Confessions of a Culinary Sentimentalist
Contributing to the hash of life
Friday Fish Dinners - Noday's Pizza and Deli, Mahoning Avenue, Austintown. 1 large piece of fish, 3 pierogies, cole slaw and a roll, $8.49 The fact that Noday's is packed on Friday nights is a good indicator of the quality of their fish dinners. I stood among a forest of tall Austintown firefighters after my order was taken, watching the staff hand-bread rack after rack of huge fish fillets. You can see directly into the kitchen from where orders are placed and watch the assembly of dinners, but your wait won't be long if my experience was any indication. My piece of fish was large enough that it had to be folded to fit into the takeout box. It came with a cornmeal coating, and was well seasoned and delicious. Tartar sauce is provided in packets, but the fish is good enough to go without. The pierogies had a flavorful potato filling and were not covered in butter. I'm not fan of coleslaw, but this was fresh and had a good taste. While pierogies are a Youngstown specialty I think I'll try fish with macaroni and cheese the next time I'm in. There are a host of sides dishes available, including pasta salad, soup and jo jos, plus big brownies made in-house. Overall everything was very good, mainly because of the size and quality of the fish. Wangari never left me alone while I had any fish left, so she gives Noday's a five of five paw rating.
Chef Cavan Patterson discusses harvesting wild foods in urban settings for his restaurants in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Replanting the Rust Belt
Today while I was walking my favorite area of Mill Creek park I saw a big buck come down from the forest to graze on the acorns that lay along the roadway. Once aware of me he watched steadily as I approached up a steep hill. While he never seemed alarmed he did keep some of the larger trees between himself and my line of sight as he stepped away.
For several years now I've been making what I refer to as Cheaters' Wedding Soup that I take to work for lunch. It involves merely simmering carrots and pasta together in chicken stock and then adding cooked meat and handfuls of baby spinach at the end for a few minutes. The cheating involves using prepared stock (and I'll admit that I really like the fat-free Target brand) and substituting Rulli Brothers' turkey kielbasa for the meatballs found in traditional wedding soup. I can use about 1/6 of a pound of kielbasa and get a lot of flavor from it, so a little cholesterol goes a long way. If I have leftover chicken breast I dice that and throw it in as well, and serve the soup with some grated table cheese.
In 1995 I accepted my first professional position and moved from the Youngstown area to Mansfield, Ohio to work for the Ohio Genealogical Society. For the last seventeen years I've lived away from home, sometimes in places that I loved, sometimes in places I loathed. I visited often, usually staying with my mother, who is elderly and in poor health. Every time I left I worried that we might have said our last goodbyes. In the late summer of 2010 I was offered a position at the Warren Trumbull County Public Library and this past spring I relocated to Youngstown.
Spring of 2011 finds me back in Ohio with a new job, a sort-of new place and some new commitments. I received a tapered rolling pin and some tiny fluted tart pans for Christmas, and I broke out the puff pastry this morning. Also, I joined the local CSA Grow Youngstown, so I believe a crash course in preparing vegetables should begin sometime in June. Should I ever come to find a use for beets or okra I'll consider this move a huge success.