eat, memory!

23 Sep

I don’t know about you, but I have so many memories that are defined by food, and thought I would share some of those with you now and again. I had the opportunity to field this idea by friend and co-worker Jamie Fortune while on the road from Charlotte to Tallahassee last weekend, and was so delighted to hear some of the food memories from her family–I hope you will share your own in the comments below.

Canned Peaches, 2008

In 2008, my dad, mom, brother and I made our way back to Boise, Idaho, for my grandmother’s passing. Since my immediate family moved from Boise to Florida in the ’80s, we haven’t had too many chances to make our way back and so every trip there is precious to me.

During this visit, my parents, brother and I stopped to see my godmother, Grandma Marie. Grandma Marie is nothing if not at home in the kitchen, and for years sent family and friends boxes of goodies like peanut brittle and popcorn balls for Christmas. She invited us over for breakfast, and friends, if there is one thing I will never forget in my entire life, it is that meal. Homemade biscuits and gravy, eggs, waffles–and the piece de resistance, canned peaches.

Grandma Marie and her daughter Penny Nancy (Woops, other daughter–thanks, Mama!) pick peaches and can them just about every year, which makes every year I spent never having tried them add up to what I consider a gastronomic tragedy of untold proportions. If I could have willed my stomach to be bigger so I would never have to stop eating those peaches, I would have. They were perfectly bright and beautiful sitting in a small crystal bowl next to my plate–the sun coming in from the window shining off of the juice just so–and, on a trip otherwise marked by sadness and loss, they were heaven.

Three-scoop Sundae, 2000

Another thing many of you already know about the Welkers is that we have a deep-seated love for ice cream, and so it only makes sense that Friendly’s has played a somewhat pivotal role in my life. In fact, one summer during college I actually applied to work there, filling in the desired position as “Ice Cream Artist.” I hold a grudge to this day that they never called to interview me.

Fortunately, there was a Friendly’s where I went to school in Deland, and during the year my friends and I would make what you might call frequent trips for dessert–that is, until one day during my sophmore year.  I had rallied the troops for our normal ice cream trek, and seven of us drove across town to Friendly’s, where we were seated in a booth and chatted back and forth as menus were passed out. But when the waitress came back to the table, there was dead silence.

“Are you guys gonna order?” I asked.

“No, I don’t want anything,” someone said.

“Nah,” said another.

I sat there, confused, until finally one of them confessed: “We only come here because you like it so much!”

I swear to you, I stared at them with jaw dropped for what felt like hours as my mind tried to process the idea that anyone could not love ice cream as much as I do–but apparently, it’s true!

So, Dear Eaters, what memories do you have?


5 Responses to “eat, memory!”

  1. Jacqueline September 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm #

    Credit correction please. Grandma Marie and her daughter Nancy pick and can peaches every year. Penny is also Grandma Marie’s daughter but she lives in California. Which is certainly too far to drive for a weekend of peach picking and canning.

    The last time that I was lucky enough to can peaches was September 1982. It was a magical time and I enjoyed it tremendously. Someday when life gives me a little more breathing room I will do it again. Such happy, contented memories. You were 22 months old Gina and taking it all in with big, wondering eyes. And lots of spoon licking!

    • Gina Welker September 24, 2010 at 9:34 am #

      Corrected. I would also like to point out that nearly 30 years is an awfully long time to be waiting for some breathing room–sheesh!

  2. Jamie Fortune September 24, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I loved hearing about your fond food memories, Gina, and thanks for letting me share mine with you on that looong car ride home!


  1. frozen hot chocolate | ¡hot plate! - October 8, 2010

    […] some special on the Food Network a while ago about their $1,000 ice cream sundae, and if you know my love of ice cream you can just imagine my excitement when I realized I would be eating […]

  2. ’tis the season for popcorn balls | ¡hot plate! - December 4, 2010

    […] I think everyone has special holiday treats that are a part of their family traditions. For the Welkers, it’s Christmas cookies and popcorn balls, lovingly prepared by my godmother, Grandma Marie, (the one who makes the heavenly canned peaches). […]

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