Food is a common connection we all have. Different races, religions, ethnicities, ages, genders, eras, countries… across the board—everyone eats. Most of us remember some kind of food with fond memories.
If you begin a discussion about food, people will almost always weigh in with some comment or story. The story may be about something their mother made them eat, even though they hated it. I’ve heard stories about things people ate as children that made them sick. They’ll often say, “To this day, I can’t eat that!” (Mine is spice cake with cream cheese frosting.) More often, people have fond memories of food they ate as children. They may very well still consider it their special comfort food.
Last week I visited with an older woman from my church. We were talking about pie—a food topic that often makes people’s eyes glaze over because, seriously—who doesn’t like pie. Mulberry pie came up and it led us both back down our individual memory lanes.
Her memory was about climbing up a fruit tree and eating right from the branches. She talked about her daughter riding her horse under a mulberry tree, then sitting there eating the berries. My memory was of lying on top the roof of our chicken house, a large mulberry tree’s boughs hanging low. I’d pluck the fruit, eating until I had my fill and my fingers were purple. We both had such broad smiles. Smiles I’ve seen on many faces when food memories become the topic of discussion.
So, I thought I’d share some of my food memories. Little things I find myself thinking about and smiling. I’m sure it will trigger food memories of your own. We all have them, because no matter how different we are, we all have to eat.
- My mother made me many different things because she knew I loved them. I love them to this day. Boston Crème Pie. Cream Puffs filled with fluffy whipped cream. Fresh strawberries with real thick cream Mom bought from a woman who milked cows. Mulberry pie (we’d lay a sheet under a mulberry tree and shake the branches). Pea pods boiled in butter, then I’d pull the peas out between my teeth. Sandwiches for school lunch—she would use a cookie cutter to cut out the center because I didn’t like the crust—the lion shape was my favorite. And the most fun memory is of her pouring a little rubbing alcohol in a spoon rest, lighting it, then roasting a marshmallow over the flame. It tasted wonderful in the middle of winter.
- Beyond those fun memories, I remember weird food, like those after-school hunger pangs, when I put two slices of cheese in a bowl and microwaved it until it melted, then spooning it up while I watched TV and enjoyed being home for the day.
- Fried chicken on Sunday when the whole family came home.
- Calico beans and homemade rolls—Mom’s standard church potluck dish.
- Kolaches fresh from the oven on Saturday morning.
- Poppy seed cake at Czech funeral dinners.
Now. What are your memories? Maybe there was a place your family went to eat on a special night, or something a relative made that you looked forward to. I’d love to know what your food memories are. They always make great topics for conversation.