Food Network superstar Daisy Martinez reminisces about loving coconut limber, a frozen snack made by grating fresh coconut (from the tree in her backyard!) and squeezing the pulp. Daisy's mother taught her and her sister how to make it. "To this day, I remember those afternoons in the kitchen with Mami and my sister, grating coconut on a box grater and listening to stories about my mom's childhood in Puerto Rico," Daisy says. After removing the pulp, they'd sweeten the coconut with fresh milk, sugar, and vanilla, freeze it in ice trays, and serve it in little paper cups.
Kurma, crisp flour chips coated in sugar, delights taste buds in Trinidad. Ramin Ganeshram, author of the Caribbean cookbook Sweet Hands, says it was her favorite childhood snack. "I remember buying kurma in little bags from vendors on the side of the road in the Indian communities. In my memory, it's always a road trip snack," she recalls. Because the snack is hard to make at home, she buys it on her trips back. Her young daughter loves another Caribbean snack, coconut bread, which is prepared with grated fresh coconut.
Sweet brigadeiros and savory p?o de queijo are two treats from the South American country. A brigadeiro is a fudge ball made with sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder, covered in chocolate sprinkles. P?o de queijo is a little cheese bread made with manioc (also known as cassava or yucca) starch. "Ever since I was a little girl, I have been making brigadeiros. I rolled them before I could write or color! Same with p?o de queijo," says Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, author of The Brazilian Kitchen: 100 Classic and Contemporary Recipes for the Home Cook. Now, her two young children eat p?o de queijo for breakfast almost every day, and she is teaching them how to roll brigadeiros, just the way she learned at their age.
Tayto brand cheese-and-onion potato chips were the most-loved childhood snack for Chef Cathal Armstrong, owner of several successful restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area. The chips are super crunchy and have a distinctive onion-cheddar cheese flavor. Cathal admits that nostalgia is a big part of why he loves them. "I'm Irish, so we have to have our potatoes," he says. "When I was a kid, I used to go to the local pub on Saturday afternoon with my parents and siblings. The adults would relax, tell stories, and spend time together, and that was our special treat." Even though his own kids don't share his love of the snack, he still orders it online from foodireland.com.
Toasted homemade bread covered with melted chocolate, sea salt, and olive oil is an unbeatable snack in Spain. Superstar chef Jos? Andr?s recalls eating this savory combo every day after school. Today, it's still his favorite: "My daughter Ines has made that for me since she was six! I am very proud of her!"
There's nothing more beloved by Italians than the sweet hazelnut spread Nutella. Teresa Giudice, author of Fabulicious!: Teresa's Italian Family Cookbook, says that going home after school as a kid meant sitting in the kitchen and eating Nutella spread on crackers, bread, or apples. "I've been making Nutella pizza for my two girls -- they absolutely love it."
Domenica Marchetti, another best-selling cookbook author, remembers loving a saltier snack: pane, olio, e pomodoro (bread, oil, and tomatoes). "I associate pane, olio, e pomodorowith all of the wonderful summers I spent in Italy as a girl. The quality of ingredients was impeccable. My mom's three sisters would always make some for my sister and me. They are all gone now, but I think of them whenever I make it," she says.
Pita bread and lebeneh (drained yogurt, or, as most Americans think of it, Greek-style yogurt) drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt is a fond memory for Diana Abu-Jaber, an award-winning novelist. Diana would sit in her family's shared courtyard in Amman, dipping bread into yogurt. "It was a delightful snack and eating it made me feel very content." Her 3-year-old daughter enjoys it too, but with some additions like berries, pomegranates, or diced mangoes. "Sometimes I sprinkle brown sugar on top of it! It is a pleasure for me to watch her spooning up what we call her 'Arabic ice cream,'" Diana says.
There are two versions of the Chinese roast pork bun (char siu bao or bao zi in Mandarin Chinese), a soft bread that's either baked or steamed and filled with red, sweet-and-salty diced pork. T. Susan Chang, author of A Spoonful of Promises, always bought them in Chinatown because no one she knew actually made them at home. "They're best steaming hot, whether baked with a honey-colored glaze on top or steamed so it's cloud-white. Inside is the purest delectable fatty pork, roasted and slathered in a thick sauce of majestic burgundy," she says. As an adult, even though Susan has learned to make the buns, homemade ones just don't taste the same.
A simple open-faced sandwich is what Asha Gomez, owner of an Indian restaurant, loves best from her childhood. "My mom would toast bread in the oven, apply liberal dollops of ghee (clarified butter), and generously sprinkle sugar on top. It was -- and still is -- an instant pick-me-up and my ultimate kid comfort food. Whenever I had a bad dream or I was feeling down, my mom would make this and all would be right with the world again." Today, Asha makes the same sandwich for her son but adds a healthier twist by using artisanal bread and good honey instead of sugar.
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.