Majumdar asserts the ability to remember every meal he ever ate, as does the rest of his family. I won't make such a claim here, but I do know that food is a powerful memory inducer. The most memorable Thanksgiving I had was in 1971, when my mother was too sick with bronchitis to cook, and my father apparently did not have the ability to cook up a turkey dinner, so he whipped up some french toast for my sister, brother and I, which we soaked up with Log Cabin syrup. Other Thanksgivings I remember are ones I was taught to cook some part of the meal. My husband is in charge of the turkey at our house now, but I still make the cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pie which were the things my mother taught me to prepare on various Thanksgiving days. I learned a valuable lesson about doubling recipes when I made two pumpkin pies with the filling ingredients for only one. We ate very thin pies that year.
Recently my brother-in-law got the family into a very lively conversation about food by asking this simple question: When you were old enough to cook something for yourself, and left home alone, what did you fix? Memories came flooding back about steak-um sandwiches, frozen chicken pot pies and boil-in bags. Majumdar's family ate a lot better than that, though.