I had the fine pleasure of delivering a basket of goods to my friend Kevin. He has unique and powerful memories of growing up in the south that are triggered by food. We share this trait although I grew up in the Pacific NW. Once I learned that he had not enjoyed a certain Southern relish (that will remain nameless) since 1968 I took it into my own hands to see if I could jog a memory. First, it is very odd to try to recreate something for someone not knowing what it is supposed to taste like. Second, it is a lot of fun.
On delivery day, I threw in some rhubarb catsup and some green tomato marmalade for good measure thinking perhaps they would uncover some other, yet hidden food related visions. The rhubarb – which he swore he had never eaten before – turned into a long “ah ha” followed by “I have eaten this…” and then the rest of the story.
My reward for a few hours making use of green tomatoes that would otherwise go to waste and a minor burn from the canner was a southern lunch like I’d never had before. Narrated. Followed by fine tuning the mystery relish to memorial perfection.
I’m working on the second batch this coming weekend.