At an early age, Janice O’Brien realized she was a lucky girl. There wasn’t a meal served at home that she didn’t love. Just about everyone she knew was a great cook. She was surrounded by delicious food cooked and baked by her parents, grandparents, aunts and neighbors.
[Book title] is a collection of stories about how food influenced Janice’s life and her relationship with food. She became a good cook too. Enjoy the stories and some of her family recipes.
At fifty years old all the wonderful food and meals Janice ate caught up to her and she started gaining weight. It became clear she was addicted to sugar and carbohydrates. Find out what Janice cooks and eats today handling gluten and grain allergies and her addictions.
Look for Janice's book in Fall 2021.
Shirley Temple Overdose
I giggled as bubbles tickled my nose lifting the glass for a taste. My first cocktail. The clean taste of ginger ale, a splash of grenadine garnished with a maraschino cherry. A guest of my grandparents for my first dining experience in a restaurant. An evening jam-packed with Shirley Temples when I was seven.
Mom knew Grandma and Grandpa expected me to have good manners. She told me I was ready to enjoy my first meal out dressed in my Sunday best. I was excited about my inaugural restaurant meal. To me, any place serving food was a place I wanted to visit and know more about.
My parents didn’t allow me drinking soda at home. I savored each sweet sip as people crowded into the restaurant at dinnertime. It was noisy, filled with talking and smoke. I was the youngest customer on a Thursday night. Parents didn’t take young children out to restaurants a lot in the 1950s. Mothers were homemakers and with the kids all the time, eating out was reserved for parents. My parents went out to eat on Saturday nights, but I was home with a babysitter.
Our family was a drinking family. So when Grandpa finished his Manhattan, he ordered a second. The waiter brought me another Shirley Temple. My second drink came with three cherries squeezed between the ice cubes at the bottom of the glass. Like adults in my family, I found my favorite bartender.
Two restaurants take credit for creating the Shirley Temple cocktail. The most famous child actress was dining at Chasen’s, a noted spot for celebrities in Hollywood. As her parents drank Old Fashioneds, Shirley begged she wanted a cocktail too. The bartender mixed up the non-alcoholic drink, including the Old Fashioned signature, maraschino cherry. The rest is history.
However, the historic pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel also takes credit for the famous drink. But the ingredients are in dispute. Theirs included the grenadine and cherry, but the soda was lemon-lime soda instead of ginger ale. Some recipes include orange juice.