Sunday, September 4, 2005

Childhood Food Memories - A Meme

No, the picture has absolutely nothing to do with what's in this post - but it was such a pretty picture I had to use it somewhere, didn't I?

AY-AY-AY! I seem to be making promises I can't keep! I promised I'd return, then left you for a WHOLE WEEK, without a word of notice! Promises, promises, promises - which will, eventually, just as sun comes after rain, night after day, be followed by excuses, excuses, excuses. No changing the ways of the world this time either: Seems I sometime, about two weeks ago, caught a bugger of a throat virus that I'm still struggling with. The bastard makes my entire throat swell, my voice going weirdo and makes eating - not a pleasure. Kinda the worst part about it, not being able to eat! Drink cold, don't lie down, eat cold - ARGH! I want warm tea! The mere thought of eating (or drinking for that matter) has put me quite cold over the last couple of days - hence the absence.

Anyways - enough of the apologies! I've promised to do the Childhood Food Memories - twice! - and by God, I'll do it! If you haven't heard of it yet, it's pretty simple: what do you miss from your childhood? In the foodblogger-world, that of course means "What food-related things do you miss from your childhood?" Easing me gently back into the foodie-sphere, here they are: my five favorite memories:

Breakfast in Bed and Mom's Tea
When I was little, my Mom used to bring me breakfast in bed. We had this large tray with a picture of a pitcher of beer and two glasses, some boats in the background. Every morning, that tray would be planted on my lap, as I sat in bed, listening to the radio. On it would be a bowl of oatmeal with milk and sugar or sometimes a piece of toast with chokoladepålæg or cheese, maybe a piece of fruit. And always, but always, there'd be Mom's tea. Earl grey with milk and sugar. At that time, she actually used a sweetener - up until I was 16 or something, I couldn't take the taste of real sugar in my tea, I was so used to the sweetener. Now it's the other way around - go figure! The breakfast in bed stopped somewhere around the time when I got old enough to decide I just couldn't stomach anything in the morning. But the tea continued, in my own personal lemon-shaped cup.
It still just spells out morning to me. Morning, or maybe Mom. Whenever we're having tea and she's around, she has to make it for me - there's just the right proportions of tea to milk to sugar, that no matter what I do, it just doesn't taste the same when I do it myself. And I don't think it has to.

Cucumber "sandwiches"
My Grandmother, on my Dad's side, used to watch me every now and again when I was at my Dad's, as I was every other weekend when I was little. For lunch, she'd make me the appropriate, and filling, rye bread sandwiches that every little girl and boy eats here in Denmark, with leverpostej and spegepølse. A small sprinkle of salt and pepper, a couple of slices of cucumber on top. But the real treat was the "sandwich on the side" - two thick slices of cucumber, one with a slice of spegepølse on top, the other with a smearing of leverpostej. Those were fantastic! Always saved for last, and I could usually persuade her to double the portion. When lunch was at it's best, she'd sit with me and tell stories from when she was little, while I ate. I think I've tried recreating them after she passed away, but you know - there are some things only Grandmothers are supposed to do...

Afternoon Toasts
Becoming a teenager had it's own advances, one of them being able to go home after school, bringing your friends for a little feast in the kitchen. We'd take out the toaster and just do toast after toast after toast until everyone had ham, cheese and white plastic bread coming out of their ears, sitting at the little table in the kitchen, the smell of slightly burned cheese permeating the air. Lots of giggling and chatting going on, probably about boys, boys and then more boys! On special occasions, we'd make pancakes and eat them with whipped cream (the canned stuff) and drink hot chocolate, heating the milk in the microoven, then stirring in cocoa-powder, adding (more) canned whipped cream for the finishing touch. It's been a looong time since I had that kind of toast - these days, we've moved on to the more sophisticated Croque Monsieur - but I have to say, the grilled toast might be in for a renaissance...

Soft Boiled Eggs
I know no one that can make a soft boiled egg with the same perfection my Dad can. No runny whites, no smidgen of hard yolk. Just perfection. I suppose there have been times when they were in fact less than perfect, but you know - these are memories, and in the old days, everything was bigger, better and more perfect. Every Saturday morning (sometimes Sundays, too) when I was spending the weekend at his place, he'd make each of us two soft boiled eggs (two soft boiled eggs for my friend too, if I'd have one sleep over). We had them with rye bread with a thick layer of salted butter, and for each bite you took of the egg, your chubby little fingers had to crush a little bit of salt on top, so that it was ready to make the next mouthful just as savory a delight as the previous one. When I'd finish my egg, the ritual was to turn it up-side down and present it to my Dad, saying "Oh I just can't eat both of them!" He'd take his spoon resolutely in hand and knock the egg to make the shell crack, which of course resulted in the (already eaten egg's) empty shell shattering in a 1000 pieces - and lots of laughter! He'd do it to me too, and it was always hilariously funny, even though everyone of course knew exactly what was going to happen. I also remember he had these egg cosies - you know, like people have a tea cosy for keeping their teapot warm? These were smaller in size naturally, for keeping the eggs warm in their little egg cup. Neat. I have a picture of me, my Dad and a friend of mine, the three of us with tea cosies on our heads, and me and my friend's dolls with the, for them, more appropriately sized egg cosies on their heads. Yup, you're right - we're very normal! I actually read somewhere, that if a person is in a room where a tea cosy is present, that person will feel a (very natural) urge to put said tea cosy on their head. I don't know why that is, but I know it's true for me!;-)

