* Scroll to the bottom of this post if you want to skip the back story part of this*
"If you could meet anyone--dead or alive--who would it be?" I've never had an answer ready for this one, but now that I've had many years to think about it, one person at or near the top of my list of people to meet would be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've read all of her books as well as all of the books of Rose (her daughter) and Ma (her mom). I was so sad when I finished LIW's last book, The First Four Years. That was the first time I had read about childbirth (she talks about giving birth to Rose), and it kinda freaked me out. I think the phrase was this: "She was being bourne on a wave of pain." Lovely. Anyway! I swear this post is about food. I think about the food Laure Ingalls Wilder and her family ate because she described them fairly often. Salt pork, venison, canned peaches (a REAL TREAT back then), cheap barrel candies, etc. I will never forget reading from Farmer Boy about how Almanzo Wilder (who ended up being Laura's husband) ate food one time with such enjoyment that he could taste the food in all of the "corners" of his mouth. That really stood out to me because that's how you really taste delicious food...when it fills all of your mouth and you love it and only want more. Another thing that stood out was the fact that for a treat they used to put molasses in the snow and make molasses candies. I think it sounds better than it actually is, but I'd always wanted to try it. I'd even do it in the winter and eat real molasses with real snow (including all of the nasty pollution) just to say that I've tried it!
For now, I'll have to settle for shaved ice, which I don't mind at all because it's one of my favorite things to eat. Shaved ice with ice cream is by far my favorite, but any kind of shaved ice thing with fresh fruit, sometimes sweet beans, sometimes condensed milk (like in the Filipino treat, halo halo), etc. Here are some examples:
Plain shaved ice:
Just plain from Kogetsu-Do in Fresno
Just plain from obon festival in Parlier (near Fresno)
Shaved ice with ice cream, fruit, & other toppings:Just plain OR shaved ice with ice cream from Kogetsu-Do in Fresno (finely shaved ice - awesome!)
From Ten Ren's Tea Time in Riverside
Shaved ice with ice cream from Japantown in San Francisco - Argh! I gotta find this picture!
Green tea snow cone with azuki beans - in Japan
Creamy Slushies: Cream Slush from Sonic in Fresno, Clovis & other locations in the US - I usually request that they separate the slush part from the ice cream part so it looks kinda like this homemade 50/50 bar slush drink.
Granitas (kinda like shaved ice):
Fresh strawberry granita
K...so about this shaved ice. After watching Alton Brown go on and on about how wonderful the Bragg Family Farm's Sugar on Snow dish (shaved ice, molasses, unsweetened donut, & pickle...so weird but amazing according to Alton Brown, who is one of the food gods) is on The Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate, I had a craving for shaved ice and also that combo of molasses and snow/shaved ice. Since I don't have snow anywhere near me in this 90-100-degee Fresno weather (and because it's kinda filthy lol), I just blended some ice and put honey on top. I knew this wouldn't be amazing, but it tastes good, and I like the texture of the honey after it's started to get really cold and slightly hard. The cinnamon makes it more interesting too. Try it with finely shaved ice if you can.