Monday, September 16, 2013

Mr. VE&T's Nana's Rižot


Well, this is a guest post of sorts... While I have all sorts of foods that remind me of all sorts of people I love, there is one dish that Mr. VE&T always talks about: his Nana's Rižot. Rižot is a Croatian word, and basically it is very similar to "risotto," a word you are probably more familiar with.

Mr.VE&T's paternal side of the family is 100% Croatian/Yugoslav heritage, and they aren't that far removed from it all. Growing up, there was one food that baby Mr.VE&T really identified as super special: rižot (pronounced: riz-ZOOT). It was made on special occasions and the preparation took hours and everyone made a big deal about it.

It made a lasting impression, because pretty much every night Mr. VE&T wants "tomatoes & rice" for dinner. If I make something tomatoey, 100% of the time, he will make one or all of the following comments:
"This would be great with some rice."
"This would be great with a little cinnamon."
"This would be great with some nutmeg."
Pretty much his favorite food is any tomatoey stew or soup with rice in it. It happens a few times a year that I'll make something and he'll say "this tastes sorta like rižot..." And yet, we never had a recipe (his parents both died before we started dating), so it was just something that existed out there in the ether like a big mystery.

Then, I decided that I wanted to tackle Rižot for my Noshtalgia theme on his behalf... and we started rooting around on the internet. We didn't even know how to spell "rižot" so I looked up "Croatian Risotto," and that got us on the right track. Soon enough, we stumbled across this recipe and that was our starting point. We used Soy Curls instead of chicken, and made a few other small modifications as we went along. It was so fun cooking together - and Mr. VE&T would taste it and say "It needs more nutmeg!" or "It needs more cinnamon!" (ha ha, of course), and then we would add a little more. He still feels the need to tweak our recipe a bit more before we share it... like it needs some rosemary and more tomatoes ... but I definitely promise to follow up with you all on this - it's a really delicious dish!


When it was all done, he sat down to eat and declared "I'm eating rižot!" with great joy! 
After all these years... reunited with the long-lost dish from his past! 

14 comments:

  1. Quite an accomplishment and a gift: to successfully create a nostalgic sensation for another person, which you personally have never experienced! Channeling your inner Croatian, I guess. XO

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    1. yes! It was so much fun to sleuth out a recipe together and then modify it as per his instructions! :)

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  2. Definitely sounds like a dish worth noshtalgia! I'd love to try it once you perfect it.

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    1. I promise to work on it, post-mofo, and have a recipe to share soon!

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  3. This made me feel so warm and fuzzy. I love adorable little Mr. VE&T sitting at the coffee table, "Here's a thought! Rice!" :)

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    1. ha ha, EXACTLY, Lizzie!

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  4. Well, I'm impressed. A food memory is such a powerful trigger, and who knows what eating the rižot will do to Mr. VE&T's memory. This could be the start of a huge family history. :)

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    1. It's true! He doesn't have that many clear memories of his childhood, so this was really extra special for him. :)

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  5. Aw, what a lovely post! I'm so glad Mr. VE&T was able to enjoy rižot again. Like Andrea said, a food memory is a powerful trigger!

    Hehe, I love eating on the couch like an uncivilized beast! :)

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    1. :) three cheers for sofa eating! Of course, when we have company, we put up facades and pretend that we eat at the table every night. ha ha.

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  6. I love that you did this for Mr. VE&T! So sweet. You are a detective!

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  7. I am really loving your posts. This is wonderful. And it sounds delicious, the spices are intriguing!

    (and pssst...we're happily uncivilized over at our house, too!)

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  8. Oh, that looks delicious! I love everything with rice and tomatoes.

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  9. aww this is so sweet :)

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Happy VeganMoFo! I love comments, they really make my day!