Late night Romkugler
So, a bit of explanation here: romkugler is (I think anyways) a very Danish thing - a kitchy/trashy made-from-leftover-Danish-pastry type of - sweet? Not cake, consistency-wise a bit like a chocolate truffle, though not anywhere near as smooth in texture, and definitely not posh at all. I'll admit it - it's trash - or maybe, the step just before trash. And I loved them. I used to work in a bakery, and we got to take cakes and bread with us home every now and again - I loved to bring home romkugler, especially if I knew I was going to have a night out with my best friend, J. Having spend an entire night out on the town, dancing, drinking - well, we all know that will inevitably, bring on the munchies. There's no way around it. Our way of finishing a stellar night would be, after we'd removed our make-up, to sneak out to the fridge and pop out a couple of cold, cold romkugler and a large glass of milk each, then jump back to bed, eat our romkugler and chat about what had happened that night. We always slept over at each others. I miss the whole romkugle-affair, but I actually think I miss the sleeping over part even more. We very seldom do that anymore. Only natural I guess, but I do miss ending a great night by chatting away until I fall asleep, a bit of romkugle still left at the corner of my mouth...

I was tagged by both Barbara and Julie, but seeing I am so darn late, I don't think anyone has been able to dodge the meme - therefore I'll just put up both of the lists of links here, for you to click away on:

From Barbara's branch:

1) Farmgirl Fare
2) Becks & Posh
3) The Cooks Cottage
4) Tigers & Strawberries
5) Food & Thoughts

From Julie's branch:

1) Tasca da Elvira
2) Cuisine et Compagnie
3) Chocolate & Zucchini
4) A Finger in Every Pie
5) Food & Thoughts

Hmm, wait - I think I've thought of a couple of people - I'll update if they'd like to join!


Mona said...

Welcome back, enjoyed reading about your childhood memories. Unfortunately I come from a family that wasn't so into cooking. Well, I take that back, my MOM wasn't a cook but my dad is. So most of my fond memories are from relatives houses, mostly the Italian ones. I was always spoiled with delicious homemade pasta sauces and meatballs and breads and antipasto.
I'm always asking for your help..but what's the meme thing? I'll try and look it up right now.

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Mona Li! I've actually always claimed that my family wasn't a "cooking" type of family - and they might not have been, but they still - I suppose that's only natural - had a lot of influence on my attitude towards food today. Looking back, I guess it has a lot to do with the laid back attitude everyone had regarding food - surely, you had to eat, but the company was at least as, if not more important, than the food.

The meme is so very well explained
here - basically, it's an idea that catches on, like a song stuck in your head that you then hum, then it gets stuck in someone elses head and so on and so on. Sorta like a chain letter, only in a good way, I think. I think it's a great way of getting to know a bit about people, other than what they eat :-) There's been a couple of them rummaging around the food blogs (as well as other blogs of course) - the "cookbook meme", the "cook next door meme", the "music in my kitchen meme". Nicky from Delicious Days started the cook next door one and keeps track of it on her blog - I don't know exactly where the cookbook one started, but Ana from Pumpkin Pie Bungalow has traced it a long way back, maybe even to where it began?! Cathy (of My Little Kitchen) recently tracked back this one too - so if you're interested to see more about what they are, check out those sites (links in sidebar) And just you keep asking, I'm happy to help!:-)

Cathy said...

Hi Zarah - I loved reading this - what great little stories!

Ana said...

Zarah Maria, I loved reading about your memories. I guess that turning up the empty shells of the soft-boiled eggs is something kids like to do. I remember my brother and I always did that too.

joey said...

What fun stories! Makes me feel nostalgic for the times when my best friend and I did exactly the same thing (sans the yummy sounding danish step before trash)...we had our own munchies though :-) Those are really special times!

violet said...

i love this meme. it's probably my favourite of any i've ever seen.

my dad used to make perfect soft boiled eggs for me when i was young, as well. he used to slice the toast to go with it into fingers and smother it in butter. oh god, i loved those soft boiled eggs.

Mommy said...

Hi baby

I love to read your stories on your blog - especially the ones looking back on your childhood. Though we talk a lot about our past and also a lot about everything else in our lives, it is always interesting, as a mom, to learn "how your kid experienced her childhood".

I open your blog every morning and I am looking so forward to reading your always happy and interesting columns.

I think (not as your mom, but as a regular reader) that you write so wonderful and humoristic, and in a way, so one just HAVE to read on, even one do not have the time. I get caught!

I am happy, that you did not chose to study to be a journalist (which also was a priority, when you chose your discipline as far as I remember), but that you chose to go to med-school, because now I can enjoy you doing both. I can read your blog and I can be your "patient" when you have to practice medicine!

You are such a clever girl, you're beautiful, and you're mine and I am so proud of you.

Love Futte, Mutti, Mommy, Muts & Mor

Zarah Maria said...

Cathy - Thanks! I enjoyed writing them!

Ana - LOL! I guess it is! And you know what - I still, to this day, think it's kinda funny!

Joey - indeed they are, indeed they are. Let's hope we never forget them!

Violet - there's something about those Dad's and soft boiled eggs. Wait, does that mean that if my boyfriend ever becomes a Dad, he'll be just as good at boiling eggs? Then I better stick with him!;-)

Hi Mom! FINALLY! Enough of the sneaking around my blog, not commenting!;-) I'm so happy you're enjoying it - as you already know, I enjoy writing it immensely, too. And my my my, you sure know how to make me blush - and no, you would never be biased as to how wonderful I am, would you? Tee-hee! It's great having you around here on F&T, and it's great having you in my life!

gemma said...

Hi Zarah, I enjoyed reading about your childhood memories. The memes are such a nice way to learn more about people and how they also became food obsessed.

And you are right, that is a beautiful picture!

blogagog said...

Thanks for the info. I'm trying to find Danish stuff to buy, so I think I'll order some Romkugler!