(food/personal) the smells of autumn and memory

My kitchen smelled like memories this past weekend.  Apple kugel, cinnamon-raisin french toast drowning in maple syrup, roasted butternut squash, honey bbq chicken tenders.  It’s amazing, how much smells can bring back memories of my parents’ and my grandparents’ kitchens, and it’s times like this that I wish I had kids to pass these smells and recipes on to.  The good news is that my sister-in-law is doing just that for my nieces, so they won’t be forgotten.


Food is such a family thing, I’ve found.  Eating healthy hasn’t been as hard for me (although the gluten-free part has been a bit of a struggle – I love bread!) because my parents encouraged us to eat healthy.  I love me some ice cream (yes, there is a pint of Cherry Garcia in my freezer right now – I’m human!), but even more, now, I’m realizing how much I love things like a crisp apple from the fridge, or the natural sweetness of roasted butternut squash with cinnamon.  The bite of cheddar cheese with that apple.  Creamy peanut butter and apple butter on top of a rice cake.  Fresh popped popcorn, with fresh melted butter.  Homemade Chex Mix.


I eat these foods, and I remember: making Chex Mix, before a family holiday party at Gram’s.  Or getting to “try” the popcorn balls she always bought for Halloween.  Kugel for Christmas morning, if Mom had a chance to make it.  Or for breakfast out on the field, cold from being in the cooler, as we camped.  Apple picking when I was younger, and we’d take over an orchard.  (Four kids – trust me, we took it over).  Hulling strawberries for Mom after we picked in Uncle Charlie and Auntie Marion’s fields, so she could make strawberry jam.


I really didn’t know how to cook before I got married.  I didn’t need to – there are SO many good cooks in my family (including one pro! ) but once I was out on my own, I went the boxed route and realized very quickly that no, most things that come in a box are NOT food.  (I’m looking at you, macaroni and cheese.  Shudder)  So I learned.  And trust me, if I can learn to cook, you can too.  I was SO bad.  I burned water.   And jello.  Seriously.


No real food plan this week.  I’m heading into a remicade treatment on Wednesday, so food is going to depend on what my tummy is up to.    I made sure to stock up on yogurt, nut butter, and rice cakes, and tuna fish.  Mild stuff, so my tummy doesn’t rebel too much on me.  We’ll see how it goes.



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