Enjoying world of fine food

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I come from a family that loves food – all types of food.

We love American food, especially Southern; Chinese; Mexican;Japanese … you name it. And we like to try new things.

I can’t say if I have a favorite ethnic group of food. My favoriteitem of food has to be sirloin steak cooked just so the outside isa bit brown and the inside is really, really red.

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I’ve always been afraid to order my steaks rare from restaurants,but that’s pretty much the way my husband and I cook them at home.I’ve found they just have more taste than if you cook them untilthey are very done and usually dry.

Every few years my husband and I travel to Baltimore to visit withmy father and that side of the family. Usually, while we are therewe have the opportunity to eat a lot of food from a lot ofdifferent ethnic backgrounds.

On the last trip we made, we traveled to Inner Harbour, which is amelting pot of different foods, along with a lot or retailestablishments. There are restaurants and food court-type eaterieseverywhere and all of the proprietors offer samples to lure youinto their establishments. I think Dennis could have just stoodoutside the fudge shop all day, but then that’s just him and hislove of chocolate!

We tried some amazing Thai food and sampled a lot of others. Weended up sitting down to eat at a Spanish restaurant, which was afirst for our entire group. We all kind of expected it to be muchlike a Mexican restaurant; boy were we wrong.

For a group of people who like to eat and who like to eat differentfoods, this was perfect. None of us really knew what tapas were butthis restaurant specialized in them.

We soon found out that tapas are small little dishes of food. Youhave to order several tapas if you want to make a filling meal. Weall ordered several different types of tapas and we all sampledeveryone else’s food. It was grand.

On another evening my father took us to a restaurant on what seemedlike a backstreet near the water. This particular restaurant serveda variety of crab and steak.

I had only eaten crabmeat here in Mississippi, which came from whoknows where – maybe even a can. I didn’t know what I had beenmissing. It too was fabulous. This place was so close to the waterit wouldn’t have surprised me if the boats catching the crabs justpulled up to the dock and dumped their crates out.

My father and my Baltimore aunts and uncles are all from thePhilippines and they can all cook great food. My favorite Filipinofood is panset, which is a thin rice-type noodle, vegetables andsmall slivers of meat. I think there are many variations of thedish and you can basically put anything in it. I’ve tried toreproduce it with recipes, but none come close the dishes my auntsmake.

The funny story here is that at family gatherings my aunts allbring Filipino food, but when it comes time to fill plates, theyall want to know where the Kentucky is … Kentucky FriedChicken.

One year when my father came to visit in Mississippi, I asked himto teach me to make egg rolls. One afternoon he and I choppedcabbage, onions and many other ingredients, and I learned how toroll and create egg rolls.

We made enough that day for me to freeze and have egg rolls for avery long time! I’ve found there is an art to rolling egg rolls andI don’t quite have it!

Before Dennis and I settled down to Brookhaven, we lived and workedin different cities because of his job.

When we lived in Vicksburg there was a fairly large community ofFilipino people there. Once a few of them found out my father wasfrom their country, they welcomed us as one of their own. Myhusband and I were invited to all of the parties and familyget-togethers. We attended a few and I must say, the food wasamazing and reminded me of my Baltimore family.

I’ve had a little hankering for panset lately. I may get out my oldrecipes and see what I can come up with.

And how was your week?

Lifestyles Editor Tammie Brewer can be reached at The DAILY LEADERat (601) 833-6961 ext. 134, by e-mail at tbrewer@dailyleader.com oryou can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602.