Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chicken legs at the farm house

Close your eyes.  What is the first food memory you can recall?

I heard this today on the radio, and although I didn't close my eyes because I was driving, I could see a vivid memory in my mind.  How special it is that the first bite of food, chorus of a song, or the scent of something, can bring back memories from your childhood as clearly as the day it happened.

For me, thinking about my earliest food memory, I'm taken back to a farm house that we lived in when I was barely 2 years old.  To my knowledge, there are no photos of this time; and in talking with my mom, she is amazed that I can remember at that young of an age.  It wasn't the house I grew up in, as we only lived there a short while.

As if watching an old movie, I can see the old house from my view of sitting in the highchair.  Mom is in the kitchen cooking and I'm by the table, chewing on a chicken leg.  Immediately my mouth waters, remembering that savory flavor.  From stories, I recall being told that I loved chicken legs so much I'd gnaw on it until it was smooth and bare.  And, much like a dog with a bone, I'd refuse to let go!

It must've been summer, as the windows in the screened-in porch were open and I could hear the sounds of the tractors on the farm.  I remember playing on that porch and watching the giant machines sprawl across the fields.  It's random, but recalling those memories brings about the smell of cocoa butter too.  My face had recently been burned and Mom was constantly covering it with a big stick of the lotiony substance, praying that it wouldn't scar.  To this day, if I smell cocoa butter, I'm taken back to that farm house.

I also have memories of eating in the living room and having tv dinners there with Mom and Dad.  I can recall the couch and the layout of the room, but funny enough have no idea what we were watching.  I remember the silver tin pan and the little cubby holes which held the food.  The memory is probably mixed with future ones but I can still taste the buttery flavor of the tiny peas and cubes of carrots.  Thinking about those packaged foods of childhood, I'm reminded too of one of my favorites, chicken ala king.  It came in a plastic pouch that I guess you dropped into boiling water to heat.  Mom served ours poured over toast.  I don't think they even sell that anymore but I loved the creaminess and comfort of that meal.

Thinking about childhood food favorites, my mind swirls with other memories... of Mom's huge fluffy biscuits, warm from the oven...of my great grandmother's sugar cookies and the sugary crunch mixed with the chewy goodness in that first bite...of Grandma Coons' sweet and different homemade spaghetti sauce...and of a steamy bowl of Grandpa stew that we pulled off huge chunks of soft fluffy bread to dip into....

There are a special set of early food memories with each family member I hold dear to me.  Food has a way of connecting us in the moment and in creating memories for us to recall years later.  It's probably why I get so much enjoyment in cooking for and sharing meals with the ones I love.  Writing this post has certainly made me hungry, and maybe it has stirred up some yummy memories for you too!


Kathy Shea Mormino said...

Thank you for linking up with the Clever Chicks this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick

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