Childhood Food Memory Meme

I was tapped to do this meme back in July, by Shuna, and I began to write it up.

Then I stopped, and began writing much about my culinary travels. So the file got moved somewhere on my desktop, obliterated amongst the mess of files and folders here at chez Dave. As someone else mentioned when she got tagged for the meme, it’s kinda like getting a homework assignment.
And who wants homework when you live in Paris?

Then last month Clotilde, who effortlessly manages to both live in Paris and respond to food memes, and she tagged me again, so I felt guilty and decided I’d better sit down and do this.

The meme asks Food Bloggers what 5 Favorite Childhood Food Memories they remember most. Here are mine. I suppose I should be taking only about things like usual suspects like ‘comfort food’, but frankly, these are the things I remember (and miss) the most…so, ok…there’s one ‘comfort food’ entry tossed in…

Chocolate (or Rainbow) Sprinkles

I love sprinkles, or as we called them, “ants”, since they resembled everyone’s favroite picnic critters swarming all over your ice cream. I remember going to Friendly’s Ice Cream in Connecticut and ordering Chocolate-Marshmallow Swirl Ice Cream and once it was scooped, the server dipped the whole she-bang in the container of sprinkles, covering everything. A few years later, soft-serve ice cream made its was to New England and I discovered Rainbow Sprinkles, which are almost as good as their darker cousins, when smushed into pillow-y soft-serve ice cream once it emerged from the swirling machine at Foster Freeze.
(I wonder what they would say if I asked for sprinkles at Berthillon?)

Chicken and Rice with Apricots

My mother was a great cook.
And I never appreciated it fully until I got to college and other guys told me what lousy cooks their mother’s had been. My mother was an artist who specialized in weaving and spinning. And she was kind of a character and very well put-together . She had a remarkably strong resemblance to Mary Tyler Moore (before Mare’s Joker-From-Batman-like face lifts) and Jacqueline Susann…both were very well put-together, and mom and Jack’s shared a penchant for stiff, high hair, opulent jewellery, and swirly Emilio Pucci outfits.

I remember her stepping into her shiny Mercedes, with her Louis Vuitton handbag and a bag lunch (her Yankee thrift prohibited her from stopping at Howard Johnson’s for lunch), and driving up to Vermont where puffy bags of fresh wool from the hippies and beatniks who sheared it off their sheep for her. Somehow she managed to fit right in.
Another time I came home from school with friends and my mother was sitting in the front yard, wearing her bra, shorts and Frye boots, and spinning wool on one of her spinning wheels.

Anyhow, my mother made the best Chicken and Rice with Apricots. Her father was Arabic (her mom was Danish) and this dish has roots, I think, in his culinary tradition.
You take a whole chicken and simmer it in water with a sliced carrot or two, and a stalk of celery, until it’s falling-off-the-bone soft. Then you make a pot of long-grain rice and use the chicken stock to cook it, replacing the water. In a small saucepan, she poached some tangy California dried apricots in some water with a bit of sugar to serve atop the chicken and rice.
YUM! This is the best dish ever, and really simple too. I make it any time during the winter months when I’m not feeling very healthy: it instant restores me.

Jiffy Pop

This was my first lesson in disappointment (unfortunately, there were many others to follow…), since the television ads showed the popcorn rosing up in a big, bulbous aluminum balloon in about 5 seconds much to the happy delight of the kids clustered around the stove.The bag just rose and rose until it was practically bursting open by itself. Then the steaming bag was ripped open with a fork and everyone squeeled with joy and hapiness.
Well, we bought Jiffy Pop, and it took about 5 or 10 minutes to rise and pop, and was very underwhelming and boring. And the popcorn sucked too…not as much fun to make, as it was to eat.
(Hey, who said this meme supposed to only be about good-tasting food memories?)

Dried Pasta Elbows

I used to eat dried pasta by the box. I don’t know why. I would grab a box of Mueller’s dried elbows and crunch on them all day long. It was very satisfying, even though my father would warn me that all that pasta was going to expand in my stomach.

Red Licorice

I hate black licorice.
It’s gross. There’s nothing worse than having the taste of black licorice stuck in your mouth. It’s like licking gooey tar off of hot pavement. It’s disgusting…and yes, I know that there’s all this supposed great gourmet licorice out there that’s just divine and I just haven’t tried it yet. Well, some people eat dogs and monkey brains and you might think that’s disgusting…so stop trying to convince me to try black licorice. I don’t like it.

But what I loved was red licorice. It’s gummy, like those vibrant, jelled Orange Slices covered with lots of crunchy granulated sugar (…which I loved almost as much, which would be #6) and chewy all at the same time, with a red cherry-like sweetness. I now enjoy Panda bars from Finland, where they’re naturally-flavored and apparently good for you, since they sell them in health food stores in the US. So I don’t feel too bad eating one once in a while even though now I’m a more sensible adult.

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9 comments

  • Great answers. Well, the pasta one was a little strange. But that apricot chicken sounds really wonderful. And I can still remember going to the movies as a kid, getting my very own box of Red Vines, and making them last all the way to the end of the film. I haven’t been to a movie theater in an embarrassing number of years. They’re probably $25 a box by now.

  • Who you calling strange? : )

    I don’t know where that raw-pasta thing came from, but kids are weird, and I was no exception (except most grow out of the weirdness and I’m still workin’ on it…)

    I used to get Jujyfruits at the movies and hold each one up to the screen to make sure I didn’t accidentially bite into a black one. Ick! (The orange ones rocked, but the green ones taste like cough medicine.) Then they came out with “Black Crows” for all those moviegoers that actually like black licorice & I think they stopped putting them in Jujyfruits, so that us ‘normal’ people could enjoy the movie without stressing out.

  • LOL, you always crack me up. I was never a jujyfruit fan–I thought they all tasted like perfume or soap. I had no idea I was avoiding so much stress. And okay, I admit that after I posted that comment above I remembered that when my mom made spaghetti, she’d let us have a few uncooked pieces to munch on. But only a few. Not the whole box!
    P.S. Oh, please. I read your blog–you’ve done a few things more fun than making pita bread! (which I’m supposed to be doing right now) : )

  • I was never a fan of any of the licorices – black, red or green. And I used to get tricked over and over by the black licorice covered in blue beads in the licorice all-sorts box that came every Christmas. It was so beautiful. With such a lovely colour. It MUST taste good! Disappointment again.

    The only gummy type candy I have ever liked is sour fruit gums. And wine gums – as long as they’re small.

    Terrific blog – just discovered it (thanks to Farmgirl)

    -Elizabeth

  • I love black licorice only weirdos and freaks like the red kind. You’re not welcome round these parts any more.

  • Je deteste la reglisse noir!

  • Wow
    dried elbow pasta, I remember grabbing a handfull out of the big white cardbord box of it we always had and eating it like chips.
    THought i was the only one.
    Oh, And black licorice is divine perfection
    cheers
    d

  • Thought I would share some of my childhood foods… hot dog men, cut half way down to make legs and little cuts on the sides to make arms then microwave (yeah my parents couldnt cook either)I bet you could boil it . But all your cuts curl and it makes a man! Decorate with relish,mustard,mayo,etc. Hate black licorice any kind they all taste like ear wax or somthing! Now red licorice… we would bite a bit off both ends and drink soda threw them! Oh the sugar rush. Popcorn balls, covered with caramel and shaped. Homemade rice-crispy treats, no store bought ty.

  • Thought of another one today, I called them cow patties (I’m a Texan) they were chocolate peanut butter and oatmeal “cookies” a blob like chocolate with creamy butter and a hint of peanut butter, we now pour them in a large dish and cut like brownies.