Memories That You Can Taste Forever
It is so interesting and fun to think about the differences in food cultures amongst us. For example, I grew up in the heart of the Midwest, in a little town in North Central Illinois, just about 90 miles southwest of Chicago. Everything revolved around food. Friday nights were planned on which neighborhood tavern you would go to for fried fish. Cod? Walleye? Well you could go to “Walt & Krash’s Tap” in LaSalle, “The Riverview” in Peru, and then there was “Lenuti’s, or Rip’s” in Ladd. (And when I say tavern, I mean tavern!) If the wait is too long and any one of them, you just go a mile down the road to the other. Of course you could always pick up this healthy fried fish “to-go” and we might even open a glass bottle of Dad’s Root Beer or Bubble Up to drink it down! Sundays or special occasions were treated by “smorgasbord” where you would find all-you can eat fried chicken, mostaccioli or ravioli, and of course a variety of jello salads! If you were Polish, or Slovenian breakfast included the homemade smoked kielbasa and potica. Is your mouth watering yet? But wait, there’s more.
The best food, in my opinion to come out of our Illinois Valley area has to be, hands down, the infamous fried pork tenderloin sandwich. I don’t know what it is about “The Igloo” which is truly famous for this incredible food. It could be all the memories that are packed into eating pork tenderloins (cheese pork with the works in case you didn’t know what to order) and all the fun, laughs and growing up that make the food as great as I know it to be, but as an adult, I still plan my trips to the Midwest to make sure I can have “a pork” while I am there. It’s a little crazy !
I’m not exaggerating, check out this article in the Chicago Tribune (which is huge news for us LaSalle Peru folks to get mentioned in a major publication like the “Trib”).
Yes, I am proud of my Midwest roots and all the delicacies that have been part of my life. We all have these wonderful food memories that have formed us both physically, and socially (in a good and bad way too) that make us who we are. Thanks for letting me share my history with you.