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First REAL Food memory

YOU know, the one you think about everytime you eat that food. For me its a BLT. I was in ~ 3rd grade and went to my friends house for lunch during the school lunch break. Her mother made us BLT's cut in quarters and pinched together w colored toothpics. I thought it was the most desicious combination of foods I had ever had. My mom says I talked about it for weeks thereafter. Now, as an adult. EVERY time I bite into a BLT it brings me right back in to Sandra Dembrowski's kitchen. Whats your first fondest food memory?

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  1. There is no doubt as to the first indelible food memory. Age 2 , perhaps 3 as I was fully ambulatory and could walk into the kitchen, and seat myself at the table.

    Mom would serve me 2 easy-fried eggs. Not on a plate (as her matronly Southern manners would normally mandate), but in a BOWL, so that I could make a mess and chop chop chop and mix the runny yolk with the whites and savor them slipping and dripping from a spoon.

    (The kitchen was painted yellow, a perfect color for breakfast eggs, with the morning sun streaming thru the windows. The table was formica topped, edged with that long-classic strip of stamped metal; the chair seats and backs upholstered in that gray speckled and pebbled vinyl).

    Did mom know that allowing me to eat these eggs as messily and sensually as possible would lead to a lifelong quest for ingesting every nuance in every type of preparation that The Egg has to offer?

    Perhaps yes. Years later, in the final stages of her terminal illness, when every tick of the clock was for her a Carpe Diem, we focused on eggs... every nuance... every prep along the continuum... smacking, tasting, and smiling.

    She used a spoon.

    What goes around comes around.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FoodFuser

      That is a very touching and evocative story, FoodFuser.
      You and mom were/are lucky.

      One of my earliest food memories involves eating rasam and rice. Aged about 4 or 5. Sitting on the balcony floor with older sister and our plates, I suppose I was still learning to eat properly with my hand, and rasam and rice can be challenging. I don't know whether I thought of it, or my older sister did, but we ended up pouring the rasam down our arms, i.e. from hand back to elbow, and licking it off from elbows upward. We thought it was hilarious. I don't remember what mom thought.

      Of course, I still love rasam.

      1. re: FoodFuser

        Yes, very touching. It makes me ashamed to admit that what I believe is my earliest food memory -- I think I was about two -- is staring into a dish of mashed up soft-boiled eggs with loathing. My Mom loves soft-boiled eggs and fed them to me, but I haven't eaten one since I was old enough to make my feelings about them known.

        1. re: FoodFuser

          Goes around comes around indeed, FF! What a lovely warm memory you have of your mother. Thank you for sharing with us.

          My earliest food memory comes at about the same age; around 2. My best friend was always under the table at the foot of my high chair when I ate. He was a huge German shepherd who was my guardian, my playmate, my pillow, my pal. And he loved bacon! So did I, but I loved him more, so I would slip my single stingy slice of bacon (I regularly asked for two slices but was denied) under the table to him. Tippy Tin must have been a lip smacker, because suddenly the eyes of the three formidable human beings who dominated my life (mother, grandmother, grandfather) would turn glaring at me and demand, "Did you eat your bacon?" Of course I always always always insisted I had, but nevertheless Tippy Tin would end up banished to the back yard and I would end up with a mouth full of Ivory for telling lies. <sigh> I used to scold my mother and tell her if she didn't stop being mean to me, when I was the mother and she was the child, I would be mean to her! She would smile and tell me that that could never happen. But it did. She died of Parkinson's at age 82. But I wasn't mean to her.

          I thought about my love affair with bacon and Tippy Tin last night when the local news covered the opening here in Dallas of the Texas State Fair. The big hit in Fair Food this year is -- are you ready for this? -- chicken fried BACON...!!!

          1. re: Caroline1

            I have a youthful bacon and dog story too. As a wee one, my mom would feed me first. Then she would give the dog his dinner whilst the rest of the family started dinner. Our big dog would come whimpering to the table. Not because he was begging. He was complaining because I had crawled over to chow down on his bacon greased meal.

          2. re: FoodFuser

            Awakened with jolt
            Of dreams of my mama
            serving egg yolks in bowl
            in her soft yellow kitchen.

