Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who's Tom?

A few days ago, my stepdaughter called me to ask me about a few details of our quiche recipe. Yes, we do have a family quiche recipe!

Unfortunately, I had not made quiche in at least 5 years and had no clue where this recipe was .... and as I am writing this, I am realizing that this post really does sort of "fit" into the "search of space" aspect of this blog. Who knew... ?

At any rate, I told her that I had no idea where the recipe was, but that it could really be only at 2 or 3 different places - and I might as well look for it now.

Potential spot #1 - with the cookbooks. But that was too logical and - considering that this recipe was on an index card - unlikely. So I didn't even look there.

With Maya on the phone, I headed to the basement to explore potential locations 2 and 3 (and 4 and 5 - who am I kidding..?). On the way to location 2, I came across a recipe card with "Stacy's 7-layer dip" in a shoe box. Two thoughts came to mind (1) "I need to make this sometime" and (2)"This card should be with the rest of the recipes." Never mind that, had all the other recipes been with this one, I would have them all right about now.

Potential spot #2 - a file cabinet with 4 large drawers. At one point, I had a hanging file folder that contained recipes I had collected over the years. I remember that file folder, because as I was labeling it, fresh off the boat at the time, I discovered that I had a real issue with the words "recipes" and "receipts". I never could remember which one was which. Don't even talk to me about spelling! Turns out, the "receipts" folder was still there. But the recipe folder had fallen victim to a previous re-organization effort.

Potential spot #3 - in the "you should really take these items upstairs and use them"-box. Nope.

Potential spot #4 - in a box.... I should take a picture of my basement to make you realize what that means. We're not talking just one box - not by a long shot. But heck, I might as well get started looking while I am still on the phone with Maya. I was 2 boxes into the search when I came across an index card box - and I seemed to remember having such a box sitting next to the stove for years. (Just between you and me - that was a glorious spot for a recipe box, and I am not really sure why it ever moved from there.)

Looking through the box, I found my French bread recipe the kids had been looking  for, the pizza dough recipe I'd been looking for - I really should find a better spot for these... and then I found a well loved index card labeled "Stephanie, Maya and Tom's Quiche". Tadaaa!!!

As I am reading the title of the card to her, Maya says "Who's Tom?" "He's the guy who gave you the recipe." I reply. She doesn't remember anybody named Tom.

So, I share with her what I believe I remember about the story surrounding the quiche recipe. Years ago, Maya was probably 15, she went with a group of friends and relatives (I'm almost sure that the group included her Mom, who lived in Indiana at the time.) to Thunder over Louisville. They spent the day on the banks of the river - under a tree in the shade - and ate - among other things - quiche.

When she later told me about her day, she mentioned the quiche, and I asked about a recipe. In response she gave me the recipe to, what she referred to as "Tom's Quiche". When we made the recipe, we made a few modifications, but my sense of fairness required that I continue to pay homage to the source of the recipe,  so it became "Stephanie, Maya and Tom's Quiche"

By the way, as a result of the outing to Louisville, Maya developed the worst sunburn on her back. I had never seen anything like it. Her skin literally came off in sheets - and she even ended up going to the doctor because she was worried that it may get  infected.

At this point, Maya, who is still on the phone with me, is cracking up laughing. "I don't remember any of this" she says " ..and do you know how ridiculous this sounds? You are telling me that, years ago, I went to Thunder over Louisville and came back with a sunburn and a quiche recipe? That's ridiculous." and after a pause "I think I have lead a very interesting life. I would write a book - if I could just remember any of it."

I then proceeded to read the recipe to her. When I got to the "shredded onion" I paused. Clearly, this was written when I was - sort of - fresh off the boat. Who shreds an onion? Is that even possible? Maybe I didn't know the word for "diced" at the time. So, make that "1/2 of a diced onion".

Turns out, the information Maya was missing was the addition of the half and half - and the oven temperature.  I am glad, I could help with both. 

When I make this recipe again, I may have to make further modifications to it. This particular recipe simply uses a store-bought crust, and my friend Gail has a nice recipe for a homemade crust. Maybe, the next time I make it, this will be "Stephanie, Gail, Maya and Tom's Quiche" even though nobody remembers, who Tom is. 


  1. I have solved the mysteries of the universe. Well, okay, maybe just one of the small mysteries of my own personal life.

    Your idea about the origin of the quiche recipe is actually a mixture of 2 different stories. You are correct in that the quiche recipe did involve Thunder Over Louisville. I went one year with my friend Amber and her family. They had a fun tradition of renting a prime space in a field near the river, as well as huge drum-type grills, and porta-potties. They would set it all up and invite a ton of people for a "TOL" party. For breakfast the morning of, Tom made us quiche. Tom, incidentally, is Tom McPherson - Amber's dad. I figured this out because I am still in contact with Amber and when I started to think I may know who Tom was, I double checked with her. It was a great time, and thankfully there was no sunburn involved.

    The horrible, skin-sloughing-off-in-sheets sunburn that required TWO prescriptions actually came several years later. I figure I was about 20 at the time, because Zhael (my daughter) was around 2 years old. I had gone up to Kathy and Steve's house in Ohio for the weekend. It was a very overcast day, warm but not hot, and Zhael and I were sitting on a blanket under a tree in their yard. It wasn't until the next day that I noticed we had both gotten burnt. Zhael's was not nearly as bad as mine, thankfully. That is the burn that taught me that even cloudy grey days are dangerous and I should just avoid daylight altogether.

  2. I am glad you figured it out. Now we can actually give credit for the quiche to the right person.

    Also, solving this mystery brings you a little closer to writing that book....

    Two stories remembered - many more to go....

  3. Last night for dinner I made what was the best quiche I have ever made. Even my 3-year-old asked for seconds. I made a few modifications to our recipe and I'm going to post how I made it because some of the steps were probably important to the outcome.

    We wanted bacon in it, so first I cut up some bacon slices and fried them in a big pot. I took the bacon bits out to drain on a paper towel and then sauteed the chopped onion in the little bit of bacon grease left in the pot. I then added FRESH baby spinach and sauteed it with the onion and set it aside. In a mixing bowl, I dumped the cup of shredded cheddar. Here's a tip to keep the flour from clumping up: I added the flour - 2 tbs - to the shredded cheese and stirred it around to coat the cheese. Then,I added 3 large eggs and mixed well. I poured in the half and half and added a tbs. of kosher salt and some freshly grated black pepper. I got inspired and added some meunster cheese (by tearing up some sliced meunster I had in the fridge). After mixing that, I added the spinach, onions and the bacon to the mixing bowl.

    From there I just proceeded with the regular recipe by heating the pie crust at 425 for 5 minutes, then pouring in the mixture and cooking for 45 minutes at 325.

    It was incredibly delicious!

  4. That sounds very good!

    Let me just add, though, that *I* wanted bacon in the quiche the first time we made it. :-) The problem was that *you* were a vegetarian at that time.

    I do think that we did put Baco's in there at least once after you figured out that there is no trace of actual bacon in Baco's