Food is such an integral part of my life. This is largely due to my upbringing in a Sierra Leonean family. The women and men in our family are some of the best cooks I've had the honor to share blood with. Every time I am on the phone with my Aunty or Mom, our conversations always circle back to cooking.
Recently, I've had some very intriguing and knowledgeable conversations with my Aunty who raised me and my Mom. These conversations further confirmed why I have a deep passion for cooking. Its almost genetic! I thought I could talk about food forever but both these women truly love food and cooking. They have me beat! We could spend hours talking about it. They shared the techniques that were passed down from our grandmother, the ingredients they enjoy using, and describing the flavors of their favorite dishes with such enthusiasm. Lol it was so cute! I genuinely cherish those moments.
Food is such an integral part of my life.
The foods we grow up eating with family make a lasting imprint in our memory. Smells of certain foods can trigger child-hood memories. It can take you back to that time in the kitchen with grandma and activate those happy hormones. You find yourself reminiscing on the "good ol' days".
So I cooked some soul food dishes at the request of the boo. This came as a result of realizing that I rarely cooked any soul food dishes for the past 4 years we have been together. Talk about feeling guilty! I felt like I robbed him of experiencing those reminiscent memories I mentioned. See, he is from the south and soul food is a major part of his child-hood. While I was cooking he became my official soul-food consultant. I was being schooled on how certain things should be cooked and how they should taste. I thought this was so cute because it is usually the other way around lol. The warm hickory scent of the sizzling bacon pieces reminded him of the times he would watch his grandma cook the green beans in Snow Hill, NC. Lets just say I am glad that I accepted his request. Now hopefully the ancestors would be pleased because the food was definitely cooked with love and SOUL!
So what was on the menu?! Green beans cooked in bacon and seasoned with black pepper, creamy mashed potatoes, rice with gravy, Salisbury steaks, rice and banana pudding! I found the mashed potatoes, Salisbury steaks and that BOMB banana pudding from I Heart Recipes and used her recipes as a guide to create this meal. I HIGHLY recommend trying her recipes! After a total of 4 hours of cooking ya girl was tiyad!! However, it was worth seeing him take that first bite. Pure bliss was on that mans face! I got the approval and even rated a 4.5 out of 5 stars lol. We are going to shoot for that half point next time!
What foods trigger happy memories for you? Do you have any stories to share about your cultures/families food or cooking? I would love to read about it.