Good Food Blog
Memory bitesPosted at 12:02PM, 30 June 2008 by Carol Wilson - Food writer
Most people's earliest memories are connected with food. We tend to retain a sentimental fondness for the favourite foods of our childhood- and an often lasting dislike for the foods we loathed.
The flavours and aromas of foods we enjoyed as children are powerful reminders of those carefree days of growing up. The warm fragrance of fairy cakes baking takes me back to my early years, waiting impatiently for them to come out of the oven, followed by the interminable wait for the cakes to become cold - ready for me to 'help' coat the tops with soft sweet icing. A bowl of piping hot porridge calls to mind bitterly cold winter mornings and the happy anticipation of snow.
My granny made a fantastic Lancashire Hotpot with lamb, black pudding Black Pudding and kidneys. My sister has a distinct recollection of her favourite corned beef hash corned beef hash accompanied by sharp, vinegary beetroot and we both have fond memories of our dad's terrific home made soup, made with whatever meat bones he'd got from the butcher and home-grown vegetables. Sometimes he'd add several substantial, dumplings which expanded alarmingly over the pan as they simmered in the bubbling soup.
My Scottish auntie excelled at pastry, which really did melt in the mouth. The smell of her homemade apple pie fresh from the oven was sublime. The soft buttery apples had an elusive flavour - which years later I realised was due to a touch of mace and cinnamon. Her most legendary speciality though was Coconut tablet, a very sweet white sugary confection made to an old Scottish recipe. I've made it many times, but have never been able to get it quite the same.
Some foods are memorable because we couldn't stand them! Memories of a school dinner strip of grey leathery ox liver served with a mound of watery cabbage and lumpy mashed potatoes and teatime slices of deep red tongue, with its strange texture and shards of clear jelly still make me shudder!
Milestones in our lives, family events and celebrations are also inextricably bound with food memories. Birthday cake, usually a fluffy sponge, sandwiched with jam and buttercream smothered in thick icing; summer picnics of ham sandwiches with, Heinz salad cream, feather light scones fruit cocktail a big bowl of creamy trifle dotted with teeth-shattering silver balls and rich dark fruit cake. And of course the highlight of the year - Christmas dinner, the bird in all its crisp golden glory being carved at the table and the dark spicy fruitiness of Christmas pudding.
Food is certainly an important part of life. What are your childhood food memories?