Deb Amy Dishes About Deb Dana And Takes A Trip Down Memory Lane

franksA few years ago I mail-ordered classic Philadelphia food and put it on plates in Chicago. It was my birthday and I wanted to share with my friends the foods I took for granted for 26 years. The smells and flavors of the cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and Butterscotch Krimpets and Devil Dogs were familiar to me, and because my friends are full of awesome, they loved it all and licked their plates. Metaphorically of course. (wink)

jimsI have an deep appreciation and affection for the foods of my youth. It is still unseemly to me that there are not places to get pizza, cheesesteaks and hoagies on every corner anywhere but Philly. And in Chicago—hold onto your pretzels with mustard folks—there are no food carts. There are no vendors standing in the middle of the highway on a median selling fume soaked pretzels in paper bags. Which is, by the way, how they were intended to be served and consumed.

So needless to say when I read Deb Dana’s book THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO LOVE AND SUPPER CLUBS I was not only enamored with Hannah Sugarman and her cooking skills, enchanted by her humor, and touched by her subtle insecurities but I was in awe! The main character in Deb Dana’s book planned an entire supper club dinner based on FOOD FROM PHILADELPHIA. (And we know that means Deb Dana love Philly food the way I do.) Deb Dana and I grew up near one another, albeit in different decades (sigh). And besides our common bond of being debut authors, we’re connected through the unique foods that make our hometown really special.

frog-commissary-cookbook-amazonNot only was the book fresh and delightful, but my dear friend Dana mentioned something I had not thought about in years. The Commissary. Specifically carrot cake from The Commissary—a Philadelphia culinary institution from the 1970’s. I hadn’t thought about it in years and then I read Deb Dana’s book.  For me the book was lots of innovation in characters and story, but a lot of nostalgia as well. And because there are so many different foods, places, and recipes in THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO LOVE AND SUPPER CLUBS, I’m betting I’m not the only one who feels that way.

And if you ask me, that’s the perfect recipe for a great read!

If you live where you grew up, is it strange to think of a food you might not be able to get if you moved away? What would that food be? Or, if you’ve moved away, what food do you miss? 




7 Replies to “Deb Amy Dishes About Deb Dana And Takes A Trip Down Memory Lane”

  1. Mmmm. Another delicious post in honor of Deb Dana!

    I grew up in San Antonio, TX, and still miss the Mexican food I used to get in the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants there. Yum!

  2. Jim’s was my teenage steak joint of choice. Spent many high school weekend night walking up and down South Street. Nothing like standing against a wall and eating a monster sized sandwich. Mmm.

  3. Water ice! Sigh. I miss you weird East Coast food with funny names.

    When I moved to NYC I could not get a decent tub of cottage cheese to save my life. What you people call cottage cheese is just weird curdled ricotta. I looked high and low and couldn’t find the watery stuff I loved from Iowa.

    Now whenever I visit my parents I eat shameful amounts of it. I dunno what the secret is. But it is so, so good. Even the cottage cheese in Madison doesn’t taste as good.

  4. I recently realized just how privileged I am to have grown up (and still live) in Toronto, where we have access to so many types of ethnic food. Everywhere you go, there’s Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Greek, Lebanese, Japanese, Korean, and so many other amazing flavors.

    I’d really miss the Thai food in particular if I moved somewhere it hasn’t yet taken off. PAD THAI. NOM.

  5. For me, the food I miss the most from childhood has to be Regular Jon’s Pizza.

    Regular Jon’s was an independent pizza restaurant on San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood, CA. All our family friends went there, and on the special Friday night when my parents would take us out for pizza as a treat, I could count on seeing at least 3-4 kids I knew. Regular Jon’s had an old projector that showed Looney Tunes and black and white shorts (like The Three Stooges) in the dining room, and there was a decommissioned fire engine in front of the restaurant that the kids were allowed to play on – effectively, a jungle gym. Also, there was a bucket of lollipops at the bar that kids could have for free (my parents told us ONLY TWO PER VISIT – though I know a lot of kids who ate many more.)

    Regular Jon’s pizza was – and remains to this day – the best I ever ate. Wood fired, thin crust, amazing.

    When the restaurant closed, I mourned. I still miss it, all these years later.

Comments are closed.