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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.

                  1. My Aunt & Uncle owned a fishing marina in south NJ when I was very young. Although a second business and home for them, once a month I would go "down the shore" and stay overnight at their place, which I realized much later wasn't a home at all but a double wide trailer." Some of my earliest food memories involve large pots of tomato sauce boiling on the stove and gigantic meatballs being assembled by my Aunt while my Uncle was cleaning fish or helping a fellow fisherman clean theirs. On Saturday all the fisherman and their families would have meals together. Some of my own entertaining methods are a direct result of that early exposure.

                    When I would arrive back home, reeking of fish and tomatoes my parents would comment that they didn't know which smell was more comforting. To this day, whenever I prepare my Aunts sauce or filet a fish..I'm taken right back to those early and long standing food memories. I still prepare large pots of tomato sauce and filet a fish in record time while planning neighborhood block parties and family gatherings. Some food memories just stick to your soul.

                    1. Mine was around age 3 or 4 - I could walk and talk but couldn't make anything for myself yet. My favorite aunt was in our pantry making me a peanut butter sandwich, and she asked me a question that reverberates in my soul to this day: would I like the peanut butter spread thick, or thin? The idea that I could, by a verbal expression of my will, affect the way my food was prepared just shook my little world!

                      1. Being breastfed in a restaurant.

                        1 Reply
                        1. my mother used to poach eggs for us and we'd sit on the screen porch at our little table and eat them from a bowl with peter rabbit in the bottom.

                          when i was older we'd go strawberry picking very early in the day, go home and process them all, then have fresh strawberry shortcake for dinner. nothing else. just shortcake. i loved the way the berry juice soaked into the biscuits and made them all smooshy.

                          1. Around the age of 3 standing next to the table while my great grandmother slipped me lobster that my mom said i couldn't have because I would choke on it. Yum. That and being fed crab while standing next to the adults picking on outdoor tables.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: CourtneyO

                              I'm there with you on this one, my earliest memory is going to Race Street Fish Market in San Jose with my grandfather when I was 3 or so, and picking out crab for our dinner. Come dinner time, my grandfather who ever so carefully pick out a pile of crabmeat for me to eat before he started on his own dinner.

                            2. Every morning my sister and I would climb up the steps of our apartment building in Brooklyn and go into my grandmother's apartment above us and be served bowls of pastina with butter. I can still emember the smell of the hallway (all Italians in that neighborhood). If the sense of smell isn't visceral, I don't know what is. I feel sad now. Sad and old. And fat. Great.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: southernitalian

                                I was struggling to think of my earliest food memory until I read your post - which sent shivers down my spine. The memory came in a flash: I was 4 years old, it was late spring and I was living with my Noni and was in her kitchen devouring a bowl of pastina with butter. She used to add parsley from her garden, but I'd pick it out - my ignorance is almost humorous.

                                I don't think I've eaten pastina in over 25 years.

                                I too now feel sad and old ... Thanks!

                              2. At the local fish hatchery, learning that you start with the ice cream(strawberry in a waffle cone) and THEN eat the cone...We were asked to leave because I left the dairy equivalent of a oil slick on the top of the trout pond...2 y.o. at the time, I believe...

                                1. Spitting out broccoli at the dinner table at ~ 3 years old.

                                  1. I had to be 2-3 years old, in my grandmother's house. I remember eating squid cooked in tomato sauce, and I specifically remember eating the legs because they were my favorite. I was lucky enough to learn how to make it from her, and mine tastes exactly like hers. Just the smell of it brings me back all those years.

                                    1. My earliest food memory had to be of the excess milk left after you've eaten all the sugary cereal. I don't actually remember eating the cereal but I do remember trying to recreate it when I was about 3 yrs old without the cereal by mixing sugar and milk together. I also remember being dissatisfied with my results. I still love experimenting with food combinations.

                                      1. Salt sticks! Twists of crusty bread covered with coarse salt and caraway seeds. Hard to find now but just the taste of caraway seeds takes me back. Sigh. Now I want one. Right now.

                                        1. I remember being about 3 and walking into my grandmother's kitchen as she had just started making a pot of chicken soup. I asked her what she was doing, and she told me "Making soup for dinner." To this day, I never smelled anything so good. When I make soup, that brings me back - the chicken, onions, celery, carrots, parsley and parsnip with dill just carries me away.

