The research is there: your palate is developed early. Maybe even as early as a fetus in the womb.
This week's Friday Roundtable focuses on food and nostalgia - particularly childhood food memories, and how they have shaped three famous foodies.
Acclaimed chef Russell Klein draws on his Austro-Hungarian heritage and Jewish upbringing as inspiration for his beloved Twin Cities restaurants, Meritage and Brasserie Zentral. Mo Rocca hosts two TV shows about this very subject on the Cooking Channel and Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl offers a reflection on Minnesota culinary heritage.
Rocca described his grandmother's ravioli and the memories associated with it:
For his show, "My Grandmother's Ravioli" on the Cooking Channel, Rocca visited Mille Lacs where he tried hot dish and jello salad:
Some of your favorite food memories:
@DailyCircuit Captain Crunch with 1/2& 1/2 at Grandma's in Willmar, Minnesota!— Carrie Watts (@wattscarrie) June 27, 2014
@kerrimpr child favs:Tuna casserole with potato chips on top. Mom made spaghetti= chef boy r dee plus can of mushrooms.— pepper wolf (@Pepper_wolf) June 27, 2014
On comfort grilled cheese: My taste memory of grilled cheese is with government (American) cheese. This is very different from the American cheese currently on the market. Much time has gone into finding an equivalent and the closest I have found are certain Gouda and Edam styles for flavor, but you cannot match the melty goodness that the processing imparts. I'm not alone in my search, but fear that there is no true substitution - it was of a time and the batches varied.
Have a fun party idea... We had a "sh%$ mom made" party. People brought their favorite dish to share. To everyone's surprise we had to create a new catagory 'scary looking but tasted better than expected'
I recall my Grandmother's soul food feasts that were not only delicious, but brought the entire family together. She burst into tears when my 5 year old daughter (her great-granddaughter) said she loved her turnip greens! Now, at 88 years old, that's the only thing she cooks, and only when we visit. The food might be terrible for your blood pressure, but the Black American food tradition is deep and varied, and worth a mention.
Chef Boyardee ravioli always reminds me of my childhood. My single mother was working during the day and taking college classes at night. We didn't have much money and my, mother didn't have much time either, and would make my sister and I split a can of Chef Boyardee. The smell makes my sick to my stomach to this day.Betsi:
My grandma and now my mom make roast pork, potato dumplings, and sauerkraut. The dumplings are like baseballs, firm and very much like thickened wallpaper paste. But so delicious. It was more the smell that got me. Still today, when I smell roast pork, seasoned only with salt n pepper, mind you, it takes me right back to grandma's farmhouse kitchen.
My other grandma was stingy. She kept a jumbo size Hershey's kiss in the freezer to nibble on for two years. Six of us would share one can of Campbell's soup.
What dish evokes strong memories of your childhood? Leave your story below.
Learn more about food and nostalgia:
At 21 weeks after conception, a developing baby weighs about as much as a can of Coke -- and he or she can taste it, too. Still in the womb, the growing baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid daily. That fluid surrounding the baby is actually flavored by the foods and beverages the mother has eaten in the last few hours. (NPR)
Baked foods such as cakes and baking bread made up the largest category of nostalgic smells. Other cooking smells such as bacon, meatballs and spaghetti were the second largest category of reported smells. (BBC)
Last December, Aunt Ruthie turned 100. To celebrate, we made aebleskivers, her childhood favorite and a tradition brought over from Denmark.
Aebleskivers translates as apple slices, with which they are sometimes served. They also can be topped with powdered sugar, jelly, jam or syrup, or filled with sweet or savory ingredients such as yogurt or cheese. The ingredients are simple pantry staples, but the art is in the preparation. (American Food Roots)