This post is about food-induced memories. Those scenes from the past that appear in response to a smell or taste. Remember when your mom made cornbread muffins? Or a peach pie? The scent of it drifting unseen but powerfully through the house. Do you suddenly remember the color of the the kitchen curtains or the tree just outside the window? Or the anticipation of getting your own serving?
Scents, smells, and aromas have been proven to evoke long term memory recall. It’s called “olfactory memory”.
For me, it’s the pungent aroma of onion, mustard and garlic whenever I make potato salad like Mama used to make.
My mom was well-known for her tasty, mushy concoction of soft potatoes and crunchy veggies. “Nanny’s” potato salad was always requested for a family get-together, when we served up barbecued chicken, hamburgers, or just spaghetti!
She liked to garnish it with a radish cut up like a rose. It was an attractive finishing touch.
But, if she didn’t have a radish, she thought that a peppermint candy would be a similar substitute. After a while, that candy melted its red sugar into the tangy potato salad, and the effect was….well, different! So whenever I make her potato salad, I think of a mushy redpeppermint sitting in the middle… and no one saying a word about it. And how proud she was of her signature recipe.
What foods spur those memories for you? In the comment section, share your memorable food. I’d love to hear about what you remember, or even the recipe you recall.
As a gift, I thought I’d share my mom’s recipe. It’s your call, whether you want to garnish with a radish or a peppermint… Let me know how it turns out.
NANNY’S POTATO SALAD
Boil 3 to 5 lbs. potatoes, cool, then remove skins. Cut up in 1″ or smaller cubes. Add 1/3 c. small-sliced green onions, 1/2 c. finely-chopped
celery, a large jar of pimientos, 2 Tbsp. chopped garlic, 1/2 c. mayo, 1/4 c. mustard. You can add chopped green olives and
chopped dill pickles for a tangy taste. Or 1/2 c. sweet relish, for a milder version. Mix together and chill for a couple of hours to let the flavors
merge. Really good with grilled chicken, ham, or spaghetti.