                                          1. About 5 or 6 years old, Revere Beach. In the summer, during low tide, early evening and digging for clams. When we had our bucket filled, went up to order Anna's pizza and sit on the wall.

                                            Didn't eat steamers back then, but my parents enjoyed our hard work!

                                            1. When I was about 4 we went to visit the Grandparents and stayed overnight. This would have been the mid fifties. Grandma made homemade powdered-sugar doughnuts for breakfast. I'm not sure i even knew they existed before then. Even to this day, a powderd-sugar doughnut brings back the memories

                                              1. Five or six years old, I lived on a military base in the Philippines and we would frequently walk into 'town' to eat. Lunches and dinners were at the restaurant in the officers' barracks, and I always ordered the same thing: a fishwich with french fries and a 7-Up.

                                                McDonalds and Baskin Robbins, the only American restaurants on base, were also special treats. How I loved the lime daiquiri; tried a scoop a little while ago and it took me right back to those humid tropical evenings.

                                                BLTs and egg custard in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, after biking on the C & O Canal.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Olallieberry

                                                  Baskin and Robbins daiquiri ice was my favorite ice cream too! That in a sugar cone takes me back.

                                                2. In 1953 my Brother's Christening ...celery stuffed with creme cheese. I felt soooo sophisticated. I was 3.

                                                  1. I must've been about four. Eating smoked oysters out of the tin with my mom and older brother, standing at the kitchen counter together.

                                                    1. I remember a dinner when I was about 5, I'd have white rice wrapped with nori, and then I'd pour a spoonful of kimchi soup over the rice and gobble up. I felt like I was "cooking," which made it taste so much better.

                                                      1. I grew up in Houston and Daddy always had a big summer garden. When I was four, we ate out of the garden every night. Cucumber and onion salad in white vinegar with sugar, salt and pepper, fried okra, fried eggplant, pole beans & new potatoes with bacon, big slices of super ripe tomato. We had a screened porch and often ate these garden dinners on what my parents called the breezeway. Dessert was fresh watermelon and spitting the seeds into the grass.

                                                        1. I remember eating Cream of Wheat with brown sugar, white sugar, butter and a teeny bit of canned milk. I especially liked the lumps in the Cream of Wheat my mother made for me. When got old enough to make my own Cream of Wheat, I was soooo disappointed that it didn't come out lumpy like Mama's. I would actually make lumps to put in my Cream of Wheat! LOL

                                                          I would spend Saturdays with my paternal grandmother. I remember my Grandma Meechie makeing the Chef Boyardee Pizza from a box in a cast iron skillet. She would doctor it up with slices of cheddar cheese. She would also make hamburgers and "skinny french fries" on request. Another favorite that I could only have at her house was a big bowl of rice with lots of butter and soy sauce. I really believe that my lifelong love of cooking was born at Grandma Meechie's house.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: amethiste

                                                            Scrambled eggs in a little bowl at 3 or 4. But I gave some of them to the cat. When my mom asked why the bowl was so clean, suspecting same, I told her I'd washed it.

                                                            She DID "re-wash" it.....

                                                          2. It's not real food, but its a real food memory. Two or three years old, hiding under the kitchen table and eating Purina dog biscuits I snuck from the cupboard !

                                                            1. These are all great reading!

                                                              My earliest food memory had to be poached eggs in the little egg cups. I remember sitting at the same table as FoodFuser described (ours was bright yellow with bright yellow vinyl chairs) and scooping the eggs out of the shells. I can't stand poached eggs now, can't eat a runny egg if my life depended on it, or even a bright yellow yoke. I don't know why just can't.

                                                              Then there is the buttered toast, although with mom it was margarine, cut into strips when I had been sick and finally tried to eat something. This was always served in my bed with gingerale or 7-up after she made me get up to wash my face/brush my teeth and hair and she straightened out my bed and fluffed my pillows. God I miss her! I was probably 3 or 4 when she first did this.

                                                              The 7up just reminded me of another, her homemade angel food cake which to cool she would put upside down over the old large green glass 7up bottles. Wow, I can still see it and smell them cooling in our old beautiful huge kitchen.

                                                              1. I would have been 3 or 4; the open-faced shrimp sandwiches served in Harrods (not the food hall, the restaurant upstairs.) I've only found them again once or twice in my life - and the ones at Ikea do NOT measure up.

