Joyce OreSome foods stir up old memories

Cold cereal is eaten for breakfast at our house because it is quick and easy to fix. Zip zap and it is on the table ready to go. There is no emotion connected to a bowl of Cheerios or Mini Shredded Wheat other than knowing it is fulfilling a nutritional need, and if I didn’t eat it, I’d be going through the cupboards within the hour searching for a snack.

Most of us have our own special group of emotional foods. These are foods we eat or do not eat, not because of the taste or nutritional value, but because of an experience or a memory.

Some emotional foods make us happy or sad, other make us a little homesick and some make us just plain sick.

I can’t look at a package of chocolate-covered malt balls without remembering how sick I was after a cousin and I devoured a full half gallon container one summer afternoon decades ago.

At the same time, feed me buttered toast covered with hot milk and topped with a bit of sugar and cinnamon, and I’ll feel cared for and loved because that’s what my mother gave me when I was sick. I remember the feeling associated with the dish much more than the taste. This dish didn’t work after the malt ball episode.

Homemade soup takes me back to kitchen on the farm and Mom in her apron cutting up vegetables and throwing them along with chunks of beef into a big pot on the cook stove. On a cold winter’s day, the steam from the boiling soup covered the windows like a fuzzy warm quilt.

While my favorite seafood is salmon and crab legs, neither compete with the simple dish of fresh fried fish. That dish brings back the feeling of contentment I had when spending a hot summer’s afternoon with my younger brother sitting on a cool bank with bamboo fishing poles in our hands catching those fish.

Cracker Jacks with their special prizes make me think of elephants and clowns at the circus while snow cones and cotton candy take me back to the county fair.

Most of my emotional ties with food bring back memories and happy feelings associated with childhood with the exception of chocolate-covered malt balls.

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