When I read The Scent of Green Bananas’ post titled “Where memes come to die,” I started laughing. Then I remembered that I had been tagged for the Childhood Food Memories Meme by Accidental Hedonist back in August and then again by Chubby Hubby in September.
Despite my lateness, I really did want to do this meme. It’s an interesting idea and became even more “interesting” when I compiled my top five. Sadly, most of my food memories from childhood revolve around secrecy and foods that are bad for you. Which is odd because I grew up around lots of food—really, really good food. So what I craved as a child were the processed foods that all my other friends were eating.
I’ve done a few comparisons for an example:
FRIENDS: Sugar Smacks
ME: Cheerios (upon which I heaped spoonfuls and spoonfuls of sugar when my mom wasn’t looking)
FRIENDS: Snicker’s Bars
ME: Wha Guru Chews
Okay, so you get the picture. I’m just trying to explain (disclaim?) why my childhood food memories are so strange…
1. This memory has always stuck with me, partly because it’s so shameful and partly because it’s so hilarious: One hot summer day, my mom found me huddled up in the corner of the porch (I obviously knew I was doing something bad), with an entire stick of butter in my greasy fist. I was licking it like a lollipop. And from what I recall, I wouldn’t give it up.
2. I have very fond memories of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets with Sweet and Sour Sauce. As a kid we’d stop by McDonald’s almost every Sunday, after the family game of tennis, and my brother and I would each get a container of McNuggets. The strange part is that everyone accepted this as normal behavior and treated it like a reward for exercising.
3. Another odd memory I have is of my mom telling me to dust the household plants. For some reason I got it in my head that if I washed them, I could then eat them. I managed to eat half a leaf before my poor mom noticed and asked me WTF I was doing. What’s really funny is that we had that plant for a really long time—and until it died it always had a bite mark taken from one of the leaves.
4. I was desperately addicted to Twinkies during my middle school years. I would stop by the corner gas station EVERY DAY on my way home from school and purchase a two-pack, which I then consumed in secret. There was something about that artificial fluff stuffed into a spongy container that I found wildly comforting.
5. The last memory I’m going to share is the time I ate MSG. We had a container of it in our spice drawer (probably from my Chinese grandma) and one day curiosity got the better of me. It was the most disgusting thing that I’ve ever tasted. Hands down. MSG is supposed to enhance the flavor of whatever you’re eating, and in this case it was just enhancing the flavor of my mouth. Imagine the five people you know who have the worst breath. Now imagine them licking you all at the same time.
I’ve probably over-shared, but there it is. I’m passing this on solely based on who I think might actually participate AND who, as far as I can tell, hasn’t already participated:
The Pragmatic Chef