I don’t care who you are or where you’re from—everyone has strong food memories from childhood. Some of us think back fondly to summer ice cream cones by a lake. Some people can still taste Grandma’s lasagna or fried chicken. And for more than a few of us, the smell of chocolate chip cookies takes us right back to Mom’s kitchen.
What’s for dinner has always been a big topic of conversation and bonding for my family. When I was growing up, my mom made nearly everything our family ate, from bread to pickles and preserves to peanut butter. She grew herbs in the backyard and took me and my brother along to pick blueberries at the farms nearby. She taught me why you don’t eat tomatoes in December (unless you canned them, which we did) and why you should handle your bread dough as little as possible. And she was my co-conspirator for my very first dinner party—a Big Night-themed, six-course extravaganza for 12 of my friends in high school.
Those memories were the inspiration behind our April 11 menu. For this meal, each dish was a reimagined version of one of my earliest food memories (and in the case of the nuggets dish, memories of one of the foods I was forbidden to eat). My mom even flew in from Portland to help out! She’s an incredible baker, so all of the pastry and breads in the meal were her delicious handiwork.
Here’s the menu we presented. I grew up in Oregon, so the pairings all came from some of our favorite Oregon wineries and distilleries as well:
BREAKFAST (egg and bacon pop tart, hot sauce, maple)
House Spirits Coffee Liqueur
PB&J (foie gras torchon, brioche, three homemade jams)
Trisaetum “Estates Reserve” Willamette Valley Riesling, 2012
EAT YOUR VEGETABLES (asparagus, hazelnut, egg)
Eyrie Vineyards “Estate” Dundee Hills Chardonnay, 2011
LEFTOVERS (salmon, dill, bucatini)
Brick House “The Dragon’s Tale” Ribbon Ridge Gamay Noir, 2013
NUGGETS (chicken, honey mustard, peas + carrots)
Division-Villages “Beton,” 2014
SUMMER (strawberry shortcake)
Clear Creek Grappa Moscato
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