Monday, September 17, 2007

Food Remembered

Nothing evokes memories for me quite the way that food does. It has the ability to transport a person to another time and place. The ability also, to resurrect loved ones long since departed.

Just the aroma of my great grandmother Barnes' Brown Sugar Cookies transports me to her tiny kitchen in her tiny house in Tipton, Indiana. Visions of her working at the table with her large stoneware bowl dance in front of me with surprising clarity.

A single bite of chili, the way dad made it, takes me back to the dining room in the house at Harbor Beach, and calls back my father to the head of the table.

Parmesan flavored popcorn, provided by my Uncle Joel and Aunt Sherry, belongs on Route 25 in Port Hope where I watched fireworks as a child on my summer visits to dad’s home .

Just the mention of Colby cheese puts me at the large oval table in my grandmother Sharp's kitchen with the sounds of locusts and crickets chirping outside the windows on a hot summer night as I sit, surrounded by my brothers, having a late-night snack.

Rice, plain old Uncle Ben's rice, whisks me back to the home of my Uncle Earl and Aunt Mary Jane on the south side of Allentown. Never have I had better rice, and I don't know why ... it must have been the atmosphere.

Chocolate and cinnamon, reminiscent of my grandma Foster's famous chocolate cake, sets me down in her small kitchen in Bad Axe, the scent of Sweetheart soap filling my nostrils and the sound of happy family filling the air. The smell of Tollhouse cookies baking transfers me to Harbor Beach where grandma passed off a just-baked batch to my father for our trip to his new home in Davenport, Iowa.

My mother's fried chicken is the taste of home. In an instant I am a teen again, filling my plate to the chatter of my loved ones and friends on Christmas Eve at mom's buffet-style celebration.

The enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from eating something I love is magnified when sharing it with someone else, and the memory left is a result of that sharing.

This then is my simple truth; food shared is food remembered.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful writing!
Erin from Iowa

KFarmer said...

You're so right~ I made some fresh green beans this week-end and it reminded me of my grandmother as soon as I took a bite :)

Hindsfeet said...

We only ever ate canned corn at my aunt's house for Sunday dinner, so canned corn always reminds me of Sunday dinner at Aunt Nita's house.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Anne. I enjoyed walking yours with you and walking mine again, too.

Jenni said...

beautiful and poignant!

my mom's thanksgiving stuffing is, I'm sure, nothing out of the ordinary, but she's the only one who can make it taste as fabulous as it is to my memory.

Melanie said...

Great post! Love it!

Marion said...

This is a lovely post. I have so many memories of my mother's cooking...each time I make one of her recipes I am transported back to a long ago time.

So much is wrapped up in the preparation and eating of food...thank you for this post!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Words. Beautiful foods. mmmm. i bet you got some good stuff you could on the grill over at The Wurst Show!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! And that's exactly why I bust my tail--even when I'm way too busy--to make certain dishes my family loves. Especially around the holidays.