The strongest memories in my mind seem to be tied to food; its smell, its taste, its appearance, and what role it played in my life at that point in time.
I don’t have many memories of my life in Vietnam, since I was only 3 when I left, but there are certain vignettes that remain very vivid. When I eat Banh Beo (mini shrimp rice crepes) my brain always flashes to an image of a sunlit wall and I am sitting at a child size table in the shade with a little dish of Banh Beo. An overwhelming sense of self-satisfaction and self-importance comes over me because those mini rice crepes were all mine! My Mang corroborated that little memory for me because, at that age in Vietnam, it was a treat to get to go out with her on her outings into the streets of Saigon. The smell of the scallions sautéed as a garnish for the crepes lingers in my olfactory vault. Every time I smell that mixture of the finely chopped shrimp and onions, somewhere inside me my inner child is delighted.
That inner child of mine is somewhat of a food enthusiast – you could even call her a glutton at times. She remembers all the favorite, and not so favorite, foods that I have encountered throughout my life. The smell of onions caramelizing in beef fat on a hot flat grill automatically summons the balmy Fourth of July celebrations at Marathon Park in Wausau, WI. Every year, the Kiwanis Club of Wausau would run the concession stands at the demolition derby area. Bo would take me there for the fireworks, but first we would watch the derby and eat. I would always get a cheeseburger with grilled onions, ketchup and pickles, hold the yellow mustard. In my child’s eye, the burger seemed to be half the size of my head! Bo would get a couple of brats with the works, and of course beer for him and root beer for me. It was not a very thick burger, nor was it fancy or made of steak trimmings, but the cheese was real cheddar or swiss and to this day I have yet to have a burger that tasted as good as the burgers at Marathon Park on the 4th of July.
The summers of my childhood were lazy and warm, filled with the smell of smokey grilled sausages and fizzy nose-tickling bottled pop. The slightly astringent smell of the odd mixture of old dairy, covered by the antiseptic smell of cleaning liquid, at times makes me want frozen custard. One scoop in a cake cone, either chocolate or strawberry, but never vanilla. The best part was the cone; all its nooks and crannies filled with the melted custard and gushing with goodness at every bite. Ice cream runs a sad second to the smooth, rich, creamy cold deliciousness of frozen custard.
Thank goodness memories are calorie free, or I would be in big trouble!
V Spice Burger
This is a scrumptious burger recipe using Jovian Pantry® V Spice Seasoning. It is topped with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. If you don’t like mushrooms, leave them off; if you don’t like onions, leave them off; if you can’t stand both then we have a really delicious Caramel Braising Sauce you should try!!!!
1lb 93% lean ground beef
1/2lb 80% lean ground beef
1 large Vidalia onion
1/2 lb mushrooms (fresh shiitake or portobello)
3 tbsp Jovian Pantry® V Spice Seasoning; 2 tbsp to mix in and 1 tbsp to finish the burgers with.
3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce or mild soy sauce
2 tsp olive oil
Your favorite type of lettuce and tomatoes to garnish.
A mild flavor cheese if you want a cheeseburger.
- In a large bowl mix together the 2 types of ground beef with 2 tbsp of V Spice Seasoning.
- Peel the onion and cut in half. Using a small grater, grate in 2 tbsp of onion and onion juice into the burger mix, add Worcestershire sauce and incorporate it well. Let the burger mixture rest and slice up onions and mushrooms.
- Heat up a pan with olive oil, then add onions, cook on medium heat till onions are caramelized and add mushrooms to pan. Cook onions and mushrooms till the mushroom juices have reduced to a thick consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Form 5-6 patties out of burger mixture then grill till cooked to your preference. Please remember that well done = hockey pucks!! Before flipping burgers sprinkle on the remainder of V Spice Seasoning. The heat will release the aromatics and make your mouth water. Build your burger to your desire and enjoy!