As I mentioned already, we went to the beach on Sunday! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and the sunshine, blue skies and sounds of the ocean revived our cold, tired spirits. I am rarely happier than when I'm near the sea. I grew up going to the beach regularly, both in California and in the Philippines. In the US, beach food was potato chips, sandwiches, hot dogs and s'mores-- not super memorable for me, but there were other parts that stood out-- like having my grandpa bring a shovel and dig us a really deep hole to spend half of the day in. In the Philippines, we didn't usually dig holes, but there were other thrills-- like snorkeling (or getting stung by a jellyfish-- very memorable.) And the food. I loved eating at the beach. We often brought some coconut charcoal, and cooked there-- chicken or pork kebabs, and often fresh fish. I miss that. All the time. (To clarify, it wasn't usually my family doing the cooking-- it was our helpers, women who lived with us and cooked for us and introduced us to all of this wonderful food, and ways of cooking and eating that I would have never otherwise experienced.)
The vegetables were cooked through, slightly caramelized and soft, but the fish had not been overdone. The calamari could not have been more tender and delicately flavored.
Next time, we may even take things a step further, bringing the foil and chopped seasonings with us, then buying the seafood right on the beach to cook there.
Not only was it comforting to me to be eating food from my childhood, in a place that felt like home in some way... But it was significant for me to introduce the experience to my husband and daughter. They both loved the meal, and hadn't eaten quite like that before. I am looking forward to cooking them more meals that remind me of what I ate in the Philippines.
Do you have special beach food memories? What did your family eat?
P.S. I have been posting more pictures of Aldeburgh on the And Here We Are facebook page.