In Food

Food Nostalgia

Posted by: on Feb 13, 2013 | 5 Comments

teaI’m feeling nostalgic this week. Maybe it’s eating “ants on a log,” celery with peanut butter and raisins. Maybe it’s the toast and tea I’ve been munching away on to keep me comfort on these cold grey February days. But my brain is spiraling through childhood foods.

I have always been a picky eater, something my family is quick to remind me or tell anyone. No wonder I’m still so particular about my food. When I was little I didn’t like potatoes. But when everyone else ate baked potatoes, I would eat the skins. I’d slather the inside with butter and salt and chomp away. I hated raisins. In fact, I once had a dream I was sitting at our dining table and this old crone was forcing me to eat a pile of raisins one by one. I would, however, eat bread with just mayonnaise. I now find myself completely flip-flopped on all three of these. Raisins and potatoes I love. But in my opinion, mayonnaise is the worst food.

I remember walking behind my dad through our garden at the farmhouse in Cambridge, Maine. He was picking peas. His calloused and dirty hands popping open the pods and pushing the peas into my hand. He then showed me the snap peas, plucking one from the vine and simply biting into it. I remember tossing the shells of the garden peas high into the air and letting them fall where they would and the complete wonder that you could eat the snap pea pod.

I didn’t really eat avocados until I was in my teens. I don’t remember disliking them, just being skeptical of them. Then one summer afternoon, my sister and I were home for lunch together. She made us avocado sandwiches on whole wheat. I don’t remember what else was on them, just the avocado. I remember the table in the cabin in Wellington, Maine clearly, the sun streaming in over the wood tabletop. We sat in the dark green plastic lawn chairs. And the sandwich was delicious.

When I moved to New Mexico with my mom, I couldn’t eat spicy food. I had no exposure to it. We’d eat at Mexican restaurants and I’d order the sopapillas (a fried dough), eating them with honey drizzled on top. Mexican inspired cuisine is now one of my favorites. I’ve expanded my palate and its ability to take heat. We make spicy Mexican often at home and my post on New Mexico shows how far I’ve come ordering at Mexican restaurants. I love nachos, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, salads, and fajitas. I love spicy salsa and guacamole.

However, my defining childhood food is apple pie. I love apple pie. It’s my favorite dessert. At holidays, I always hope there will be enough for dessert and breakfast. Growing up, we always ate the leftovers at breakfast. We also often cooked up some home fries to go with it. Sometimes we’d take the time to warm the pie up again other times we’d just eat it cold. Apple pie is probably one of the first things I helped make. I remember peeling and slicing apples. I remember my mom teaching me how to make the pie crust, cutting the fat in with butter knives, and pressing the top and bottom crusts together. She always cuts the remaining edge off and re-rolls it to make a cinnamon sugar roll. We call it a pie crust yummy because that’s exactly what it is. To this day, when I make a pie, instead of just poking holes in the top of the crust to release steam, I poke a pattern or shape just like my mom always does–a heart, a star, a tree at Christmas.

My family is a big family of tea drinkers. When I visit, tea is always offered right away. I love to sit first thing in the morning or the middle of the afternoon with a cup of tea and chat. When I visited my grandma in New Mexico, the first thing we did was eat oatmeal raisin cookies and drink tea. When I see my aunt in Massachusetts we often drink several cups throughout the day. The morning might drag out over more than one cup and the afternoon always finds us back in the kitchen boiling water, even in summer. And when I’m home by myself, I fix some tea and chatter away in writing. Today I’m drinking lemon ginger tea, a tea I first encountered at my aunt’s house and one of my favorite herbal teas. It’s the Yogi brand, which I love because each tea bag comes with a piece of wisdom:

“Gratitude is the open door to abundance.”


  1. mom
    February 13, 2013

    Thanks for the memories! Clint and I made half whole wheat pie crust yummies last week. They were magical.

  2. Helen Franck
    February 13, 2013

    Love this window into your childhood! <3

  3. Grandma
    February 14, 2013

    I love the window into your childhood too, Hali, and the memories it brings up for ME. What a cute & determined little bugger you were. How great it was to see you in NM & to eat cookies & drink tea. Love you, come again soon!

  4. Betsy
    February 14, 2013

    Oh, I am so touched!!! Tea and Toast Forever!!! And Apple Pie for breakfast is the Best sort of breakfast…. also because it usually means Holiday and Visitors! I discovered tomato sandwiches a similar way at the Farm… picky eaters UNITE!!!

  5. Laura
    February 19, 2013

    I love yogi tea. I drink the black chai and the chai rooibos ALL the time. :)


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