Meme: Childhood Food Memories

Another meme going around! For this one, I have been tagged by Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz. This involved digging up five childhood foodie memories (yes, exactly like the title implies, very astute of you). So here goes...

1. Toffee Condensada - What's that you say? It's actually a name we gave to what most people know as dulce de leche. I am the eldest grandchild on both my parents' sides, and subsequently the only one who really got to know my maternal great grandmother. I called her Abo, which is short for abuela (grandmother in Spanish). Abo was a grand dame of a lady. Her word was law and she enforced strict rules on little me. I loved her dearly, and to this day she remains one of my great women role models and has taken on the status of "legend" in my head and heart. When I was was little girl I would play with her everyday. It was strictly me-and-her time. I would climb up on this big chair and she would take out a box of toys for me to play with. She would hand me one spoon (no more, no less) of this heavenly concoction for me to lick and slurp at while I was with her. The spoon would rest in a bowl so no sticky stuff would get on her things.

We called it Toffee Condensada because she would boil whole (unopened) cans of condensed milk in a vat of water for hours. Then when you take the cans out and open them...what was once condensed milk has miraculously turned into a sweet bronze-y sensation! I think this must have been my first lesson in really savoring food and not rushing the eating experience because Toffee Condensada had no seconds. Ever. It was just that one spoon and that was it. I must have learned that lesson well because to this day it pains me (physically and mentally) to rush a meal.

2. Mr. Goodbar - Yup, the Hershey's chocolate bar with peanuts. This too was from my Abo. This was Toffee Condensada's alternate. She would give me one (no more, no less) Mr. Goodbar, broken up in pieces and placed in a brown plastic bowl, for me to eat for the duration of my play-time with her. Again, another lesson in restraint. And even if my favorite chocolates today are all bittersweet or truffle-like, one taste of this and something just clicks into place in my tummy and in my heart.

3. Instant decaf coffee with lots of milk and sugar - My paternal grandmother, my Abuelita (again, spanish for grandmother), would always sneak me things I wasn't allowed to have. Coffee obviously being one of them. Without my mother's knowledge (heehee), I was slugging cuppa after cuppa, albeit decaf and loaded with milk and sugar. I still remember its creamy, sugary, mocha warm and comforting. I must have been 1st grade. My Abuelita was the queen of forbidden goodies! Whereas my Abo tempered the food pleasure she allowed me, my Abuelita was constantly plying me with food (she still is!)...the more fattening the better! Looking back, I think I am better for having both :-)

4. Little Nutella packets - I have actually mentioned this before. When my mother used to go to her favorite specialty food store store she would always bring me one back as a little treat. It came in those small foil-sealed packs, similar to the ones butter comes in when they serve it in the airplanes. It even had its own little plastic spoon with which to eat it. This was long before I discovered that Nutella actually came from a jar (can you imagine what a pleasant surprise that was?). All I knew of Nutella was that one little packet...pure chocolate hazelnut goodness to be savored solo and slowly.

5. Munggo - This is a Filipino dish of mung beans made into a soup, usually with some vegetable like malunggay (moringa) and perhaps a little shrimp or pork for flavor. It's very, very typical and served in households from every walk of life here. A lot of kids my age didn't really think it was anything special, and were usually made to eat it by their parents for it's health benefits. Not me. I loved it! I could eat tons. Really. My mom was ecstatic! This is definitely one childhood favorite that has carried on into adulthood because I still love it, and by the looks of it, I always will.

Ok, I don't think anyone will mind too much if I add just one more?

6. Pineapple Upside-down Cake - If you have read my previous post on this cake then you know that it has been a big part of my early culinary life. It was one of the first cakes I officially learned to bake (taught by my aunt, using a battered Betty Crocker cookbook). I have no idea if it just started as my family being super supportive of my early baking attempts, but they claimed to love it and could not get enough of it. And they still can't. So even when I really feel like making a something elegant and sophisticated, they still drag this one out of the ashes and back into the limelight. I even went through a horribly belligerent phase when I flatly refused to make it. They say that you can never escape your past. If my pineapple upside-down cake is any measure, then that's the solid gold truth!

So that's it! Thanks Paz for tagging me for a walk down memory lane :-)

Now I'm supposed to tag some other foodies for this little memory-meme. I'd like to invite Karen of The Pilgrim's Pots and Pans, who always has interesting food stories to tell! I'd also like to tag two new food bloggers I've"met": Kai from Bucaio and JeyC from A Tenderfoot's Foodventures.

Below is the meme tree. When it’s your turn, move down the list, drop number one from the top spot, move the numbers down, and place yourself in the number five spot. Don’t forget to link the blogs (except yours).

1. A Finger in Every Pie
2. The Traveler’s Lunchbox
3. Nami-Nami
4. The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz
5. 80 Breakfasts