Broad Smiles

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 Pre-cookedMulberryPie 250x205because, 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.

 

10 thoughts on “Broad Smiles

  1. I remember fresh corn straight off the stalk being the best thing I ever tasted–and the peas straight out of the pods from grandma’s garden. Yum! My other grandma always served us this concoction of pineapple sherbet with bananas and strawberries cut up into it that I thought was heaven on earth. The weirdest food memory is ketchup sandwiches. For some reason, I loved them and wanted them every day for lunch in elementary school. It horrified my mom and she always worried that a teacher would notice my sandwich and turn her in for neglect for only sending ketchup sandwiches. But they were so good back then (not so much now–ick!)

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      I love how I’m hearing vegetables and fruits are often among childhood joys. Now, as for the ketchup sandwich… that’s a new one!

  2. Eating certain foods was a battle ground for me and my parents. It became a matter of will. After a while, they realized that I wouldn’t give in. That’s where I felt my first sense of power!

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Ah, a picky eater who won. Good for you! Probably why you’re thin and gorgeous! I’m wondering how the movie was, Becky? You’ll have to let me know.

  3. All my fondest food memories are from visiting my grandmother. She baked all the time, and unlike our own home, she always had a stocked refrigerator and cupboards. One of my brother’s and my favorite things to do was pilfer a bunch of peaches from her peach crate and take them to the junk yard near her house, where we’d hide in old cars and eat peaches until our stomachs were full. (Hey, better than candy, right?) It was the combination of the sweet juice, the adventurous setting, and the fun company of my brother that made it so fun (and memorable).

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Oh, I love that! I can just see you giggling with peach juice running down your chin. Perfect memory!!

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