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My father and I were early risers so Saturday mornings around 7am we would leave the house to my sleeping sister and mother and head to the indoor farmers market to stock up on enough food to feed a small army. The cheese people always gave me tastes (and I got to pick the cheese, my favorite part), the butchers didn't, but they smiled and pinched my cheeks. The menonite candy people would give me chocolate covered pretzels, and breakfast was usually a sausage sandwich. Food markets are still some of my favorite places in the world.

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Speaking of sausages, a regular breakfast for me in my childhood was chipolata sausages and fried eggs. Chipolatas, in the UK anyway, are a sort of skinny breakfast link. On the weekend, my mother would add some black pudding and bacon, and the special treat of fried bread (yes, bread fried in the fat from the meats). Moving through my teens, and getting to bed later and later (and finally sometimes not at all), I gave up that kind of breakfast except for weekends. Then one day I realised that, even on a Sunday, I could scarcely digest that quantity of fried food first thing in the morning.

 

Now the breakfast "fry-up" is a once or twice-a-year thing, most typically in the Heathrow arrivals lounge after an overnight flight.

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Hm. My earliest food memories are of going to buy lobsters with my Dad and of getting ice cream at the local soft-serve joint.

 

We lived on the North Shore of Massachusetts, just inland from Newburyport. I remember going to the lobster pound with my Dad, in his little cream-colored Renault Dauphine (what a cool car). My brother and I were allowed to stand on the edge of the lower lobster pool and peer into the upper one. If I stood on tippy-toes, I could just see over the edge of the upper pool (I was 3). I was stunned when I went back to the same lobster pound as a grown-up and saw that the upper pool was only at chest height. Shouldn't it have been over my head? I suppose this isn't really a food memory, only food-related.

 

My favorite ice-cream treat was a soft-serve vanilla cone dipped in butterscotch. My Mom or Dad would lift me up and sit me on the counter, so I could ask for my “hopscotch dip, please”.

 

Oh, here's another one: my Dad took me to a function at the church across the street, a Saturday night supper or something. Strange, because it was just me and Dad – I had an older brother and sister, and can't imagine why they and my Mom weren't there. Anyway, out from under my mother's watchful eye, my father treated me to a hamburger witih Piccalilli relish on it. I remember throwing up in my crib in the blue light of dawn and crying out for my mother. This must be my very earlieset memory of anything; I can't have been more than two and a half years old. I still won't touch Picalilli relish.

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My mom would often prepare the "sunday midday roast" on Saturday night. She wouldn't cook it, just prep it and cover it with foil and stick it in the fridge. Her reasoning was that while we were in church the following morning, my dad who stayed home, could handle popping a roasting pan into the oven at a specified time. I remember being a little girl, and constantly opening the fridge door to "check" on the pork loin, beef, whatever....Up until bedtime, multiple times, I'd make sure it was still there. First thing in the morning, I'd make sure it was still there. I loved looking at it, imagining how it would taste. I never heard a word of mass, all my thoughts were about the roast, and concern that my dad would forget to put it in ( which had happened) and we'd be delayed in eating.

 

 

I have always adored Sour Cream/Onion soup dip. Crazy about it...while others in our family liked it, none matched my enthusiasm..it was by far my favorite food.

so I knew that when my mom bought it, she had me in mind. And, my mom was not a big chips/junk food buyer. I can clearly remeber the feeling of coming home from school, and seeing that red and white Breakstone's container, and knowing that it was proof that my mom was thinking of me. Now, my childhood wasn't the smoothest, so that feeling was more rare than it should be in a child, but I remember it so distinctly.

 

In grappling with overeating issues later in life, it was fairly easy to see the emotional connection I have to sour cream and similair foods...each mouthful was like a little hug.

 

Finally, I remember going to place in New Brunswick NJ called Chick's Inn, on Fridays during lent, with my extended Italian Catholic Family. there was an accordian door seperting the bar from the restaurant, and while the adults would filter over tot he bar, the kids would be left to their devices at thte table, with perhaps a few older aunts to stand guard. I preferred the regular fried flounder platter, but if you got the fried flounder SANDWICH, you got a frilly toothpick in each quarter...I adored those toothpicks. Plus, they were great under the table pokers for annoying male cousins. I still keep those toothpicks in my pantry, the box must be 15 years old..my sons used to love them in their sandwiches as well..and also discovered their sword capabilities.

 

this is a nice thread, thanks for starting it.

