“Eat. Write. Travel. Cook.”
Sounds awesome to me–add in “read” and it’s practically perfect.
Those are the four words Top Chef judge Gail Simmons wrote down when asked what she wanted to do with her life once she graduated college.
Talking with my Mouth Full details her quest to create a successful career out of those four words.
As I read her food stories from childhood up to her hosting Top Chef: Just Desserts, I couldn’t help but get caught up in my own food nostalgia.
One of the earliest and most vivid food memories I have is of a glass bakery case filled with sprinkle cookies and pastel frosted cupcakes–all of which were right at my eye level. I was maybe three or four.
I wonder how many hand prints and nose smudges had to be cleaned from that glass front everyday?
All I remember is the excitement.
Because there can be a lot of emotion tucked away inside of our food memories.
Like the laughter at family birthday parties, especially as my sister and I dipped forkfuls of cake into our tea cups. The comforting ritual of a bowl of cereal as I watched Saturday morning cartoons. Or the fun and freedom of walking to the tiny convenience store on the military housing base I lived on in Michigan to buy sweet chewy rice candy (I loved how the rice wrapper just melted in my mouth).
There’s the surprise I felt when I realized how much I liked the cherry beer I drank in Brugge five years ago. Along with the wonder of the many chocolate shops that lined the cobbled streets, all filled with pretty little candies lined up in perfect rows–inside glass cases of course (I think glass cases trigger a Pavlovian-like longing in me now–it happens now even at Starbucks).
I won’t forget how curious I felt eating crawdads on a picnic table outside our neighbor’s house when we lived in New Orleans, partly because it was so different and partly because I couldn’t quite figure out if I liked eating those little critters or not.
And of course there’s the food we remember simply because we are with those we love.
“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”
~ M.F.K. Fisher (The Art of Eating)
What is your favorite food memory?