Saturday, September 11, 2010


I have no grand insight for you today. I put pen to paper because I am feeling

nostalgic and deprived. I am one of those people psychologists rail against because

food has always represented more than nutrition. Food contained comfort. Food meant

family gatherings and community. Food was a way to celebrate good news and cope with

bad news. Certain dishes my wife would create became traditional around various holidays

and events. Each of my children has a favorite food and sharing it with them is always a

joyous event. I know, I know, this is why we are having a crisis of obesity in this nation.

I view food as more than a collection of heat units which fuel my body. I miss a lot of

different kinds of food and the people, events and memories different concoctions evoke.

My wife created items for different days of the year. St. Patrick's Day means lean corned

beef. Irish bread (Oh how amazing it is toasted the next day!), cabbage and puffy clouds of

mashed potatoes. Christmas produces a variety of quiches for breakfast and a special

tenderloin of beef and Yorkshire pudding for dinner. Summertime means she will go to

the farmer's markets and get fresh peaches or berries to make a cobbler and strawberries

to put into shortcake. If we are celebrating a birthday or family event, homemade chocolate

chip cookies are always present and if she is in a very good mood, she makes an item for

Sunday brunch called a Swedish Tea Ring which is to die for.

My wife loves to make and eat soups from scratch. Her potato-leak, turkey and chicken

soups have ruined my children. They can't go out and order soup from a restaurant because

it never lives up to what they get at home. She loves salmon and crab and makes the best

chili I have ever had. (hint: She puts cinnamon sticks into it.) My children have foods they

love and I love to share with them. Fajitas, meat loaf, buffalo wings, nachos, enchiladas, and

burritos are some. If we go to the Tennessee Grill on Taravel, my son Connor loves their

corned beef hash, as did my dad. My daughter Darcy loves Chinese food and Chinese chicken

salad. Caitlin loves to make and consume various quiches and stew served with sourdough

French bread. My son, Eamon, usually wants a bacon cheeseburger. It is impossible to not

think of them and the times we shared all of these various delights. As for me, I truly miss

waffles and a good steak. Hash browns from Sam's restaurant on Pine St. are so good. A hot,

fresh, turkey sandwich from the Arguello supermarket is fantastic and bacon makes anything

taste better. Moshe's Pipic on Hayes St. has great Polish hot dogs and Houston's on the

Embarcadero has apple-brown Betty for dessert.

For better or for worse, food is associated with so many more needs and desires than just

filling up the gas tank with correct nutrition. It probably isn't healthy and we are told we

should separate food as a reward or comfort from food necessary to keeping us alive. I cannot

do that and I'm not sure I want to. I love thinking about a donut from Bob's on Polk St. just

coming out of the oil at 1:30am or driving by Krispy Kream when the hot light is on. I cannot

go to a movie without having buttered popcorn and I may be one of the few people who knows

where all the Weinerschnitzels are in the Bay Area so I can order a Polish dog on rye bread.

What makes all of these longings even more acute is the fact I haven't had any of these

delights in a number of years now; and I miss my family and friends who used to share so many

of these joys with me. I told you I was feeling nostalgic. What about you? What food evokes

memories? What haven't you eaten in a long time that you miss? What did you eat at family

gatherings? If there was one item you could have right now, what would it be? I welcome

your comments. Please send them to


  1. Hey Mr. Bernie. Do you mean Sam's Grill on Beldon Place? Also, can you receive food packages?

  2. Also can you receive mail? My last was retuned...Dorothy

  3. I will make you my firehouse beef and noodles, a belly ful of warmth and comfort

  4. From Toni...It's Salmon and Krispy Kreme! I know that sounds strange but my husband was a salmon fisherman. We would bar-b-q a fresh salmon at least once a month. He had lung cancer and we would drive from Monterey to San Jose for Chemo and on the way home late at night we would listen to you, Bernie, on the radio. He always enjoyed your talk show--you gave us a lot to talk about. He died the week your troubles came down. You both left my life at the same time and I miss you both. I think of him whenever I eat Salmon and you when I pass the Krispy Kreme. Thank you for this blog--it means a lot. Toni

  5. Nation's Hamburgers in Pleasant Hill, CA.

  6. Someone else who thinks Wienerschnitzel is hot dog heaven!!! I have long claimed the sole American contribution to Haute Cuisine is the hot dog. And what other place could there be for hot dogs than Der Wienerschnitzel? Though I admit Nathans isn't bad.

    You have a standing invitation to come over to Hayward and I would be happy to treat you to Polish Dog.

  7. ok, you got me writing!! I miss everything my Italian grandmother used to cook. I miss her Sunday chicken soup and the little meatballs she used to put into the soup. They were the size of marbles. I miss my mothers pork chops, biscuits and gravy. I miss the smiles of my grandmother and my mother. They were a huge part of the memories. I miss listening to you on the radio, enjoying your rants, and wishing you would let the callers talk more often. I found Karel on another station. I hope to find you on one in the future.