! I always assumed baked beans came from a can. I didn’t know you could actually make the damn things from scratch. Boy, did they taste better than the ones that come dribbling out of a can. They looked more enticing, too. Just out of camera range: a bottle of Dortmunder Gold from the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Viva!
If I’m clutching a big fist full of Clevo ribs, that can only mean one thing; the marinara sauce is only a day or two away. I know the “old-world recipe handed down through the generations” is a tired, worn-out cliché, but that’s exactly what you’re looking at here, folks. It migrated over from Calabria, through Ellis Island to Cleveland, then to my grandmother, then mother and now sister. That’s how it’s done! One of my nieces had better learn how to make this. There’ll be a pop quiz one day.
Mom’s parents immigrated from Italy but Dad’s parents immigrated from Poland. Growing up, we weren’t as steeped in Polish cuisine as we were Italian, but I still have a soft spot on my palate for it. The perogies that come off of Grandma Ski’s Polish Food truck at the Cuyahoga County Fair are pretty much an exact replica of the ones that Grandma P used to make. As a child, I didn’t have a great affinity for them and turned my nose up. But now, I gladly pay good money for something that was once free.
After your big, heavy County Fair perogie orgy, for desert you can treat yourself to one of these:
Or not. New taste sensation, indeed.