When I think of my grandmother, it will be poached eggs. I’ll remember waking up at her house after a sleepover, the yolk running down my chin as I ate breakfast in the morning light of her kitchen.
My husband will corner the market on cheese fries. They’ll always remind me of first dates and falling in love and our search for the perfect plate (Chilis—if you can believe it).
I won’t be able to think of my best friend without conjuring up the Hunka-Chunka Sundae as big as our heads. The one we used to consume on a weekly basis before we cared about things like calories and not eating in front of boys.
My Dad is obviously chips and a sandwich. Most likely an open-faced bagel with ranch dressing and lunch meat, cheesy Doritos on the side.
My Mom is too many foods to count. Bowls of chili, crab and corn chowder, mashed potatoes smothered in butter. Butterscotch scones, guacamole, and bowls of lobster bisque. Everything tasting of home and loved and security. Every bite steeped in tradition.
It’s not just people, either. Christmas is filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. College is peach cobbler and strawberry cheesecake milkshakes. It’s Bojangles biscuits, biski wraps and pokey sticks.
Sundays are for extra large pancakes and crispy bacon. Pineapple juice to drink, dipping eggs on the side.
Family is spaghetti dinners with homemade sauce and meatballs and “honey you’ve outdone yourself.”
Vacations will taste of crab cakes and scallops eaten in a hot tub. The beach house is Thrashers french fries, Fisher’s popcorn, pizza on the roof at the boardwalk.
Eggplant parmigiana was the last dinner we had before my son was born. A blueberry acai bowl was what I threw up during labor.
Taco Bell reminds me of drinking. Coffee is synonymous with my mother. Popcorn is for movies. Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccinos are my cousins. Summer is egg custard snowballs and steamed crabs and extra-large hot dogs.
Food is more than just food. It’s memories. It’s people, places, and things. Food is the way I document my experiences, the visceral scrapbook I return to again and again.
Since the dawn of time, humans have used food as a way to punctuate special occasions. There is a reason our ancestors used to feast. Because food is, at its very nature, a joy. It is a comfort. It is a tangible reminder of our most precious experiences.
I will always remember the food we served at our wedding (filet and crab cakes, asparagus on the side), and the chocolate cake my mother makes on our birthdays. I’ll remember my grandmother’s pineapple soufflé on Thanksgiving and the way my husband cooks waffles on the weekends.
It’s more than just sustenance, it’s substance. For me, food is the background of my life, the threads of my memories. It is lavish and comforting and rich and warm and soothing.
Food fills me up, body and soul.