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FOOD MEMORIES

What is a food memory that you have as far as smell goes? My grandma's house always smelled of fresh gravy. I love that smell and to this day gravy reminds me of her.

What are some of yours?

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  1. My grandmother's dressing...as in chicken and dressing. We never had turkey growing up, but roast chicken. I remember it took my mother and me several Thanksgivings to get that dressing recipe down. My grandmother never had written instructions for anything. All her cakes were "1-2-3-4" cakes with various icings.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Teacakes

      Seconds on the dressing. I've made my mother's bacon-mushroom-turkey liver-sage bread stuffing every Thanksgiving since I moved out of their house in the early 70's. That smell waking up on Thanksgiving morning as a kid was so wonderful.
      I always have to make a trip outdoors mid-morning so I can come back in and get that whiff of stuffing being prepared. Love it.

    2. I have many memories, but I have to say that two stand out. The first being the teriffic scent of really strong coffee brewing. I attended a Catholic school. The convent was attached to the school building. In the mornings as we would enter the school, and go upstairs to our classrooms, the smell of the coffee would come out of the convent. That smell was so comforting and to this day, I still have not smelled that good of a coffee scent.
      The second is the scent of my gumbo roux. When the kids were younger and all living at home, they loved when I made gumbo. They always knew the roux was ready by the scent wafting throughout the house. Love the smell of a good, dark roux!

      1. I remember the smell of liver and onions cooking--smelled fabulous...sorry to say couldn't stand the taste or texture, but man did it smell good.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ROCKLES

          The smell of coffee in the Luxembourg youth hostel. My introduction to european roast and beans. After my first night of european beer.

          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            Oh wow, your food memory brought back a Europe memory for me - stumbling to the lobby for a hot cup after long nights in Amsterdam... Coffee has never tasted so good! Thanks for that. :)

        2. The Italian market. Everytime I walk in there it smells like grandmas house. The mix of cheeses, fennel/anise, hot bread, and liquors.

          It's the one odor that hits me like a brick wall and makes me let out a nice long sigh.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Novelli

            I get that too, Novelli. My other food/smell memory is hot peppers frying in a mix of olive oil and “regular oil” with whole cloves of garlic, being cooked on a gas stove. There is a certain scent from a gas stove that co-mingles with food and it brings back memories of my Grandmom’s house.

            On the other hand, an eye round roast, cooking for HOURS on low with onions, carrots and potatoes, until it’s thoroughly over cooked, and shreds when you attempt to slice it, that’s my Irish Nan’s house smell on any given Sunday. LOL (my husband is Irish on both sides of his family, so he has the same food/smell memory and every once in a great while I will cook an eye-roast to death just to satisfy that childhood need)

          2. Brisket! In fact, my college entrance essay was a proustian examination of what family meant through the smell of that brisket in our annual visits down to Florida.

            I agree with teacakes, on the other side of the family, I still use my grandmother's super plain and simple dressing/stuffing recipe and the smell reminds me of her.

            Once i got in a big fight with my father (in front of a group of my visiting friends) about making a sweet pepper and onion stew my grandmother used to make. I added black pepper to my taste, and it was sacrilege to my father! Its hard to preserve other people's food memories!

            1. My grandma's house smelled like two things:

              1. Boiled chicken feet
              2. Old shell-on peanuts

              Not so fabulous. BUT most of my good-food smells stem from either my house or trips such as smelling Genovese basil at the Cinque Terre and piping hot pizza in Naples and the pungency of a buffalo milk mozzarella farm in Tuscany. Also the almost sickly-sweet smell at vineyards throughout Europe. Fresh green olive oil in Croatia.

              One memorable smell was freshly-made haggis for breakfast in Scotland. Some haggis is alright but this was so strong I kept gagging and in fact had to run up to our room and, well, got sick.

              My favourite food aroma of all is freshly-dug white truffles in Croata. Oh. My. Nothing else on earth smells like it! It is so earthy and heady and just plain wonderful.