In a way, Maine will always be home. We bought our first house in Bangor, our daughter was born in Ellsworth and it’s the first time my husband and I really felt “settled.” After moving five times in six years, settled was a new, sometimes uncomfortable feeling. These days, settled is cozy.
Still, I can’t help but miss home every so often.
I miss family, sunshine year-around, the smell of eucalyptus wafting through the window, the feeling like you’re walking into a furnace when the mercury hits 100 degrees with zero humidity.
Home tastes a certain way, too — especially in the summer.
Home tastes like an IT’S-IT, an old-fashioned oatmeal cookie, vanilla ice cream sandwich dipped in rich dark chocolate — “A San Francisco Experience.”
According to the IT’S-IT website, George Whitney invented the cold treat in 1928 and sold it exclusively at San Francisco’s Playland-at-the-Beach for more than four decades.
IT’S-ITs remind me of childhood, a time of bliss — a time when I didn’t stop to think about calories or retirement plans or mortgages.
I’ve longed for an IT’S-IT since moving to the East Coast several years ago. It’s — see what I did there? — one of the first things I seek out when I fly back West each spring.
Enter: The Harbor Bar.
Modeled after the IT’S-IT, Anne and Curtis Blake created the so-called “Hahbah Bah” in 1977. I picked up one at West End Drug the last time I was in Bar Harbor. I have to say, it was pretty close.
The chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich dipped in Callebaut chocolate seemed surprisingly richer than an IT’S-IT; the cookies were chocolate chip instead of oatmeal and a little thinner and not as chewy. But it was delicious, and I foresee many more Harbor Bars in my future.
After my encounter with the Harbor Bar, I found myself asking people here at the BDN about the foods they miss from home, wherever that may be.
Sarah Walker Caron, senior features editor, from Poughkeepsie, New York: Simply put, my editor misses “real bagels” — those that are boiled, then baked. To cope, Sarah imports her favorite bagels from southern New England and New York whenever she visits there. She also buys some that taste remarkably close at the Orono Farmers Market and recently has discovered the sesame water bagel at Bagel Central.
Charlotte Roe, intern, from Long Island, New York: After moving here from New York a few years ago for school, Charlotte has yet to find a pizza that compares to her favorites back home. “It’s a different style of pizza, and of course there’s different styles, but for a crispy yet tender crust, New York’s got it.”
Gabor Degre, photographer/videographer, from Komlo, Hungary: Ham-and-bean stew with lentils. This isn’t necessarily a Hungarian specialty, just something Degre has fond memories of and reminds him of home.
Brian Cotler, director of sales, from Media, Pennsylvania: Cotler has fond memories of cheesesteak from “Pat’s, Gino’s and Jim’s” — it doesn’t get more homey than that. He knew he’d never find a Maine cheesesteak that could stand the test after ordering one with “sweet peppers” and receiving not pickled peppers, like he expected, but raw green peppers. His perfect sandwich? Cheesesteak with “whiz” — CheezeWhiz, sweet peppers, tomato, salt/pepper and ketchup.
What foods remind you of home? Visit Natalie’s blog, RootedinME.bangordailynews.com, to comment.