04 March 2008

Eating from a Memory

In the book Once Upon a Tart Frank Mentesana mentions "eating from a memory". What that means (in my words) is that there are moments in your past where a certain food item stuck out to you. Not only was it solely because of what you ate, but also the moments leading up to, the moment of occurrence, and the moments immediately after; many mini-memories are often involved in that one event to create a whole. Mentesana goes on to say that when you try to recreate that moment by eating the food that you had back then, it's never quite the same and sometimes mars the pleasant memories associated with the past event. Sometimes, you are afraid to eat it again for fear it won't live up to how good you remember it being. Yesterday, that happened to me.

Last year, I remember spending a few hours walking along the paths at the Indianapolis Museum of Art with my mom. Although I brought along a Clif Bar to tide me over, we both were pretty hungry afterwards and decided to see what they had at the museum's cafe. We noticed a basket of cookie with the word "Puck's" on the baggy and I knew I simply had to try them. The variety we bought included oatmeal-raisin, white chocolate-cherry-possibly macadamia, and peanut butter cookies. They were all stellar, but the peanut butter was pure gold. The texture was chewy, moist, and nowhere close to being overcooked and dry, it had a very deep peanut flavor, different than any I had tasted or made before, and was buttery without being greasy. It literally melted in my mouth. Sadly, it was before my blogging days so I didn't think to take a picture of it with the camera we had.

Fast-forward to the present, I was brought a peanut butter cookie from said museum's cafe by my mom. At first I was thrilled, then I looked at the cookie and knew something wasn't right. My mom did say that it wasn't the same as she remembered and deep down I knew it was true, though I still hung on to that memory of the past.

This cookie's outtards looked different and there wasn't "Puck's" on the front. I may be wrong, but I thought there was a cross-hatch pattern on top and the surface had more of a crinkled look. There were whole peanuts in the old cookie, so that hadn't changed.

One bite and I knew it wasn't the same. The peanuty depth was nonexistent, the innards were cakey and dry, and it was too thick. It lacked any buttery taste, the epitome of a well-made cookie. This was nothing but a typical run-of-the-mill cafe cookie that you eat not because it tastes good, but because you are desperate for something sweet.

(Yes, that's right, I eat my cookies with a fork if possible.)

Here you see the innards. The original cookie was about half the height that this was.

There you are, reliving my crushed memories with me. At least I have and had solace in company that has experienced the same feelings and disappointments that I have.

What is one favorite foodie memory that stands out to you above all others?


  1. Ah, food memories. I remember reading once about a woman who was overcoming anorexia and was letting herself eat what she wanted. The one thing she always craved was one of those Hostess coconut puffs, and when she finally let herself eat one, it just "didn't taste the same". It was then that she realized she could get through it. Just sort of interesting the pull that foods have.

    My food memory is my mother's layer cake--always white cake, pink frosting (buttercream).

  2. Definitely my mom's cinnamon rolls. They were tiny - like the size of half dollars - and looking back I'm pretty sure they had craptons of shortening. Hence the deliciousness!


  3. haha peanut butter cookies are the best!

    my foodie memory is making homemade garlic bread in the toaster oven with my dad...1st layer fresh french bread with butter and garlic and bake..then top with tomatoes and mozzeralla and bake again til cheese is slightly brown. sooo good

  4. Cakespy - I remember my brother always wanted a strawberry cake for his birthday, but not artificially flavored, and we (my mom and I) never quite understood if so one year it was a Jello poke layer cake, the other year it was was something with strawberries on top, then my brother picked a completely different flavor! (The pink buttercream frosting reminded me of strawberries. Ironically, none of the frostings were ever pink. Go figure.)

    Jeena - I signed up so I could look at the forum. Thanks for letting me know.

    The Blognut - I'm picturing the mini cinnamon rolls that Burger King sells. I'm sure those were full of craptons (my new favorite measurement ^.^) of shortening, but it did taste quite good! I don't eat fast food anymore, but those I'd splurge on. Maybe. I might get a stomachache like the last time I ate them. Hm.

    Emma - That sounds incredibly delicious! It reminds me a bit of an simple bruschetta.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


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