                                                                Probably the next one was at a restaurant in Seattle on the water (Lake Union?) and being allowed to order my own filet mignon at 8. I had the most amazing baked marinated mushrooms as an appetizer that I've never found again. The steak was topped with crystallized ginger which my dad told me to eat as a joke and I ended up loving!

                                                                1. I was probably about 4 years old when I'd go digging clams with my dad on the beaches of southern Maine. If we accidentally broke a clam while digging with the clam rake, it was okay to swish it around in the salty water and eat it raw, then and there. A mighty fine breakfast on early morning excursions.

                                                                  1. OK, now I've got a grasp on it. When I was about nine, I started cooking. Being #2, of a family of five kids, and no Dad, Mom went off to work to sustain us. She would call and give me directions about what and how to cook.
                                                                    So my first memory of food is my burning stewed potatoes. Boy do they stink! I tried to multi-task (which means watching cartoons and cooking), and sometimes the potatoes ran out of water.... that and pinto beans.... burned them too.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                      Love the multi-tasking explanation!

                                                                    2. This is great!

                                                                      I have two. The first, and I remember this quite clearly, is getting a green pea stuck in my nose. I was about two, and it occurred to me that the pea would fit nicely into my left nostril. I also remember my mother, who is given to emotional scenes, standing with me in front of the toilet shouting "Blow! Blow!" and then cramming her well manicured finger nail (white iridescent polish) into my little nose to get the pea. I was not allowed them for a few years after that.

                                                                      The next one is the smell of clam boil coming from the kitchen. Every winter my aunt and uncle would come south with a massive suitcase filled with dry ice and live littleneck clams, a few lobsters, and ten pounds of chorizo and linguica from Furtado's in Fall River.My mother and aunt would layer them in giant kettles with ears of fresh corn and the house would fill with friends who'd go home stuffed, chins glistening with butter.

                                                                      1. Nestle's Strawberry Quik. I don't drink it much now, but even the smell makes me feel little again. I distinctly remember being really freaked out if there were bubbles on the surface, and my mother, my beautiful mother would scoop them out for me with a spoon.

                                                                        1. I think the 3 that stand out to me the most are: Frosted Flakes cereal, the See's Peanut Brittle that was at my grandmother's house and the peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches my mom made me for lunch. Thank goodness I eat healthy foods once I learned how to cook for myself.....

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: taboo

                                                                            Graham crackers and milk in the "nursery" at church. Even at 3 it seemed like an odd snack, much more spartan than what I'd have had at home.

                                                                            Those little flat pastel wedding mints at my aunt's wedding. I was 2 1/2 then.
                                                                            (my grandma bought them for me after the wedding because I loved them so much)

                                                                            Ants on a log (celery w/peanut butter and raisins on top) Grandma again..for the longest time I thought she invented them.

                                                                            The outrageously huge bowls of Peppermint Bon Bon ice cream my grandpa used to serve up. He was a dentist!

                                                                            1. re: cherrylime

                                                                              So funny....I remember the ants on a log too. Also going back in time, I have vivid memories of grape nuts cereal that seemed the more you ate, the same amount was still in the bowl since it kept expanding.

                                                                          2. My earliest food memory would be from somewhere in my 3rd or 4th year. Friday night dinners were at Gramma's house, after services, but not your typical shabbos meal, 'cause we didn't keep kosher. There were 10 of us at the table and she would have been cooking since early the day before, because she wanted everybody to have what they wanted. So there would be: a whole chicken stewed in home-made spaghetti sauce; some kind of pasta to use up said sauce; oh! and meatballs, too!; schliskes (like a Jewish gnocchi, boiled then rolled in buttered breadcrumbs and baked with more butter in a glass dish until the top pieces were nice and crusty); a huge mixed green salad with tons of vegetables and a super vinegary dressing; hot dogs & burgers for my cousins who wouldn't eat anything else; and, best of all, stuffed derma with homemade gravy. My grandmother's cooking informed my tastes to this day - and I'm now the age she was when she was building her fabulous Friday-night feasts. I've had plenty of stewed chickens, but none to equal hers, and those schliskes and stuffed derma? I can still taste them.

                                                                            1. Throwing a (Blue Willow--from Woolworths) bowl of strained peas (Gerbers) off the high chair and seeing it crash on the floor.

