Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Memory Lane Starts in the Kitchen

Friday night I served a throw-back recipe for supper: Tuna Noodle Casserole. I’m not really sure what made me think to put that on the menu (Todd suggested it might be a bit too much Mad Men), but it was a nice comfort-food meal and it got us talking about childhood food memories.

Mom wrote in my baby book that I would stand up on a chair and steal onions while she was getting supper ready. That one I don’t really remember so much. I do remember an early Thanksgiving, sitting in my high chair next to an uncle who explained the finer points of rolls: their use as “pushers” for the smaller bits of food and that’s why you wait to eat them until the end. I still eat my roll last.

My grandmother’s house had a wonderful walk-in pantry and these stainless steel canisters that were usually full of flour and sugar and stuff, but for holidays were used to store the cookies and candies they made starting the day after Thanksgiving. An enduring favorite were the rum balls and I was allowed one or two at a time for obvious reasons. But, oh, I was so infatuated with them that one day I snuck into the pantry, closed the door behind me and scarfed I don’t know how many rum balls before I was discovered. I regret nothing!

But not all food memories from childhood were holiday-related. Some weren’t even happy–like the times we discovered neither turnips nor Brussels sprouts agreed with my youthful constitution. (Happily, I’ve made peace with both foods and eat plenty of both of them these days.) Others were downright adventurous for the under-6 set–I remember sitting in the garage with my dad as he shucked oysters. 2 for him, 1 for me.

So, what food memories do you have from childhood? The good, the bad, the odd? When was the last time you thought about what you ate as a kid? The comments are ready and waiting!

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker

  1. Jennifer

    Great post!

    I have lots of food memories…my grandmother making challah. My grandmother making apple pie. My grandmother making matzo balls. I have always been intimidated by matzo balls so don’t even try.

    Oh, those seductive rum balls!

    My mother always baked. And I loved those rum balls but I think they were made with rum flavoring not real rum because I never remember seeing the bottle of rum. Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum — I wish.

    My mother always, always had boxes and boxes of homemade cookies that she would put together on a pretty platter if we had company or she had to take them somewhere. I remember thumbprint cookies and some green minty things, brownies cut small, something with coconut, and blondies or layered bars.

    I never bake.

    On my yahoo groups cousins list, some of our best conversations have been about food. We remember the food of our get togethers and the eating certain foods and how they made us feel.

    Thanks again for that walk down memory lane.

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