            God bless mams who set down a spoon and a bowl
            soon filled with eggs
            with no worry decorum
            that all might be yolks
            and all might be yellow.

            Mornings of eggs in bowls
            and inviting kitchens.

          3. I too fondly remember mom's BLTs as well and canned pears and Saltines when sick. But 2 food memories stand out. We had a local Russian bakery Seitz's (coal fired ovens) run by relatives. They made the best corn rye I've ever eaten. My favorite breakfast was a thick slice of this bread smeared w/ butter and topped with a generous sprinkling of sugar. It's name was one word: ryebreadbutterandsugar.
            Also I vividly mom coming home one day in the mid-fifties and telling me she had a new popular treat for me called pizza (Remember the Chef Boyardee boxed pizza?). It was from the dairy section in the supermarket, unwrap the plastic and bake. My first addiction.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              passad, when I was shopping in Aldi Foods on Monday I saw boxes of Chef Boyardee box pizza mix on the shelf. Talk about a food memory walking!

              1. re: HillJ

                Mine is also Chef Boyardee pizza! My memories are less of the eating and more of the making. It was so much fun to roll out the dough, spread the sauce and sprinkle the cheese. And then it came out and the slices were just the right size for little hands.

            2. Though I never had this specifically, my mom told me of eating biscuits with lard and sugar on them. When we went to my Grandparent's farm we were treated to Grandmother's huge spreads for breakfast and dinner. There was always a huge mound, of a pound or more, of freshly churned butter in the middle of the table.

              Thinking back, I think my mom making blueberry muffins from a kit, where you open a tin of blueberries, was a very special treat! Back in Dallas, as a poor kid, in the late fifties, anything like this (that came out of a box), was very special.

              1. My most vivid early food memory actually came fairly late in my childhood. When I was maybe 11 or 12, my dad took me to Forty Steps in Nahant, MA early one morning, and we gathered mussels from the rocks. We brought them home and he steamed them open, then pulled out the meats and sauteed them with a huge amount of garlic, and we had ourselves a tiny feast. It was the first time I'd had mussels, and possibly also the first time I specifically noticed the joys of garlic.

                That one memory stands out as a special morning that I think my dad and I both always wished we could replicate somehow. Later, in the mid-70s, I lived near Central Square in Cambridge in my first apartment, and a nearby fsh market sold mussels at 3 pounds for a dollar. My favorite dinner when I was broke but wanted to feast was a dollar's worth of mussels steamed with tons of garlic and dried herbs.

                Family legend also has it that I demonstrated a passion for kippered herring at the age of 2, but to be honest I never had any actual memory of the event myself. However, it's certainly true that kippers were a favorite snack back in the days when those were easy to find in the supermarkets and also cheap.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Allstonian

                  My first food memory also involves mussels. I was about 5 years old, visiting family in Chicago with my parents, and we were having dinner at a very upscale restaurant. Seeing as how I was 5, I don't remember the name of the place but it was in this gorgeous old room with vaulted ceilings and the waiters were all wearing jackets.
                  My mom had intorduced me to gourmet food at an early age, and after looking at the menu I had my heart set on the big bowl of mussels. I remember that the waiter was shocked to see this skinny little girl ordering mussels, and he tried to convince me of something more child-friendly on the menu. I refused to change my mind and when the mussels were brought to the table, I dove into the bowl. I'm sure it was a regular sized bowl, but to a 5 year old it looked enormous.
                  I finished every one of the mussels and will forever remember the look of surprise on the waiter's face to see an empty bowl sitting in front of me. He claimed to have never seen a child with such adult tastes. Whether he was telling the truth or just trying to be nice to me and my parents, I will never know... but it made me one proud little kid. To this day I can't look at mussels without thinking of that experience.

                2. one of my first food memories was always eating rice with cold boricha (roasted buckwheat tea), those teeny tiny baby sardines, and always chopped up kimchi cut up with scissors and rinsed under running water. Oh and seasoned gim/nori hand wrapped around hot sticky rice by mom. She just squeezed it with her hands and you could see the hand prints/finger prints on it.

                  I swear I lived on this stuff. I always associate that meal with being a kid.