When I was growing up in Southern Idaho (Janet here), we would often go for your proverbial Sunday Drive. After we got home from church we’d all change out of our Sunday best, either eat a quick lunch, or pack up the big, blue Coleman cooler for lunch on the tailgate once we reached our destination. Then we’d all load up in the pickup and head out (this was not a fancy pickup, and there were five of us kids, so, weather permitting, there were usually a few of us in the back. Fun when I was young, but once I hit my teenage years, I was very concerned about the possibility of running into someone I knew - or someone I’d like to know - with my hair all windblown and tangled!)
The destination varied - it was usually within an hour or two drive from home, but it might have been Mt. Harrison to the south somewhere along the Snake River, the City of Rocks, the foothills of the Sawtooth’s to the north or just “out in the desert”. Wherever we went, it always someplace where we kids could run, climb, and explore. And it was nearly always an adventure, from seeing who could climb the highest, to exploring abandoned homesteads from who knows when, to clinging to the bed of the pickup while my Dad made his way up questionable roads with a mountainside on one side and a sheer drop on the other, to seeing deer and porcupine and rattlesnakes and antelope and eagles and woodchucks (and occasionally a “rockchuck” - distant cousin to the woodchuck, according to my father - they were common in the desert where there was little to no wood).
Some of my best childhood memories are from these days, and I attribute these experiences to my lifelong appreciation for nature, beauty and adventure of all kinds.
Another favorite memory of these days is the meal upon our return home, usually pretty late (at least after dark) Sunday night. We weren’t a family who ate out, plus we were in very rural area, so there was no stopping for a pizza on the way home. When we got home, Mom would whip up something quick and easy so we could get off to bed, especially if it was a school night.
Often this meal would be broiled cheese sandwiches and Campbell’s soup of some sort. But, sometimes, it would be “Chinese Noodles”. Then, Chinese noodles consisted of spaghetti noodles, boiled eggs, soy sauce and whatever leftover meat might be in the fridge. Simple, yet delicious.
These days, though I’ve adapted the recipe a bit as I no longer eat meat, this is still a favorite comfort food. It’s simple and quick - either the way Mom made it (sans meat) or this “fancier” version below.
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom will do here, but I like the “meaty” texture of the shitake)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- one or two handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)
- 8 ounces noodles (spaghetti or angel hair pasta works great - though I’ve found that ramen noodles tend to soak up less soy sauce, negating the need to dump more and more on like I did as a kid)
- 2 to 4 boiled eggs, depending on how hungry you are
- Green onions, sliced thin
Prepare noodles as directed, drain and rinse, keep warm.
Peel and slice boiled eggs
Heat butter and olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms have softened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger; continue to stir for 1 minute. Add soy sauce, stirring until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. If using spinach, throw it in now and stir until wilted.
Divide noodles between two bowls, top with egg, mushrooms and green onions. Add more soy sauce to taste.
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