I Eat, Therefore I Feel

Try to sing to the tune of “My Favorite Things:”

Mom’s bread from the oven and cookies with milk…
Pizza with cheese stretching across the dinner table…
Tea-milk and sneaking cold coffee (yes, really!)…
These are a few of my favorite things…
~

Ah, the warm, safe memories of the food from my childhood. Nothing else evokes the same visceral senses as when I bite into a food from my past. “Oh!” I say to Bob, after biting into a flaky slice of spanakopita. “Remember that place in Amsterdam, the Greek restaurant on a corner, it was white…” as I try to remind him of the obscure place we were at, describing all the food, the tablecloths, the ambiance. I’m not always successful at conjuring up his memory, as they seem to be stored differently and mostly revolve around things that are solidly placed, and not usually on things as transient as food.

When we first moved overseas, I packed gallons of Pace salsa and other food items I thought might be scarce in Europe. I was right to bring the Pace, and while there were some ingredients I longed to have from home, I was not as prepared when I left The Netherlands. After all, how could I continue to stock the special french fry mayonnaise? The quark that was available in their grocery stores has still not successfully reached many of our American refrigerators. One time I found the elusive quark at the Victorian Market in Australia at one of the delis. They had about 3 pounds in a plastic bag that was close to the “due date,” and because it wasn’t selling fast enough, they gave it to me. I was in heaven and rushed home to make as many quark dishes before it went bad. I think I am going to have to find a recipe… I would love to have more of those memories.

Of course, not all food memories can be good. I have yet to find any redeeming events associated with grits, celery seed, or water chestnuts. Up until this past weekend, I would have added kale to that list. However, I went to a dinner party and one of the guests brought a kale salad. I have to admit, I was worried. I’m a girl with manners, after all. I had to put some on my plate and eat it. And then I might have to comment on it. Well! Guess what? No lie, I loved it. This was a fresh kale salad that had been lovingly massaged to break up the cellulose. My friend says you can actually feel the kale “relax.” Who knew that all kale really needed was a bit of love and attention – to not be stuffed into the darkness of a can but allowed to remain in the light, and given oil, lemon juice, and the human touch. Looks like a nice massage is good for the body, soul, and apparently, your food.

I’m not so convinced about grits, though I have recently been informed that the missing ingredient that stands in the way of enjoying a plate of grits has been Trappers hot pepper sauce. Perhaps one slathers enough on so as to burn the taste buds so they are momentarily stunned? I’m not sure…but I’m not rushing out to buy grits in order to test the theory. However, if I ever find myself being served up a side of grits, I will mind my manners and ask to please pass the hot sauce…

So how about you?  What are your favorite memories associated with food? Have you overcome bad food memories and how?

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anne
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 12:38:03

    YAY for kale salad! 🙂

    (I’m right with you on grits and water chestnuts, though! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Danny
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 12:51:20

    I feel like I just read an article in a major newspaper or magazine! Very nice, Elizabeth! Now I’m hungry. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Katrina
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 16:42:16

    Thanks to you I love warm tea-milk! I also love your blog, I look forward to reading more. 🙂

    Reply

  4. Kresta
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 17:41:06

    Well, let me see here… Food. I love good food, but as you well know, I don’t particularly like to cook it. I will say, however, that I don’t mind making cookies, candies, and cakes. I have a horrendous sweet tooth and love anything with chocolate. Have I overcome bad food memories? Hmm I can’t recall.

    I agree with you on the grits, but for me, it’s a texture thing more than the taste, as I love hominy. I don’t think I’ve ever tried kale, so will definitely have to do that. Water chestnuts are unusual, and I highly recommend them in the Knorr Vegetable/Spinach dip. 🙂

    Reply

  5. elizabethsaidso
    Oct 12, 2010 @ 09:37:13

    How funny! I despise water chestnuts because of the texture – that sound it makes when teeth bite into them can be heard all the way up into one’s head – like it is transmitted through teeth and bone throughout the skull and is awful to me, lol. I don’t even know if it has a taste because I can’t get beyond the noise! Grits is definitely a taste as I don’t like hominy either, and I love a warm, comforting bowl of Cream of Wheat, which is the same or similar texture… It is interesting that it isn’t only the taste of a food that causes such a reaction in us humans. Eating really is a multi-sensory extravaganza!

    Thanks to all for your comments! 🙂 Katrina – I think I’m going to have to have some tea-milk today. I’m feeling especially nostalgic. 🙂

    Reply

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