I had not eaten tomato soup in about 30 years. I could not find my mother's tomato soup. Each winter, when I went to Florida, friends and relatives would assure me that they had found THE restaurant that served Momma's tomato soup. I tried each and every one of them and always came away disappointed.
It all started when I was about 4 years-old. I was in Spain with my father, mother and older brother. I was in the kitchen, ready for my food to come. My great-aunt, my father’s aunt, was cooking the food. I saw her teaching my mom how to make a delicious dish called ‘’pollo con salsa de ajo,’’ also known as ‘’Chicken with Garlic Sauce.’’
My dad was a butcher, so we were often treated to some form of meat at meals, but Sunday was the day when it got the regal roll-out: heaping, steaming plates of gravy-dripping pork, lamb and sausage. But the much awaited star of the show was the humble meatball: fat, round, gravied or just plain fried.
My most important ties to life run through the narrative histories of family members and close friends, and the places where we staked out our homes and livelihoods. Thirty-five years ago, I wasn’t doing so well financially, out in Lawrence, Kansas, where I hail from.
There is nothing special about my mother's potato salad. Just like many other recipes here, it was brought from one country on one continent to another country on another continent. In the process of immigration the main ingredient went from being called "Kartoffel" to "papas."