The weather was great today, and I couldn't bear the thought of spending all day in a library, so I went on a 5 hour, 14 mile walk around northern Ithaca. I started thinking about flavor memories (well actually, here was the real train of thought: dishes at MGFD that will be served at Camana Bay this summer --> Hedy's Childhood Treats --> chefs that try to evoke "childhood memories" in their food --> the legitimacy of a "childhood food memory" --> what, if any, are my food memories?). I didn't come up with any answers as hackneyed as standing at the counter while my grandmother taught me how to make *insert cultural dish here*, but I did think of a few interesting examples.
First memory of being "taught" to cook: Grandfather (mothers side) teaching me how to fry tilapia (pat the dry fish, flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs).
Dishes I associate with my "childhood": Mother making chicken cacciatore, chicken with rice and cream of mushroom soup, rosti, french toast, beef stroganoff.
True food "memories": staying at a friends cabin on the Hood Canal in Washington and picking oysters straight off the beach. We cooked the oysters on a wood grill and topped them with lime juice and tabasco. I can still taste them, they were that good. Also on the Hood Canal--using the friends boat to go crabbing and eating crabs for dinner that had been out of the water for an hour. I can also distinctly remember being at this same friends house back in Redmond, Washington and trying Brie for the first time.
Random Note: at one point in my walk I realized I was in the nearby town of Dryden (where the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is located). By the lab is a walking path, and by the path is a cairn designed by the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy (I studied him in an architecture class this semester). The picture is below.
It's pretty cool--about 6 feet, 4 inches tall, hollow inside, and made without mortar (the piece is held together by the downward pressure of the stones).