                                                                              1. It's 1960 and it's been a day since I had my tonsils taken out. The price of a gallon of gas is .31, the avg. income in the U.S. is $5,500/yr, and I've eaten NOTHING since the surgery. I'm sitting in the doctor's office and I turn to my mother and ask for a tuna sandwich and a vanilla milkshake. You've never seen people move so quickly. Yes, I remember what it tasted like and how good it felt. I still like the combination.

                                                                                1. Having a toy Pizza Hut pizza oven and making the tiny pizzas cooked by the power of a 100 watt light bulb in the "oven."
                                                                                  Man I loved making and eating those little pizzas. Just horrible.....I can still taste that sauce today.

                                                                                  1. My first real vivid food memory is at a lunch counter with my Mother when I am about 4 or 5 in the very small town in NW PA where I grew up. She ordered a cheeseburger and I wanted one too, although I didn't know what it was.

                                                                                    She assured me I probably wouldn't like it, but let me order it anyway. Needless to say, it was the finest cheeseburger in the history of the world ~~ the one all others have been compared to for the last 50 years.

                                                                                    1. Sitting at the kitchen table with my parents and refusing to eat oatmeal... I've never eaten it since.
                                                                                      Going to the ice cream parlor with my mom and sharing a banana split, just because.
                                                                                      My grandma's house that smelled like shortbread.
                                                                                      My dad and I staying over at my aunt's house, and the next morning my dad and uncle rushing out the door in their weekly who-buys-the-donuts-first competition... I'd give at least a few of my digits to be any of these places again.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: marmite

                                                                                        OOH! that reminded me of another one... riding to Elmira NY with my dad, can't remember why he had to go there, and stopping at dunkin donuts for a chocolate honey dip donut and a pepsi. I still love a (diet) coke with my chocolate honey dip donuts! We'd sit at the counter and I'd twirl my stool. I always felt so grown up.

                                                                                      2. Having liver sausage sandwiches and ginger ale for lunch before my nap when I was 2 or 3. I would like to think that it was Usinger's liver sausage, but it was probably Oscar Meyer. But I'm certain that the ginger ale was Graf's. This would have been around 1957.

                                                                                        I also remember being disappointed in how stale the leftover bits had become while I napped.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                          I was recently informed by my mother that my first complete sentence was, "I want eggy."

                                                                                          1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                            Mine told me my first words after mama and dada were "tsicken tsoup."

                                                                                        2. When I was a kid my family had a little marshmallow cooker about the size of a 4 inch cube with electric heating coils around the sides and little forks you stuck the mallows on to roast them. I must have been all of three years old when a mallow I was roasting caught fire. I was chastized for tossing the flaming treat onto the stovetop instead of the sink, but I thought my logic was sound. Flames belonged on the stove! I am reminded of that experience every time I see a marshmallow.

                                                                                          1. Mine would be dad bring oysters in the shells home when I was about 8, after a fishing trip. He was a butcher and had a friend who was a fisherman so they'd swapped some beef for some oysters. It was the very first time I had eaten oysters that weren't smoked and from a can and was informed in front of large group of guests that I wouldn't like them I was too young. I am not sure if I really did enjoy them or I was determined to like them because I was told I wouldn't

                                                                                            1. Wow, I'm shocked as to how many of you remember food related things so early on. I honestly can't remember much.
                                                                                              At 6 I remember the bologna sandwiches my mother used to send me off to school with, I recall eating them behind the school at recess and I LOVED them, they were toasted in a sandwich press and were just heavenly. I don't eat meat anymore or bologna.

                                                                                              1. the jfoods moved on his 4th birthday and he remembers no food from the pre-4 apartment. So the memory is after 4-years old. He has a vivid memory of his saturday lunch while in the background the sound of "Sky King" play..."out of the blue of the western sky comes Sky King." The food was a frozen beef patty (came in a pink and white box) with a a pat of butter frozen on one side. You placed the butter side down in a pan, fried and then flipped and cooked the other side. Then onto some white bread (probably Wonder bread) with some ketchup. The steaminess made the bread stick to the roof of jfood mouth and it was a nice buttery fried hamburger.

                                                                                                BLT's also play a second seat role in the memory bucket.

                                                                                                1. The earliest - Eating macaroni and cheese while watching Price is Right at the babysitters, I was probably 3-4 years old.

