Over the last few months, as I have been cooking, I have been thinking a lot about the role that food plays in the world. I cannot think of many other acts that transcend the borders and ethnicities of the world in the way that the ritualistic nature of daily meals do.
Across socioeconomic stratas and religious viewpoints we all eat (hopefully - though I am well aware of the fact that many people do not have the resources, access or ability to obtain food for some, if not all, of their meals). Food connects us to our neighbors, our enemies, our past and future, our family.
There are a handful of dishes that are universal on my mother's side of my family. All of them were made by my great-great-grandmother for her grandchildren, my grandmother has made them for me, and I have begun making them myself. Through the process of gathering the ingredients, cooking them and eating, I feel connected, a part of a tradition that is my own.
I love making this dish, and the handful of others that remind me of my childhood, my family. It makes me inordinately happy to continue making the same dishes as other generations of my family have been making for decades.
"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story
Mammy Barto's Cauliflower
1 small head cauliflower
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons cracker crumbs (I like graham crackers, but almost anything would work)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash head of cauliflower and steam to al dente. Cut the head into florets.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cracker crumbs and cook, while stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the crumbs have browned.
Add cauliflower, salt and pepper and mix on medium heat until well coated. Serve immediately.