Do you have food memories? Flavors are powerful, especially when they are attached to a significant moment in time. For me, so many foods I now eat taste infinitely like some of my favorite memories in time. Every time I eat a certain food, I get flashbacks to that time in my life or just enjoy it more because I have associated the taste of it with something positive. Essentially classically conditioning myself to specific foods.
Here are the stories of these foods.
Blueberries: I can’t walk past a punnet of blueberries in the supermarket, I simply cannot. Almost every year of my childhood my family would load up the car with empty buckets and frolic through the bushes for blueberries. As we picked, we would stuff our faces with the berries as we went. When we got home, dad would cook up blueberry pancakes and we would eat them out on the deck. Do the supermarket blueberries even hold a candle to the ones I am remembering? No, but its enough of the flavor to remind me and that’s all I need.
Raspberries: Mum had an extensive vegetable garden that she would grow in our backyard when the snow thawed every year. Amongst the most coveted delicacies in the garden was the raspberry vine. It was almost forbidden to pick the raspberries off the vine but sometimes we would sneak one when she wasn’t looking. Honestly nothing compares to the flavor of fresh wild raspberries. These days I settle for the supermarket version. But one day I hope to have my own raspberry vine and eat as many as I want to.
Beans: Want to get your children to eat vegetables? Grow them yourself. Beans off the vine have a fuzzy texture that I adore and are so crisp and fresh tasting. I used to cut up a salad from the garden and I always included beans. To this day beans are still a favorite of mine.
Bacon and egg mcmuffin: Yall know we aren’t going to get through this without a mention of my favorite fast food chain of which I was a loyal employee for many years. This one has two components to it. A bacon and egg mcmuffin tastes like a roadtrip across Canada to new York where mum and dad would pack us into the car still in our sleeping bags and pop on a movie while they went and had a shower at the caravan park and packed up the tent. Then we would hit the drive thru. It was a super rare treat for us. Ironically my dad used to tease us that if we failed at school there “was always jobs at mcdonalds’’. I didn’t fail at school but I did end up working every weekend morning making bacon and eggs for the hoardes. So bacon and egg mcmuffins taste like Sunday mornings with my friends, working in the kitchen with everyone teasing me with how I wrap a mcmuffin.
Gatorade: To this day, every time I have a sip of Gatorade it tastes like weekends at the ice hockey rink in Dryden. Dad would let us have a sugary drink as a reward for playing our game. I lived for that drink, we rarely had sugary drinks as kids.
Homemade lemonade: Tastes like picking 284 lemons with my friend and my brother at my Nanas old house that had a wildly successful lemon tree. When she sold the house we went to take as many as we could pick. We picked so many that we had lemons in the laundry for months trying to move them. I made endless batches of lemonade and lemon loaf.
KFC original recipe: KFC tastes like when grandpa came to town and we would sit down to a giant bucket of fried chicken. The game as kids was to pile all the bones on Grandpas plate and then tease him about how he had eaten all of them and not left any for us. I remember walking up in the middle of the night feeling thirsty from all the salt and mum being mad that we had eaten so much unhealthy food. I have KFC very rarely, but it reminds me of Grandpa. So does the taste of beer, but that’s a different story.
Lemon loaf: A very long time ago, mum used to bake us treats for our school lunches and sometimes she would even bake an afternoon treat. Lemon loaf tastes like coming home from school to the smell of baking and digging into a fresh piece with some friends I had invited over at the last minute. Mum always let me bring friend’s round.
Chocolate coated stick ice cream: Dad would take us to Dairy Queen only to have tricked us and to buy the cheapest ice cream there: a chocolate coated vanilla stick ice cream. We wanted a Reese’s blizzard but instead we got a plain old choc coated stick ice cream. When I went back to Dairy Queen as an adult, I got the blizzard. A plain stick ice cream still hits the spot though.
Popcorn: Mum would always make a huge batch up on the stove. Jed, our Labrador, would stand by on any that popped their way out of the pan. He was happy to clean up the mess on the ground. We would take a giant bread bag of it to school to share with our friends. I became known for it amongst my whole class for having the best popcorn in primary school. Children would chase me around the playground for it. I thought I was popular for a minute there. But it was just the popcorn. These days I know how to make stove popcorn just like mum did. And it tastes almost as good.
Pancakes: You just can’t beat the classic pancake. Pancakes taste like a bunch of my friends gathered at the table the morning after a sleepover. It was before any of us had discovered coffee so we just substituted with sugar. We lay out every different topping available and cook up a huge stack of pancakes. And sometimes I would just make a batch on the weekend for my brother and I, wake him up with a big stack of pancakes that I had spent half the morning preparing. Pancakes will always remind me of mornings like that.
Chocolate cake: Mums chocolate cake recipe is a staple in our family. The original recipe comes from my late auntie, and we make it for every birthday. It tastes like every birthday I’ve ever had. Eventually I took over the cake baking for special occasions. Whipping up a double stack with Vienna cream and sprinkles on top.
Roast chicken rolls: The car is packed already. There’s dogs and kids piled everywhere. Its sweltering and summer when we stop at the supermarket to pick up a roast chicken and some rolls. The groceries are piled on our laps as there’s no more room in the car. We arrive at the campsite holding our breath to get ‘the spot’. We set up the tent, arguing with each other, grumpy and hungry. Then mum busts out the roast chicken rolls with mayo and lettuce. It hits the spot every time.
Boosts: I’m 14 and at the mall with my friends. We’ve been shopping all day and are legless with exhaustion as we carry bags laden with new clothes. We head to the smoothie bar to pick up a boost. There’s nothing that hits quite as well after a shopping spree. I still get a boost on the odd occasion that I go shopping for clothes. It tastes like I’m a teenager all over again. Passion mango is my favorite.
Sweet and sour meatballs: I’m sitting at the dinner table; mum and my brother are arguing about something irrelevant. I am sharing random facts about my day as we share a meal of my favorite: sweet and sour meatballs. They taste like my mum, cooking them for me because she knows I like them. I should really learn how to make them.
What are some of your food memories?
Is there a food you eat more because it reminds you of something?
Let me know