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Eating in a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn when I was 4 years old (I think it was called Tai Fung Lau). To a small child, the place seemed enormous, and I was fascinated with the red and gilt decor. Equally exotic was the Islanders, a Polynesian restaurant in Matawan, NJ (drinks in tiki mugs with little plastic umbrellas!).

 

The first candy I can ever remember eating was rock candy on a stick that my mom gave me. In retrospect, that seems very unusual, considering that things that were pure sugar were usually considered "chazerai" (junk food) in our household.

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I ask because an olde-timey New Jersey thing right there in the liquor cabinet next to the Laird's Applejack, used to be Rock and Rye. This was a commercially made product, rye whiskey with chunks of rock candy in it. It was a remedy for colds, um.

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Sitting at the table in the enormous kitchen of my grandmother's apartment eating rice pudding. My mother told me this dates from when I was slightly less than two.My father bringing danishes home on Sunday mornings and making pancakes. Eating pastina, my favorite food when I was very little. On Sunday mornings at the beach, my father and uncle going out for cake doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar--still warm when we ate them. Steamers. My grandfather taking me to the candy store on Madison Avenue for an egg cream, taking me to Rumpelmayer's for strawberry ice cream sodas and to the Oyster Bar for chowder. I loved the oyster crackers. Peanuts in the shell sold at the Bronx Zoo--they came in orange and blue cellophane packets. Going to the kosher butcher in the Bronx with my great-great aunt (she wasn't Jewish but thought the butcher sold the best meat) and seeing chickens with their heads and feet still attached. Standing on a stepladder so I could watch the same aunt prepare pot roast and chicken and dumplings. One of my mother's aunts had an old farmhouse in New Jersey and the wife of the man who took care of the horses, did the gardening, etc. used to make us potato pancakes that were unequalled by any I have had since.

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I adored those toothpicks. Plus, they were great under the table pokers for annoying male cousins. I still keep those toothpicks in my pantry, the box must be 15 years old

Whenever my maternal grandmother would come down from Brooklyn for the weekend (to Philadelphia) she would bring a small plastic container with cubed melon. In the back seat of the car on the way home from the train station (so I shouldn't starve, right?) we would eat the melon with sword shaped toothpicks.

 

Same grandmother (maternal) would make my sister and I tea with lots of milk and sugar and french toast, sprinkled with sugar, which she would cut up but push the pieces back into the shape of the piece of toast. I can only eat french toast with sugar. Syrup is not an option.

 

This is not my food memory, but my fathers mother was the worlds worst cook and often served things that were not just bad, but rancid, and kept rancid food in the fridge. It taught him to be very careful Although he has been married to my mother for over 40 years and she is a great cook who keeps the fridge free of spoiled products, he still cannot open a container of anything dairy without sniffing it suspciously and asking her when she bought it. It drives her crazy.

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We had sword-shaped plastic toothpicks too. I think they were meant for cocktail cherries and the like. There was a lot of toothpick cuisine back when I was growing up: "cheese" and pineapple cubes, cocktail sausages, "cheese" and cocktail onions.

 

Memories return of the buffet which accompanied weddings, funerals and other festive occasions. Triangular sandwiches beginning to curl: canned salmon and sardines, meat paste, egg salad, ham, tongue if you were lucky. Miniature sausage rolls. Little wedges of pork pie or slices of gala pie (large rectangular pork pie with a decorative hard boiled egg in the middle). Crisps (potato chips) and salted peanuts. Small cold sausages with congealed fat (again, I am talking about breakfast links here; the cocktail sausages, on the other hand, were miniature wieners). Angel cake.

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Country club buffets. Cold ham, shrimp, roast turkey carved by a waiter in a short red jacket. 'Fancy' cheeses including Jarlsberg and Brie. At a Valentine's Day buffet my sister and I were transfixed by an enormous pink heart piped with a white frill. The entire thing was made of: mashed potatoes.

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I remember when Mama Wolf used to bring fresh kill back to the den. My sister and I would fight over the legs & thighs, but she would leave me the innards. Of course, if the kill was chicken, Mama Wolf would make sure that it was raised right, as even she knew back then that raw chicken carried much danger if not from an approved source.

 

(excerpt from "Raised by Wolves"; the memoirs of Steve R.)

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Brothers and I would fight over the eyes when whole fish was served on the dinner table. Being there were three of us but only two eyes, I usually got the shaft. My mother, being sly and wise, would always go for the cheeks, the tenderest part of the fish.

 

I have since learned to go for the cheeks first.

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