Food and the Nostalgia Factor

In Yesterday’s New York Times, writer Jeff Gordinier took a bite of tournedos Rossini and took a trip down memory lane. In “A Pool of Memories” the author’s transportive dish is a French classic, consisting of some of the most decadent items in the food world: filet mignon, foie gras and black truffles, bathed in a veal stock with madeira and, of course, butter.

One bite, and the author was swept back into his childhood.

My sister makes these lovely mini pecan tartlets, which seem to show up at every family
gathering, and are sure to become a food memory trigger for the little ones.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Meantime, I had a far more pedestrian experience yesterday with much the same results. Simple, pleasurable egg noodles did the trick for me, drumming up memories of my middle school years, with Mom in the kitchen in Brandon, Minnesota, and the comforting smells of dinner wafting into the living room as Hogan’s Heroes blasted on television.

I sense that Mr. Gordinier’s childhood was slightly different than mine.

I recently made coq au vin. While Mr. Gordinier probably had it as a child, I
had to wait 39 years to taste it. It was worth the wait.
Photo, and coq au vin, by Charish Badzinski.

Nevertheless, food offers a powerful memory trigger for all of us. Growing up in the 70s and 80s in a household rich in love and light in pocketbook, the foods that harken me back to my formative years are simple, whole and satisfying: home baked buns with cardamom, egg noodles and gravy, lasagna and my personal favorite of the past: tator tot hotdish. Stealing a crispy, salty tot from the top of the mound before it was served to the family became my favorite criminal pastime. Besides snitching chocolate chips from the bag in cupboard.

What foods trigger the strongest childhood memories in you? 

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Charish Badzinski is an explorer, foodie and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations. 

Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb
Creative Commons License
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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