The question this week is all about food. What are my favorites and what memories do I associate with them.
I’m one of those people who adore spicy foods, and many of my favorites I enjoy today fall into that category. A spicy hot link, hot and sour soup, oysters with hot sauce splashed on them. Give me Kung Pao Chicken or a good taco and I’ll be pleased with the meal. But I can also do Mu Shu Pork, braised short ribs, or even a cheese and charcuterie Board.
It’s a cheese board which has one of my strongest adult food memories. At Disney’s Grand Californian (where one can get rooms over looking California Adventure or the fireworks at Disneyland), there’s a small place called the Hearthstone Lounge off the lobby my husband and I would stop in before heading home, in those days when we were annual pass holders. A cup of tea and a snack to round off the day. One time, though, I splurged and ordered the cheese board. To my surprise, one of the senior waiters arrived with two trainees in tow and asked my permission to use this as a training session. Permission given, he went through the board item by item, explaining the balance of the tastes and why it was presented with certain items facing the person ordering. It was an interesting lesson, capped by the fact we were presented with complimentary cookies hot out of the oven as a thank you.
But the foods which hold the strongest memories for me are from my childhood. There was my mom’s cinnamon pudding cake (you can find a version closely resembling it here), and I loved arriving home from school and smelling fresh baked bread. Dad made an awesome peanut butter fudge that I’ve never been able to recreate.
These were delicious, but I also remember eating at Monterey House in the ’70s where the food was “okay,” but the chief reason to visit was the Mexican candy at the bottom of the chip bowl. Whoever managed to find it first was lorded it over their two siblings, and Mom would usually ask the waiter for two more pieces to keep the peace. Who cared about the enchiladas or tamales? I wanted that delicious, melt in your mouth candy.
But the strongest food memory concerns, of all things, Lucky Charms cereal. Saturday mornings, like many kids of my era, I’d settle in front of the television for cartoons. Once I could pour my own cereal, I began to delay getting my morning bowl. The reason was because some mornings, my dad would get his own bowl and join us to watch Bugs Bunny. Lucky Charms is not a great cereal, but the memory of sitting next to Dad, watching Elmer Fudd try to hunt down that wascally wabbit, Daffy utter “You’re despicable,” or the coyote order some insane device from Acme, spooning sugar-coated oats and marshmallows into my mouth then slurping what was left of the milk is one that stays with me. It’s strong enough that whenever I watch the old cartoons, I get the urge for a bowl of cereal to take me back to that place for even just a few moments.
What are your favorite food memories? Is it a delicious meal, or something that takes you back to a specific time or place? Any recipes you’d care to share? Let me know in the comments, then hop on over to Brenda Margriet to find out her favorites.
Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy.