August 18, 2010

Food Thoughts: Food from Home

The ending of a story on melons in the June/July Saveur left me thinking about the how we treasure foods that we associate with a place or experience, especially that of home.

A young man told the writer that he had bought one of his kharbouza melons, a 10-12 melon native to Afghanistan that is rare in the U.S., and told him about giving it to his grandfather:
"I took it home to Fremont for my grandfather. Every summer he gets together with a bunch of other old Afghani men and they recite the Koran, the whole thing. It takes three days. It was the third day, and they had just reached the last words when I walked in and said, 'Grandfather, I've brought you a kharbouza melon.' All the old men jumped up and shouted, 'It's a miracle! God has heard us!' And then they cut the melon and shared it among themselves, and they sat on the floor reminiscing about home."

What food reminds you of home?


  1. Of course, I will comment, and I have two foods to share, both of which involve processed cheese, which I no longer enjoy but have fond memories of eating Velveeta-laden dishes as a child. The first is chicken spaghetti, which everyone knew was made best from my mother's kitchen. My friends told their mothers that they did not make it right after eating it at the Mull house. My mom always put in two rolls of cheese to make it extra creamy. The second is macaroni and cheese, which we always ate in the summer at my grandmother's house. Meredith and I would race to fill our bowls faster than the other, and after stuffing ourselves raced again to claim the couch. And, okay, one more: my dad was always the expert at two meals: scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. The latter was always made with Velveeta on a grill pan, grilled until the cheese oozed out the sides and the outsides were crisp, cut diagonally or in rectangles according to the eater's preference.

  2. Macaroni and cheese, and hotdogs. It's not minnesota if you don't see mac and cheese and hot dogs together as a meal..

  3. What a great entry! I love things that prompt me to reminisce a bit.

    My grandfather is the cook in our family. He has this breaded chicken that has officially been dubbed "Papoo Chicken." Most of us love it, but not my cousin Nick.

    A great family story involves my Aunt mailing Nick some "Papoo Chicken" after he jokingly complained about missing out on a serving. (Note:the packaging was NOT refrigerated or cooled.) Needless to say Nick continues to loathe the dish, but it still reminds us all of Papoo's kitchen.

    My favorite Papoo dish that I make frequently in the fall and winter is his cornbread. It always takes me back to my grandparents cozy house and family gatherings, and seems to go perfectly with heartier meals on crisp autumn or cold winter days.

  4. Although I don't eat meat both of my food memories include it! Cornish Pasties from the village bakery at my Grandparents in England. As a rule, on our first morning there, my brother and I would get up early and walk down to the village so we could get a piping hot pasty straight from the oven (yum!).
    My second memory is my Dad's chicken wings. Very simply prepared with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and then baked. My Dad and I would roll up our sleeves and sit at the table for hours until every last bit of meat had been picked clean (my Mum thought they were disgusting - all the more for us!)

  5. Thanks for sharing your food memories, friends!

    Like Lindsey, a few of my greatest memories of food I no longer appreciate-- like requesting chicken sour cream (boiled chicken+cream of something soup+sour cream) for special occasions. Others I still love, like the tapioca pudding I helped my grandmother make and whose simple, creamy taste I savored. I think both are a combination of memories of people, place, and taste.


Pretty please share your thoughts!