food memories


There are certain sounds, smells and tastes that have the power to catapult us into the past.

Travelling in a car, lulled by the motion and warmth of the sun through the window, I can filter out any sound except that which approximates to someone eating a biscuit.

Crrr-unch and suddenly I’m Miss Five or Six, dozing in the back of the family Holden with the dog serving as a furry demarcation line between me and big brother.

The home-made Anzac biscuits are being quietly passed around the car in an ice-cream container and then, there’s that sound.

Head-spinning Linda Blair may have stolen the scene in The Exorcist, but I was the original Regan when it came to cookies.

Food memories punctuate our whole lives.

A waft of spice evokes cold nights by the fire with a hunk of sugary, buttery, cinnamon toast.

White pepper tickles up an image of my grandfather carefully carving a tomato onto toast for his breakfast – a ritual made all the more fascinating by several absent fingers blown off in World War I.

A squeeze of lime delivers a freshly shucked oyster topped with tomato and coriander and a romantic weekend in Tasmania.

Then there are those culinary recollections best disgorged at the feet of a psychotherapist – think cold, grey beans and strawberry-flavoured school milk left too long in the sun.

But, chiefly that awful ’70s concoction known as Sunshine Salad which featured cucumber or green capsicum, grated carrot and tinned pineapple suspended in lemon jelly.

They say we are what we eat, but pretty please, not that!


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