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December 21, 2011

What’s Your Earliest Food Memory?

earliest food memoryDo you have an early childhood memory where food played a major role?  Care to share?

My childhood was punctuated by moves around the world so while I don’t know what age I was when this memory occurred, I do know that it happened when we were living in Hong Kong so that means I was somewhere between 0 – 6 years old.

Due to its location, Hong Kong is susceptible to typhoons and so our apartment building, like most others, had a typhoon closet.  Not unlike the concept of going into the basement during a tornado, the typhoon closet was built in the center of the apartment – which was considered the strongest part of the building – had no windows and locked tight.  The idea was that during a typhoon you’d retreat to the typhoon closet to safely ride out the store.

My mother, however, decided to utilize that space to its fullest advantage.  Having lived in New York prior to moving to Hong Kong,  my mom had developed a taste for the bagels that New York is so famous for.  During the 70’s, there were no bagel shops to be found in Hong Kong so my mom spent hours figuring out how to make  bagels from scratch (no easy task in the days before the internet and when a cookbook ordered from the US could take weeks to reach Hong Kong).   She soon discovered that the best place in the apartment to let bagels rise was the warm, dark, and humid typhoon closet.   Over the years that typhoon closet was a key factor in the hundreds of delicious bagels my mother turned out much to the glee of other American expats who lived in our building.

The kicker though is that I don’t actually remember eating the bagels.  I do however have a very distinct memory of having to evacuate to the typhoon closet one time because of an incoming storm.  In my memory though I’m wasn’t scared by the power of the storm or the unlighted tight space.  Instead to me a typhoon smelled a lot like warm yeasty bagels rising.

What about you?  Do you have an early food memory you don’t mind sharing?

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One comment on “What’s Your Earliest Food Memory?

  • rhiannon@lilli-pilli.com on said:

    I remember hanging out in my Opa’s veggie patch and picking passion fruits. Oh, and eating a freshly picked, full with seeds passionfruit – so delicious! I remember icing gingerbread with my Nana, and hating the lemon icing, watching Opa pound out meat for rouladen at the big table, gently spreading mustard on it, some onion and small pieces of speck and a piece of gherkin in the middle and rolling it up. I remember the smell of it cooking! I remember Opa making porridge on the stove top every morning, with a piping hot mug of milo next to my bowl.

    I really think those memories helped me become so obsessed with food today.