What Are Your Favourite Food Memories?
I’ve been reminiscing recently about food and special memories of wonderful occasions with family and friends. My grandpa died last week and as sad as it was (he was 94 years old after all) it got me thinking a lot about the treasured memories that I have of him. What I realised is that so many of the memories that spring to my mind relate to food. So please excuse this self reflective post and join me on a short reverie.
Now I can’t say that the memories are all good. There was the time when we were camping and Dooley (that’s what we called my grandpa) caught an eel in the river. After frightening the life out of my sister and I by throwing it at us and generally being a teasing grandfather, he then proceeded to kill the poor creature and cook it over the fire. We were only about 10 or 12 and the thought of eating a slithery eel was completely revolting to us both. It’s funny to think now that I absolutely adore BBQ eel sashimi.
Better memories are of visits when we were kids, my grandparents lived in Queensland so we’d travel to the Sunshine State during school holidays and stay with them. Just up the road from their house was a donut shop where the donuts were freshly cooked throughout the day. Whenever we walked past the shop the sweet smell of dough cooking and sugary toppings would waft in the breeze. Every now and again we were allowed to buy one and I don’t think I’ve tasted donuts that good since (Krispy Kreme have got nothing on a freshly made sugar cinnamon donut, still warm from cooking and airy soft inside!) Then there were take aways of fish and chips, sitting on the beach or by the river and enjoying warm evenings with grilled fish, crispy chips and crunchy potato cakes.
And nothing beats Christmas. Christmas meals with my grandparents were always seafood related. Many families in Australia still cook up the turkey and do the traditional English Christmas, but we have a cold Christmas lunch. We’d have prawns, lobster and other sea delicacies and Dooley’s specialty was eating the lobster legs that no one else wanted. He’d crack open every one and get each last morsel of flesh from it. He hated to waste good food.
If I think to any recent family occasion; a family reunion, an anniversary or birthday party, so much of the occasion centres around food. Whether it’s some kind of meat on a spit to feed hungry hordes, or a BBQ that cooks all day as people come and go, or a special cake to celebrate a birthday, food is such an important part of the celebrations we have with our families.
And let’s not forget holidays. Pretty much every time I’m travelling somewhere I have a list of the food related destinations I want to visit when I arrive. This week I’m in London, one of my favourite food cities in the world and I have a steady stream of eating engagements lined up. From pubs to markets and fine French cuisine, I’ll fit in as much as possible on my six day visit, probably exceeding three meals a day!
I don’t know if it’s just me and my slightly unhealthy obsession with food but so many good memories of my life feature big tables of people enjoying great food, company and wine. And to that I’ll raise a toast to Dooley, a cheeky grandpa whose blue eyes twinkled mischievously until the very end.
Do you have any food memories that remind you of great times? Tell us about them!
*Sashimi Nigiri picture via avlxyz on Flickr