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On days when I miss my grandmother, I say fuck the calories and buy two onion rolls and a Canfield’s Diet Chocolate Fudge soda.

Onion Rolls

I slice them open, buttering the inside, and eat them in huge bites.  And for five minutes, maybe once a month, I feel like I’m with her.

What do you eat that reminds you of someone?

Thank you for the well-wishes yesterday.  I’m sad; I’m sad for my family and because I miss her.  I think I will make a brisket this weekend because it always reminds me of my aunt.


1 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 02.03.14 at 9:10 am }

I think I’m pretty lucky to come from a long line of Southern/Creole cooks, all of whom made sure to show their daughters how to make the foods that they filled their tables with on a nightly basis. So, just going home and visiting my mom means I’m getting plenty of family reminders, regardless of what’s on the table.

If I had to name just one thing, though, it would be cornbread from a cast-iron skillet. It’s a recipe with unknown origins, but going back at least as far as my great-great-grandmother Josephine. I still have to use a recipe to make it, but my mom practically has the recipe living in the muscle memory of her hands.

(And all of this just serves as a reminder of what a failure I feel like I am, that one, my generation of cooks is more concerned with speed and health, so I don’t make these recipes enough to ever develop a “in the muscles” memory of them. And two, because I’m failing to continue the maternal line, because I don’t have a daughter. I know we’re not supposed to have such gender bias, but in my family, this history is important and seems to belong only to the women. And my grandmother’s “maternal” line dies with me. They all had daughters, down, and down, and down. But –per the clear attitude of both grandmothers, I had to go and screw everything up by having two boys…)

2 Sharon { 02.03.14 at 10:03 am }

My food is a certain Irish brown bread recipe that reminds me of my paternal grandmother (who lived with us throughout my childhood, from when I was a year old until she passed away when I was 17). There are many recipes for Irish brown bread, and I have only had my granny’s recipe once since she died, on a trip to Ireland several years back.

Lately I have been scanning recipes online, hoping to find one that will taste like hers. She used to bake it for us every day and serve it for us hot and fresh as our after-school snack.

3 Pepper { 02.03.14 at 10:25 am }

We make an Italian dessert, pinulada, every year that makes me think of my grandma. When we eat cider and donuts, it reminds me of Halloween at my grandparents’ house. Any time I eat a piece of “small fruit” it reminds me of a story my grandpa used to tell – over and over and over.

I’m sorry about your aunt. I hope you find peace and comfort.

4 Karen (formerly Serenity) { 02.03.14 at 10:38 am }

I wish I had food that reminded me of my aunt. I don’t; I just have the ocean. Cape Cod will always be hers.

Thinking of you and sending peace and love. xoxo

5 It Is What It Is { 02.03.14 at 12:20 pm }

My grandmother was a great cook and two of the foods she made that I most identify with her are hand made tortillas (which I was smart enough to have her teach me how to make before she passed away) and green chili meat (I use ground turkey now, but she used a full fat ground beef, it is a simple dish made with ground meat/flour/garlic/roasted Anaheim chilies/chicken broth). I think of her every single time.


6 loribeth { 02.03.14 at 1:11 pm }

I didn’t know there was such a thing as chocolate soda!

The first thing that popped into my head was that the smell of coffee percolating always reminds me of my Grandma’s house. She always had a pot percolating on the gas stove in the kitchen of her little house, & there were always people dropping by to visit. She LOVED pie, apple in particular, & she was a good piemaker herself. One year, for her birthday, my mom & I made & gave her four apple pies with candles stuck in them, instead of a birthday cake. So I always think of her whenever I eat apple pie, too.

Her sister, my great-aunt, always had ice cream in the freezer whenever we dropped by to visit. Chocolate chip or butter brickle always make me think of her.

Dh’s older relatives don’t eat out much… but his one uncle would eat at Swiss Chalet (a chain here that sells rotisserie chicken). After his funeral, dh & I went there for dinner & toasted him with Coke. 🙂

7 kateanon { 02.03.14 at 9:42 pm }

Where I grew up, in Western NY, food is a huge part of everything. When I miss my uncle, I eat fastnachts (if it’s Lent and I can get them, since I don’t have a good recipe). I have jars of condiments and sauces I can only get there that I eat when I’m homesick. When I miss my grandma, I have a fish fry. So many things I make remind me of people too. When I made my spinach dip for the Superbowl, I remembered my aunt liked it heavy on the spinach and with extra red peppers and if I made it for a party at her house, I always made it that way. I was tearing up as I cooked, and it wasn’t the onions. I think of her too, when I make my chocolate PB banana pie, since she always told everyone I made the best cream pie she had ever had. Miss her.

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 02.03.14 at 11:18 pm }

My Grandma was famous for her pot roast. We called it a Granny Roast. I make it sometimes and feel close to her.

Moxie makes me think of my MIL (though it is my FIL’s drink). I don’t actually drink it, but my son likes it, and he can get it only when we are in New England.


9 Brid { 02.04.14 at 12:25 am }

Oh, Mel… I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Hope the kids are doing ok.
Memory food! Jaffas… and these crazy awesome sausages (with Wattie’s tomato sauce) remind me of when we were little and would all go to NZ together to see my aunts and uncles. My mum’s from there and they took us every few years or so… reminds me of family together and childhood. I haven’t been for 20 years… maybe it’s time to get Jack there!
Feel better, sweets…

10 deathstar { 02.04.14 at 11:41 am }

I went to the launch of some stamps marking Black History Month and they had food catered by a Jamaican place. They had a red drink called sorrel. I had a taste and suddenly I was back in my grandmother’s kitchen watching her pick the dry leaves off the bush that she would boil up to make sorrel. It’s a tangy, sweet drink and you add ginger beer to it. She would make it for us without the ginger beer in it. Nice memory.

11 JustHeather { 02.04.14 at 2:00 pm }

I don’t equate food too much with my grandmas and some with my mom (pesto torte) but I do think of sewing and crafts with my grandmothers and sewing and knitting with my mom. I am so thankful to have handmade items from them all that I treasure. (From my mom I have at least 20 hats and a huge handful of scarves.)

12 Kimberly { 02.04.14 at 4:05 pm }

I’m so very sorry about your loss Mel. I send light and love as you process this loss.

Whenever I miss my grandmother I crave butterscotch pie because she made the best pie. But when I eat it, it makes me more sad because she took the recipe with her. Mostly because she never bothered to write it out, it was all in her head. My aunt has spent years trying to recreate it and only in the past year has she gotten so close to matching it.

The other food is gravy. Near the end of Nan’s life, mom started helping her with her turkey suppers and she passed on her gravy recipe. So I always feel like she is still here for the big holidays.

13 Peg { 02.06.14 at 12:39 pm }

Mel, I am so sorry for your loss. My grandfather died last April at the age of 95 and I still miss him and think about him often. He was my last grandparent and it’s like a huge part of our family is now missing. I’m starting to look at my parents differently, like they are the top generation now. They seem older, more vulnerable in a way. My grandfather was a musician and band leader, so I listen to his music to make me feel closer. I’m glad you have your aunt’s food. Hang in there!

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