Being at home with my kids, much of my days revolves around food. Shopping, preparing, cooking and cleaning up meals are primary tasks each day. Lately the Huntlings have been going through ups and downs of eating: some days just nibbling, other days seemingly eating more than their body weight!
I was thinking about the food of my childhood. Growing up in Southern California, I had year-round access to fresh fruits and vegetables. My dad still has large lemon trees in his yard, and not too far from there are avocado orchards and lettuce fields. But that’s not what has stuck in my memories.
Sometimes I think about festive foods: my mom often made wonderful roasts with Yorkshire pudding for holiday meals. I always turned up my nose at yams at Thanksgiving dinner.
Other memories are the stuff of funny family stories: my dad once tried to make a cinnamon roll. It tasted quite good while hot, but by the next day it had formed what we from then on called the “cinnamon doorstop.” My dad was also famous for his “anything goes” omelettes, frugally using up leftovers in sometimes dubious combinations.
For many years we had dinner every Friday with my German grandma. She made wonderful, simple foods like chicken soup with cauliflower, celery and carrots, and stuffed cabbage rolls (no tomato sauce, thank you.) She was also a fan of the after-dinner “little bit schnapps,” which she often shared with my dad.
Then in my teenage years, when I could fend for myself in the kitchen, came a precipitous drop in nutritional value. I was a regular consumer of Hot Pockets and lunchmeat sandwiches. I fondly remember orange Creamsicles and Otter Pops in summer. As an evening snack I would share a pot of Earl Grey tea and some buttered toast with my mom as we watched TV.
In college, on a limited budget, I for a short time survived on 5 for a dollar instant ramen noodle packets, and toast with butter, supplemented with $1 bean burritos (no red sauce!) from Taco Bell.
What are your childhood food memories?