                                                                                                  The strongest/most distinct - having lunch at the Trellis in Williamsburg, VA when I was 6. The only thing on the menu I was interested in was ice cream. It was a beautiful late spring day and we were having such a good time as a family that my dad said I could order just ice cream for lunch. I remember getting a huge (for a 6 year old) bowl of the creamiest vanilla ice cream I've ever encountered covered with the sweetest, brightest strawberries ever. That was the first time that I realized eating involved more than the sense of taste.

                                                                                                  1. My first food memory is of Cheerios - I can vividly remember being in pre-K and aiming Cheerios under the slit of the attached synagogue door at the Rabbi's feet. Then, I remember the feet walking towards me and me running.

                                                                                                    I also remember eating Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches (on white bread) while watching the sailboats after playing at the playground on the riverside in Philly with my dad. My special Daddy-n-Daughter sandwich.

                                                                                                    1. I'm pretty sure I was 3 years old at the time - cetainly no older than 4..
                                                                                                      It was a hot summer, and my brother and I were at a neighbour's house visiting a boy of about my age.
                                                                                                      We were asked if we'd like an iced-lolly (I think these are called 'popsicles' in the USA, basically sweet flavoured ice on a stick). We 3 children all said 'yes' and we eagerly awaited our treats as an adult went to the corner shop to get them. On her return she said that there had only been 2 iced lollies left, and one of us would have ice cream instead. None of us wanted ice cream, and for some reason I was the one chosen to receive this second-rate treat. I remember imagining eating the ice-cream in a cone, and deciding that it wouldn't be so bad.
                                                                                                      The boys took their lollies and rushed out into the garden.
                                                                                                      I was handed a bowl containing cheap vanilla ice-cream, and a spoon. I had to eat it in the kitchen.
                                                                                                      I remember trying not to cry in rage.

                                                                                                      1. I remember eating broccoli (loved broccoli) and pretending I was a big dinosaur eating trees (iwas probably 3 or 4 years old).. I still do when I eat whole stalks of fresh steamed broccoli and I'm 37 now. I also used to eat eyes, nose, hair and a mouth out of a piece of lunch meat before consuming the whole thing. I still find my self doing that sometimes.

                                                                                                        1. What a great idea for a thread! Mine is munching on kimchi that my paternal grandmother washed for me. Couldn't get enough of the stuff.

                                                                                                          1. Red River Cereal (a hot cereal) with milk and brown sugar sprinkled on top for breakfast on winter mornings. Although the taste and feel of this dish is still a happy time machine, it also recalls the dread with which I would be anticipating the walk to school in -30C while I ate it.

                                                                                                            Bad food memory is marzipan - age 3 or 4, after months of begging to have one of the beautiful treats at the bakery (all colourful, like tiny jewels) my father caved and bought me one. I popped it in my mouth, it tasted and felt foul, and I spent the 45 min car ride home storing it, slowly disintegrating, in my cheek (I knew I'd be in trouble after all the begging). Spat it out in the carpark as soon as I was out of the car and have hated marzipan, even the smell of it, ever since.

                                                                                                            1. Grandma was really old by time I was born.
                                                                                                              Her kitchen loomed large with its run of pine floorboards
                                                                                                              Cracks gaps and warps as befit an old country house.
                                                                                                              It was there that we mingled on canning of corn.

                                                                                                              Table piled high with ready shucked stalks
                                                                                                              Gifts from the gardeners within her relationships.
                                                                                                              Me at that age of four, toes teasing floorboards
                                                                                                              Eyes to huge pile of corn, eyes to my granny.

                                                                                                              She hefted huge knife and began the de-kernelment.
                                                                                                              Confident strokes as she worked apex to base.

                                                                                                              There was palaver and heck don't remember it
                                                                                                              Image is Granny, piled corn, huge knife
                                                                                                              Toddler's toes seeking feel of pine floor
                                                                                                              Wifts of my granny,it blade to the corn.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                Scene: warm summer day at preschool, picnic tables spread for a sumptuous snack. Small paper cups of slightly warm tomato juice alongside several Triscuits. This is a sublime treat if there ever was one.
                                                                                                                I still have this occasionally. It must be 3 oz of the tomato juice and 4 Triscuits.

                                                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                  What a wonderful story. I could imagine myself there...

