Thursday, May 10, 2012
Childhood Food Memories: the good, the bad, the ugly, the dessert!
Last week I asked my family about their favorite foods from childhood. Funny how taste brings us back to nights spent together around an enormous dining room table. There were good meals of salmon croquettes and burger pinwheels, and weekend menus that never changed (Friday night pizza or tacos, Saturday night burgers followed by giant bowls of popcorn that my oldest sister dictated we eat one at a time while she polished off handfuls of buttery kernels, and Sunday night when God and moms rest we made our own peanut butter toast and canned fruit cocktail).
I also remember horrific meals when a sister or I couldn't finish a serving of overcooked canned vegetables. We'd sit at the table alone with a plate of slimy peas long after everyone else had finished their desserts and settled in the TV room. Our dad was like a lieutenant orbiting the table to inspect our progress. A good lesson for anyone forced to eat ugly food: eat it mixed with something starchy to absorb the texture and flavor. A bite of buttered bread, pasta, or potatoes does wonders for balancing the horrors of shabby veggies. Even in childhood I understood that food, whether pig or produce, should be treated with respect and compassion. No carrot should die in vain.
In Called to the Table this week, I revisit my favorite childhood dessert, chocolate pudding cake, in honor of my mom. Mother's Day is approaching and, unlike canned vegetables, pudding cake gives me warm fuzzy memories.