A scent can transform a moment, take you back in time, sometimes to days ago, sometimes to decades long gone. I am reminded 2 to 3 times a week of my childhood. I come home and often detect the scents of my childhood in my kitchen…
Hot dogs wrapped in buttery, warm, rolls. Creamy mac and cheese. Sandwiches made of toast that turns peanut butter warm and gooey and sweetened with strawberry jelly. Chocolate cookie wafers soaked in whipped cream, layered with jam and walnuts. Made from scratch chocolate brownies with homemade vanilla frosting. Lemon bundt cake with a sweet/sour glaze that made my lips pucker. Sloppy Joes open-faced on hamburger buns. Warm rice casserole with broccoli florets and cheddar cheese. “Minute” steaks with ketchup.
These are some of the flavors of my childhood – and since I was raised in the 70s (holy c**p, am I that old?) I am sure there are plenty of people out there who recall the same tastes.
Because my parents live with my husband and me and help with our kids, my mom makes dinner for my son and daughter, ages 5 and 7, a couple of nights a week. I can usually tell what the kids have had for dinner as soon as I walk in the door; it is a walk down memory lane each time mom cooks. I still love those “pigs in a blanket.” The roll has to be crunchy and the hot dog warm throughout as I dip them in a bit of ketchup. YUM!
Lest you think I have not evolved at all, today’s rolls are whole grain, the mac ‘n cheese organic and the hotdogs and Sloppy Joes turkey. But the flavor is the same. The flavor and the scent are what take me back to Tucson Arizona, where I grew up, and where, from the age of 3-18, I lived with my two brothers, mom and dad. I can still see that lemon yellow countertop and the avocado green stove. (I also recall being pelted in the head with my favorite “pig in a blanket” when I got into a fight with one of my brothers, but all-in-all, the memories are good.)
I get a kick out of the fact that my kids will have some of the same (but slightly more nutritional) food memories from their childhood as I do. There is also something comforting in knowing that the same food from my childhood is still good, even four decades later. (Holy c**p, I am that old.)
What food takes you back to your childhood? What scent, color, or fabric takes you back to when linoleum and burnt orange were king?