This past weekend I flew home to Cleveland to visit my family. I was in town for just 36 hours or so, definitely making this the quickest trip home for me to date. Like clockwork, as soon as my flight was booked, my Mom was already asking me what I wanted to eat when I came home. Truth be told, I rarely throw her any curve balls when it comes to special requests (I tend to stick with my childhood classics).
Little bit of background—my family is Russian, Soviet Jews to be specific. My parents and grandparents came here in the late 1970's with a dream to start a new life in the U-S-of-A. Fast forward several years and you've got "kid Jess", chowing down on smoked herring, salmon roe by the spoonful, and buttered pumpernickel bread—in-between meals that consisted of macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, and Fruit Loops.
Truth be told, when I was growing up in rural Ohio, I was a always a little uncomfortable about the "weird" foods my friends would find in our fridge when they'd come over. But today, I couldn't be prouder of the food I grew up eating. Maybe it's because I live in Brooklyn, where every step you take offers you a glimpse into another culture, or maybe it's because I finally grew up. (Yes, that sounds about right.)