Friday, July 31, 2009

Memories of Food

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.


  1. I wish food would induce memories for me. When I think back, I can hardly ever remember the food being eaten. Food has never held as much priority for me as it seems to with those I know--I know a lot of foodies. I eat food because my body requires it, biologically speaking, and my mind prefers to know the body it sits atop is eating. That tends to be good enough for me.

    I would like to change that. I have to remind myself to slow down and eat each bite slowly, understand that eating is not a race to get on to the next task. It is an activity in itself within a day. There are very few foods I ever crave or particularly desire.

    I wish I could remember the first meal I cooked for myself when left alone. I never did learn how to cook--I will have to next year, when I'm in a house with friends rather than in accommodation. I probably made microwave popcorn and ate chips with salsa. Groans and shakes head. The only thing I've consistently been able to make in my life is scrambled eggs! I DO remember often bringing my parents scrambled-egg-based-meals to be eaten in bed for holidays, Mum's nice and well done, Da's less done and with some cheese.

    Thank you for making me think once more! :D

  2. Scrambled eggs with local, free-range eggs can be a treat!

    I was at the memory session Pam mentions above, and I'm afraid that although I'm a bit of a foodie now (, it was not always thus. My most persistent cook-it-yourself treat from kid days was Spam(tm) fried crispy on white bread, with French's yellow mustard (the only kind of bread and mustard I knew until I was well into college).