Have you ever noticed that a great many people seem to have a signature dish? Green bean casserole, seven(or more) layer dip, pfeffernusse, marinated cucumbers, buffalo chicken dip and queso dip… These are just some examples of dishes I’ve seen repeatedly from family and friends over the years. Anyone who fancies themselves able to do more than boil water and spread peanut butter seems to have that one thing they’re so good at making they don’t need a recipe. It could be their consistent success with the dish, it could be the secret/special ingredient that makes theirs stand out, or it could just be the thing they want whenever possible, so they’ve learned to make it themselves.
Either way, it fascinates me how people become attached to a specific dish so strongly, that much of the success of the dish is driven not by it’s potential to impress others, but by the sentimental value we attach to it. The emotional attachment to a given dish becomes very apparent once the dish has been repeated annually at any holiday function, especially if the dish is not known to be traditional for that holiday. Many attach sentimentality to turkey and stuffing at thanksgiving, for example, but less common on the table might be a pea salad or barbeque-glazed corndogs.
Do I have a signature dish? Not yet. Over the years, I’ve become attached to so many signature dishes created by others, but I’ve not come up with my own. When I do, I’ll be sure to post the recipe here. In the meantime, of all the signature dishes I’ve come across over the years, and there have been many great ones, I’m still going to put deviled eggs at the top of the list. Current faves include a particularly creamy-yolked version from one friend, and a tarragon and truffle oil version from another. Man, I love those addictive little morsels! Enjoy!