Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Perfect Lunch

Confronted with a cloudy, rainy, dreary autumn day? The cure is simple: A perfect lunch. The necessary ingredients remind me of some of my earliest memories. Born in Scotland, my mother enjoyed the staples of the old country. The basis of all mid-day meals was a cup of good tea. A Red Rose box was always nearby. I would wait for each new purchase of Red Rose tea with anticipation. Every box contains (to this day) a small porcelain figurine of an animal or other little critter. These made endlessly durable playthings at no cost!

Add to the menu a piece of wheat bread toast. Prepared authentically, each piece of toast should be slightly burnt. A couple of scrapes with a knife will cure that! When I smell bread burning in a toaster, I always think of my Mom in our kitchen making an afternoon snack. No toast is complete without orange marmalade. Ordinary jelly will not do! The only brand acceptable is Keiller's Dundee orange marmalade made with an authentic recipe dating back to 1797. Imposters, like the watery Bonne Maman of France and the Swiss Hero varieties, can't compete with the real thing. Since 1988, Keiller's has been manufactured in the Robertson's plant in Manchester, England (horrors!) The taste is still intact. It is a thick, tangy delight packed with sweet, thinly-cut orange rind congealed in a perfect jelly. Look for Keiller's distinctive white glass jar. Yum.

If you require something more substantial for your tummy, how about some chicken vegetable soup? I'm sure this tradition dates back centuries when my ancestors served as falconers in Southwest Scotland. My memories of my grandmother making tasty soup goes back to when I was two or three years old. During my childhood, like most of us, the standard soup was the trusty chicken noodle soup made by Campbells. In the past few years, designer soups have come onto the market to raise the quality standard and provide alternatives for soup lovers. The closest equivalent to my grandmother's soup found so far is Progresso Traditional Chicken and Wild Rice. It is a tasty brew without being heavy in salt in fat. Writing this article is making me hungry!

No warm and cozy lunch would be complete without a dessert treat. My Dad's mother made the most delicious home-made apple sauce ever tasted. The recipe was rudimentary: Ingredients: Apples! Mash into a fine slush, spoon into a bowl and sprinkle a little sugar on top. How wonderful! Apple pie, from Northern Spy apples, is a close second. Now add a toasty fireplace and close friends and you are all set. Happy Holidays!

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