                                                                                                                2. My very first food memory is the first time I ever ate bagels, cream cheese and lox. I was probably about three, and I can still remember thinking that bagels and lox sounded really weird (I had no idea what it was) and that I had already decided I didn't like it and wasn't eating it. When the actual bagels and all the fixings arrived, my mom prepared me a bagel half anyway, with the lox torn up into little pieces on top. I took one look at that bagel and it was love at first sight. "Oh, THAT'S a bagel!!!" I still like my lox torn into little pieces to this day. :)

                                                                                                                  1. Scalded milk with the gross skin on top and a raw egg yolk at the bottom -- I was probably 2 to 3 years old. Fortunately, we lived in LA at the time so Mom didn't heat up milk for me very often.

                                                                                                                    1. 60 years ago, when I was 4 y.o., I nearly drowned in a pond -- it took all the oxygen in two towns to keep me alive while I was rushed to the hospital. When I woke up in a hospital bed, I was starving, so they brought some mashed bananas for me. One bite, two bites...gag and vomit. I've hated the taste and smell of bananas ever since.

                                                                                                                      1. Back in the early sixties my folks took me and my brothers on a car trip out west from Illinois. I was 4. Somewhere in Wyoming we stopped at a place that rented out cabins with wood-burning stoves. I'm pretty sure they weren't really open - it was September - but they took us in and one of the owner's boys went out and caught a bunch of rainbow trout for our supper. Right from the stream into the frying pan. Nothing had ever tasted so good!

                                                                                                                        1. I distinctly remember two food experiences, both at about age three.

                                                                                                                          I had a favorite sleeveless top which had three square pockets sewn above the bottom hem. I insisted on wearing this daily. My mother would let me fill the pockets with snacks. I always put raisins in the left, animal crackers in the middle and chopped carrots or celery in the right. The raisins were my favorite, so I ate them slowly to make them last the afternoon. I was very careful about the raisin location being on the left because I would fill the pockets with found treasures once the snacks were gone. The treasures were largely rolly-polly bugs and little snails. Before I established the raisin pocket I had the unpleasant surprise of eating a rolly-polly by mistake!

                                                                                                                          During this same period I attended a birthday party for an older cousin. My aunt gave me a plate with ice cream on top of a slice of cake and a fork. To my mind (still) ice cream goes in a bowl with a spoon, cake on a plate with a fork. I was very distressed that the cake was becoming wet due to the ice cream melting in the summer heat. I nicely asked for it to be served "properly". I was informed that I was a brat and banished to the garage without cake or ice cream. There I found a can of some lovely orange paint and my interest in artistic expression first took form...I still think the tires on their car looked much more festive orange!

                                                                                                                          1. Two memories:
                                                                                                                            The first: my earliest memento of any food was aged about 2 - wrapped up in my white terrycloth robe, sitting down to a bedtime snack (probably at about 7pm!) - a half-sandwich of butter lettuce and Best Foods mayonnaise on white bread. Lettuce never tasted better!
                                                                                                                            The second: aged about 6. Going shopping with my mother in downtown LA, and having lunch at Mike Lyman's, a wonderful, old-fashioned, booth-lined restaurant, now long-gone.
                                                                                                                            The waiter advised against ordering the full adult portion of spaghetti and meatballs - no 6-year-old girl could finish it. But the kid insisted - and finished it, with the waiter watching and applauding. The triumph of greed! Lyman's also induced me to the pleasure of shrimp cocktail in a silver bowl, ensconced in another bowl of crushed ice. Quelle elegance - alas, also vanished!!

                                                                                                                            1. I know I can't possibly really remember this but my relatives re-told the story a lot at family gatherings plus there's photos documenting this, so it's become as real a memory for me as anything else.

                                                                                                                              I'm a toddler, pre-language, at a relative's house for a photo shoot by one of many aunts - this one is an amateur photographer. Another aunt gives me a little box of Sunmaid raisins. I immediately recognize the red box with the lady wearing a bonnet and carrying a basket of grapes and know my favourite snack is inside... but how do I get them? After pawing the box for what seems like forever, I shove the whole thing into my mouth. A half dozen family members gasp and lunge at me to remove a drool-covered box from my jaws, open it and place it back into my hands.

                                                                                                                              1. I have a distinct memory of standing on a kitchen chair that I pulled over to the kitchen sink and was peeling a carrot. I was quite young, probably around 3 years old. It was late at night and my parents walked in the back door and were surprised to see what I was doing. They had gone out and my big sister was supposed to be watching her little brothers but she went to bed and how do you keep a three year old in bed anyway if he wakes up and decides he needs to eat a carrot?