Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Food, Glorious Food

Smell and taste can be powerful aides to memory. I was struck the other day by how much certain foods vividly reminded me of younger, head-hairier days. More specifically, foods that remind me of visits to grandparents...

Oxtail Soup
I was obsessed with oxtail soup as a youth and I often remember having it round at Nana and Grandad's (Pa's folks). I was also fond of beef soup and could see very little difference between the two (oxtail being slightly lumpier was pretty much the only one I could see). The Bro, however, was a rather particular eater at the time and, while partial to beef soup, would not entertain the idea of oxtail.

Pearl Barley
Nannie (Dad's gran) had a set routine when it came to cooking. Certain days of the week were certain dishes and that did not vary. I can't remember for definite which day was stew (it may have been Monday) but the one thing I do remember about her stew was that it had pearl barley in it which I loved. It wasn't the flavour obviously as it has none but the texture and feel of as part of the stew.

Tinned Ravioli
Now, you may be beginning to think that these are not particularly exciting foods. Where is the caviar and pate de foie gras? Well, we weren't a wealthy family so our pleasures were simple. This one is from trips to stay with Nana (Nurse Gladys). I don't what it was about tinned ravioli that was so appealing - I can't imagine wanting to eat it now - but whenever we stopped over there, it was generally on the dinner or lunch menu at least once.

Rice Krispie/Cornflake Cakes
I had a Mr Man cookbook as a small child and it was a prize possession. It lived with Nana (Nurse Gladys) a lot of the time as that was were the baking took place (knitting was the other Nana's particular forte and my Bro and I wore many a jumper with arms of varying lengths). The cakes were OK, I kind of liked those and the biscuits were pretty good too but the Rice Krispie or Cornflake cakes... yeah, they were the winners. I could quite happily have eaten the whole batch of those. Apparently, though, we were at home to some sort of concept called "sharing" so there was none of that. More's the pity.

Nothing too out of the ordinary or spectacular but all foodstuffs which evoke quite strong memories of all the grandparents. In fact, I quite fancy some oxtail soup now - haven't had any for years...