I've been incredibly stressed lately. School is kicking my ass and anytime I start to feel a little overwhelmed I get incredibly nostalgic.
For me food is the number 1 nostalgia trigger. Movies and music are a close second, but I always associate everything that is good with the food that was consumed during that time.
Lately it's Ike's BBQ
My mother is from Florida, so I have a ton of family there. When I was little we would go there once or twice a year, sit around with family, eat way too much food and talk a lot. But every now and then we would get Ikes BBQ.
Now in my mind this is how the day would go.
We would wake up, eat a huge breakfast and start moving. We would start in Orlando where my Aunt Connie lives and we would all hang around, watch court shows and Maury Povich. We would perhaps go shopping at some discount outlet mall and then we would head over to Eustis. My mom would yell at my dad about something, my sister would hang out with my Cousin Stacy and I would sit quietly in the back seat of whoever's car we were in or in someone's living room watching my family maneuver around one another. I would start shooting hoops alone in the driveway of my grandparents house while my grandpa watched and congratulated me with each shot I made. I would avoid the creepy kid from across the street who had a crush on me and convince my grandpa to watch MTV (when they actually played videos) with me after the Young and the Restless. As I got older, my sister, father and I would all do some huge project like paint the outside of my grandparents house or the inside for that matter because the three of us can only relax for about two days before we get restless. We would work hard, and sweat hard all day long and get incredibly hungry. My dad would always ask if we wanted to grab some junk food which for the most part was always a quick and viable option but every now and then my mom would surprise us and always plan on making an Ike's run.
Ike's BBQ is amazing. They use a mustard BBQ as opposed to the hickory red goo we are all accustomed too. And the meat is always incredibly tender. They wrap everything in parchment or wax paper and hold it together with a strip of masking tape. What the best part is, is that they always add a layer to white wonder bread underneath the cooked meat. It doesn't get soggy because the meat retains all it's juices and they only lightly slather the ribs or chicken in the the delicious sauce. It's all perfect.
After we finished our days of painting or watching Soaps with the family patriarch, we would convene outside, sit around a little fold out table that was stacked with ribs, chicken, paper plates and napkins and dive right in. These moments are some of the most incredible moments of my life. No matter how angry or bored or tired we were that day. No matter how much we had already talked to one another that day, we always sat around talking and eating and just enjoying one another.
I honestly feel that food brings people together, and it is one of the best de-stressors known to man. I don't know what it is but there is something amazing about "breaking bread" with one another that makes relationships stronger and, well, better.