Eating down memory lane

posted by Anton Zuiker

At the end of the workday, I arrive home with my daughters from Durham, while my wife, Erin, is just leaving her job in Raleigh. Soon as we step in the door, backpacks drop and shoes get kicked off; the girls retreat to their room to play or into the office to peck on the computer, and I struggle to put my Blackberry down without checking it impulsively.

Our home these days is as clean as it’s ever been — it went on the market yesterday — but that’s not stopped me from heading straight into the kitchen to prepare dinner for the family (I’m a messy cook who uses as many utensils as I can reach). Tonight: chicken Marsala. That’s a dish that I first encountered at Auntie Pasto’s Restaurant in Honolulu, where I worked the phones taking to-go orders and pouring wine into water glasses. Occasionally, the cook would reach over for a new bottle of Marsala, and I’d marvel at the sweetness and sizzle as the wine hit the pan.

Erin arrived home just as I was sauteing the mushrooms, and soon we were seated around the dinner table sharing our day’s highlights. We usually take turns saying something we’re thankful for (gratitude as grace), and I was still thinking about last night’s dining experience. On our way home, I had mentioned to the girls that I wanted to make them a special kind of sandwich that my Aunt Ginger had taught me to make when I was in high school. They were intrigued by the ingredients.

So, we arrive home, kick off our shoes — but immediately stash them away in the coat closet — and congregate at the kitchen counter, where I present the makings for the special sandwich: bread, peanut butter, bananas and honey. And that was our dinner, simple and tasty and, for me, reminiscent of eating peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches at the kitchen counter in my aunt’s home (the house that my grandfather built and in which my mother grew up).

Food and memories go together, obviously. Read Sweet Memories, a tear-inducing essay about one woman’s learned love for rice pudding, which, naturally, has me thinking back to how we used our leftover rice during our Peace Corps days on Paama.

What memories are you recalling during your 28tables experiences?



Filed under family, Memories

3 responses to “Eating down memory lane

  1. indyerin09

    Great post. I’m headed to my college hometown this weekend so I am absolutely positive there will be a lot of memory-inducing foods. Not quite the same as wonderful sandwiches at the countertop, but just as potent in the reminiscing department.

  2. robeeno

    In college my best friend and I would have all of our friends over once a week and cook up a big meal. It was usually chili or beans and rice, or something nice and warm (we lived in the mountains). We called it ‘family dinner’, because for four years we had been like family to each other. Of all my food memories this is one of my dearest. It is the one thing I really wish I could make happen again during this 28tables.

  3. I can tell that this is not the first time at all that you mention this topic. Why have you chosen it again?

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