mofo: childhood

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2) Recreate a meal from your childhood.

I asked my sisters what they remember eating growing up. The list got pretty funny and gave me some ideas for later in the month.

However, my best friend in elementary school was Debbie Lee. Her family moved to our small town and opened a western Chinese restaurant. They lived on the other side of the apple orchard from me and I slept over at her place a lot. Every morning her Grandmother, who they called ‘Po Po’ and did all the cooking at home, would smile at me and ask if I wanted a ‘fried egg sandwich?’ I always said yes. I would sit at one end of a huge table filled with dishes her grandmother made for her parents, her twin brother and older sister. I had no idea what was in the bowls her family picked from in a truly communal sense, all the while speaking Mandarin. I never asked and they never offered but I was certainly curious. I was always satisfied with the sandwich which I even ate if I was there for dinner.

I picked up some square white (chia) bread from Cob’s -in Australia this is the Baker’s Delight chain. I pressed the water out of a block of firm tofu and took two slices off it. Coated it in bragg’s then ener-g starch cause it’s what I had on hand and lots of nutritional yeast and black pepper, then flipped it in the cast iron skillet. I could have added kala namak for more of a sulfur taste but the bragg’s and nutritional yeast already added enough umami. Toasted the bread, added veganaise, yellow mustard and cashew cheese I’d made from Vegan Secret Supper. Her Grandmother would have fried the bread in the pan but I adapted it to my own taste. Fried food doesn’t digest well with me. Regardless of that, this took me back to that table being an outsider looking in.

The summer transitioning from elementary school to Jr high her family moved to the coast. I was devastated and scared going in to a new school without my best friend. It took a long time till I found people I could connect to. Debbie and I kept in touch and I went down to visit her a bunch but over time we drifted. She started hanging out at football games and I was going to punk shows. If I was on Facebook we could have reconnected a long time ago I’m sure. When I do see her again I’m going to find out what was on that table.

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16 comments
  1. kendy said:

    i remember eating scrambled egg sandwiches as a kid when our pantry was bare! i wonder what a scrambled tofu sandwich would taste like!?

    • lysette said:

      My guess would be pretty freakin good, especially if you followed Vegicano’s recipe for Tofuevos!

  2. Jennifer said:

    Great post for Vegan MoFo! I’m participating as well if you have time to swing by!

    • lysette said:

      Will do, Jennifer. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. Another fried egg sandwich afficinado here – eating them as a kid seems a million years ago now. I’d rather have the fried tofu by a country mile these days – nooch, black salt and all that good stuff. Fingers crossed Debbie’s out there waiting with her secret recipe…

    • lysette said:

      Yes! I would have gone for tofu back then too if it was an option. I bet there was tofu in one of the dishes on the table.

  4. What a lovely memory! If I had to think of a childhood sandwich memory, mine would definitely be mashed banana and dates, that was a favourite for me 🙂

  5. great memory– my grandmother made fried egg sandwiches with paprika sprinkled on the eggs which made them seem really special. I didn’t know about the Cobs being Bakers Delight!

    • lysette said:

      Mmm I love smokey paprika! Yeah, Mom was so happy when Bakers Delight opened as Cobs over here cause she loves the cape seed bread. There are a lot of Aussie ex-pats over here, I think we lure you with our snowy mountains 😉

  6. ameyfm said:

    what an interesting story about a special friend… it’s amazing how open-eyed we are as kids… and how we just accept the things around us — for better or for worse. ❤

    • lysette said:

      I wish I’d had the courage to say I wanted to try what they were eating. I had an adventurous palate thanks to my parents but I was afraid my chopstick skills would have been embarrassing! Yes, I want to keep that youthful curiosity and acceptance in my life, I hope we all do!

    • lysette said:

      Thanks Shen 🙂 I hope so too. Debbie, if you’re out there, call me!

  7. Ttrockwood said:

    Ha! My best friend when i was little also was the daughter of the chef and wife who owned the local chinese restaurant. We met in preschool and she barely even spoke english. I remember thinking how weird it was their house had no butter! When i stayed over dinner was always a bowl of the most perfect rice ever with lots of stir fried veggies (even as a kid i loved veggies) and whatever omni protein. We had congee for breakfast :))

    • lysette said:

      Congee is so good! Every time I ate out with my friend Jeffery he would order congee. I loved watching him eat it. His whole body would relax and soften, it truly defined comfort food. Perfect rice I have yet to master!

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