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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

September 13, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Old Hunger: the foods we miss from our hometown. Yours?

Re-runs? I’ve got a few. And I’m running them this week. Including the 1999 column below, in which I describe time spent savoring the foods of my youth — the very foods I still pine for today. Dare I ask: Where do you hail from, and which “Old Hunger” foods do you pine for?

So, I took a vacation. If you can call flying back East to visit the relatives a vacation. It was 8 a.m. when we arrived at Philadelphia International Airport and on the way to baggage claim I saw it: Real pizza, hot out of the oven. Thin, sturdy crust, lots of mozzarella, tomato sauce that lives up to the name. I looked longingly at my husband, who had our kid under his arm, and in return got a “Don’t be ridiculous!” look. What does he know? He’s from Chicago, where pizza comes disguised as a quiche.

Pizza wasn’t the only thing I couldn’t wait to eat. Rolling along on the Avis shuttle bus I could already taste that dreamy cheesesteak, served on an authentic Italian roll with a mix of sweet and hot pickled cherry peppers.

Stowing bags in the trunk, I was mentally preparing to wash the footlong sandwich down with Frank’s Black Cherry Wishniak soda and a TastyKake cherry pie.

It was clear from the minute I got off the plane that, for me, this vacation was not about sun (which there was), or sand (plenty of that too, once we reached the Jersey Shore), or even about showing off the kid to friends and relatives. It was all about assuaging Old Hunger. Which, loosely defined, is the longing for foods that recall who you are and where you’re from — the things you miss most when you’re years and miles from the place you once called home. [Read the full article here].

Philadelphia pizza (photographed May, 2011): thin crisp crust, with just the right amount of “pull.”

Comments | More in | Topics: Get out of town!

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