Memories. Let’s discuss our greatest ones! I believe these memories are anchored subconsciously in our minds. For example, if I smell gasoline anywhere other than at a gas station, I find myself transported back to my grandfather’s garage, where his broken tractors wait to be repaired. I can see through my mind’s eye, the wall of tools scattered in disarray. And if I were to lean around the corner in that shop, I would even be able to hear my papa’s gravelly voice gearing up to tell a tall tale. The colors are vivid and the sounds are unmistakable.
Later in life, I realized that food also leaves its memorable mark. Something I tasted way back when can quite vividly leave a lasting impression of like or dislike. Was there something you were forced to eat as a child that still makes you cringe to this day? For me, that particular food is lima beans. You know those bags of frozen mixed vegetables that contain the chalk-like green atrocity, laying patiently to sabotage my side-dish game? And you know what? My daughter loves the little offensive bean. She actually requests them in her favorite dish, Grandma’s beef and vegetable soup. If I partake, I painstakingly remove every single bean. There are few ingredients that evoke in me such disgust, and yet the emotions that surface are undeniable.
I have also discovered that as my taste buds evolve over time, so do my preferences. I am sad to say, there are a few old favorites that no longer provide the same warm emotions of familiarity. Two examples of these old comfort foods are fast food french fries, with their steaming goodness, and those hot and fresh donuts you can watch being made and consume straight from the conveyor belt. My previous euphoric delight is now dampered by the knowledge that for me, sugar is too rich and the grease from fries results in a negative digestive reaction. I sit and mourn this new reality that my “favorite food movie” memory has been recalled to the editing room for some critical updates.
My edited movie release offers a new perspective on fish, onions and black pepper. Some critical changes have been made, which affect my sweet tooth. Sugar hits me differently now. It spikes my blood sugar and turns my stomach. Recently, I ordered an all-time favorite of mine- a chai tea latte. I was shocked at how sickly sweet my” favorite” hot beverage now tasted. I was so sad that it no longer filled me with the warm feeling of satisfaction.
As sad as this change has been, I discovered an upside. We have the ability to change our strong food memory opinions. As trends change and seasons bring different food offerings, we can be open-minded about how we remember and think about ingredients. While I am not sure lima beans will ever be a featured side dish on my dinner table, I am committed to exploring foods that smell strong or seem unfamiliar. I am ready to bestow a new food memory to my ever evolving movie reel.