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Taste/aroma memories: traveling in time and space

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I recently made a batch of rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) to use in a traditional recipe. Just smelling the finished product, and later having a small taste of it, catapaulted me back to my mother's kitchen. Hardly a month passed during my childhood that this product wasn't made in our kitchen.

What is your most powerful taste/aroma memory? Where and when does it transport you?
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post #2 of 18
Hi, I really had to think about this one, and have concluded that, as far as food goes, there's nothing from my childhood, or up the the time I arrived in San Francisco in 1967, that stands out other than a can of carrot juice and some canned asparagus. Both are horrible memories. Well, there's one other - when I was about 10 years old I found an old bottle of rum stashed awy in our kitchen, and I poured a large glassful and chugged it down. Maybe that's why I'm pretty much abstemious <LOL>

Shel
post #3 of 18
Hi, I really had to think about this one, and have concluded that, as far as food goes, there's nothing from my childhood, or up the the time I arrived in San Francisco in 1967, that stands out other than a can of carrot juice and some canned asparagus. Both are horrible memories. Well, there's one other - when I was about 10 years old I found an old bottle of rum stashed awy in our kitchen, and I poured a large glassful and chugged it down. Maybe that's why I'm pretty much abstemious <LOL>

Shel
post #4 of 18

memories...

Mezz- funny how food can do that huh? (thanks for the good memory with this thread)
I remember my grandfather (my cooking inspiration) used to make apple pies every fall.... the smell of warm apples and cinnamon filled the house... he'd make several and freeze a few.....plus bake the extra crust with butter and cinnamon-sugar, and we'd sit down that night and have a big slice of apple pie w/ vanilla ice cream and a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese...... yummmmmm
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Bon Vive' !
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post #5 of 18
visual memories...my paternal grandmother who was short, stout, squishy hugger who shelled green peas in our kitchen.

Almond croquant my mother made from almonds harvested from the tree in the lot right behind our Rancho Cordova fence....the burnt sugar candy was given as gifts to my teachers each year.

Babka baked in coffee cans with white icing, mushrooming all over the kitchen.

DBL bing cherries (culls) that we got grocery bags full for a pittance....crisp, sweet and juicy. The plum tree overhanging my sandbox that had the best plums ever.
My dad grilling meats....he was a grilling fool.....brought back a green egg from Asia (he was stationed on Guam but traveled to Japan alot). He really liked grilling sirloins and teriyaki chicken.....always having enough for the salad loaded out with vegetables and meats that the whole family helped compile.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 18
anise - makes me think of how my husband's nana took the time to show me how to make italian cookies, and then later on showing my own sons her techniques.
cinnamon in tomato sauce - my lithuainian nana.
cherry pie - with the canned stuff - my mom, as every year for washington's birthday she made one.
post #7 of 18

Great question!

I grew up in San Francisco, CA, but my parents were born/raised in Germany, so we made several trips to visit family while I was growing up. One of my fondest food memories is going down the street to the local bakery, during visits to my grandmother's place in Düsseldorf, Germany, and picking up the "Brötchen" for that morning's breakfast. The particular smell associated with those rolls stays with me to this day, and I've not found anything even close to it, though I've tried...

Thanks for the memory...

Cheers!

Micki
--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
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--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
Reply
post #8 of 18
For me: the smells of my Mum's baking.... scones and breads and wonderful cakes. The smells when you came in from school, on a dark winter's evening... and that smell of baking........ with a buttered scone or a slice of Dundee cake as a treat. YUM :D
post #9 of 18
Great Thread! I have three happy scent memories: the Thanksgiving turkey cooking up, mom's bread baking, and in Fall, the smell of a bar-b-que relish that my mom and aunt would can. Just thinking about these brings a smile and happy thoughts.
post #10 of 18
My dad took all of his vacation and sick leave for the year between Thanksgiving and New Year's each year. My fondest memories are of the week before Christmas break when we'd come home to the wonderful aroma of baking cookies.........chocolate chip, M&M, peanut butter chip, lady fingers, pecan sandies, and other wonderful treats. The best part of the memory is boxing up those delicious treats and over the course of several nights, delivering them to family and friends. What fun!
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
What wonderful responses! I hope to read more. :bounce:
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post #12 of 18
I recently visited an older relative. I saw a dish on the floor for the dogs water... a bowl that I instantly recognized even though I hadn't seen it in over 30 years. It was the last of a the service she had many years before. I took a picture of the dish and sent it to my mother along with a lot of other photos. She called me immediately to tell me that her favorite photo was... the bowl! She had instantly recognized it as well. We have that pattern engraved in our minds because it was the pattern behind all the food we ate.
post #13 of 18
great sticky buns from the German bakery down the street from where I lived, in fact all the smells that came out of the bakery
post #14 of 18
you might be interested to know why smells (and tastes) can bring us back in time, can evoke strong emotions, and are so easy to remember. The reason is tied to the fact that our ancestors, hunters and gatherers, had to remember the taste of things that made them sick, for years. Those that didn't remember died off, having probably eaten the same thing again, maybe in greater quantity.
Also the sense of smell in the brain is closely associated with emotions and emotional memory. It probably comes from the fact that the most "primitive" parts of the brain contain both - primitive meaning those parts that are similar to the brains of lizards and other simpler animals. All the thinking parts are on top of that central part.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #15 of 18
This isn't a taste memory but an aroma one - if you can call it that. Whenever I smell chalk on a chalkboard it takes me back to my very earliest times at school (in the long long ago!). Call me strange but its a comforting smell to me.

Also the smell of baby powder (talc) takes me back to my children's earliest days - I love the smell of a freshly washed and talced baby.

Does anyone else have anything in a similar vein?
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #16 of 18
I so desperately wanted to go to school, living in an area where there were no kids to play with, that the impact of the smell on the first day of kindergarten, which i can't describe, but which hits me in the head with nostalgia, is very powerful.
And babies, oh, babies, that does siomething very similar.

for foods, although my mother was italian i never liked her cooking much. Somehow she learned quick enough to use frozen vegetables and garlic salt. But the smell of black pepper is one of my good memories of food, even if when i was little i never liked the pinch of it, i did love the smell, and since everyone in the family liberally sprinkled everythig with it and the smell was so good, i gradually got to like it myself. Nothing white, in my opinion, where you put salt, can be without black pepper - boiled potatoes, eggs, bechamel, etc. Never could stand white pepper, has none of the depth, and the little black flecks are incredibly appealing.
I guess the taste i most long for and which brings me back, is something i came up with myself as a kid - fried eggs, with cinnamon raisin toast dipped into them. The slightly sweet with the salty, ah, sometimes i make cinnamon bread just so i can dip it in an egg!
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for jarring my own memory of a sandwich I loved as a child. I'd spread cinnamon-raisin bread with margarine, then put two slices of Oscar Mayer's ham and cheese loaf on it for my school lunch. I loved it!! Later I learned people make a sauce for ham with raisins and brown sugar. My palate knew what would work even when I was too young to understand.
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post #18 of 18
Mezz,

:suprise: That sounds like my brother's favorite breakfast when we were kids: Toasted raisin bread with Liverwurst. :eek:

Used to gross the rest of us out :rolleyes:, but he LOVED it...

Micki
--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
Reply
--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
Reply
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