Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day Eleven: A Taste of Memory

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Psalm 34:8

In high school art class, we were asked to draw a picture of home. Some students sketched their family members. Some painted their houses or bedrooms. Some drew their pets.

I drew a picture of a loaf of bread, sliced and buttered.

When my sisters and I took the night bus home from boarding school, Dad would pick us up at the bus stop at 4am, when the stars were still out and the tropical mountain air could be barely described as chilly. He would drive us home as the city was just starting to wake up, and we would go climb in bed with Mom, groggy and smelling of Vicks, and fill her in on the last few weeks of school. At some point, Mom would pull the refrigerator oatmeal bread out of the fridge and put it in the oven to bake. The first breakfast home was always oatmeal bread with honey and a glass of chocolate milk. That meant home.

There is an accumulation of tastes and scents that make a home. What those tastes and scents are may not be something that you can necessarily predict or choose. One year coming back to the college dorm after a summer at my aunt's. As I settled in, renewed relationships (I'd spent the prior semester in England), started two jobs and multiple classes, and figured out where the year was going, I had an unaccountable craving for Golden Grahams. I kept telling myself I was being ridiculous, that I'd spent all summer successfully mooching my aunt's Golden Grahams so I obviously didn't need any now, and that I'd do better to save my money for food that actually provided nourishment. I finally caved and bought a box. I ate half the box in one sitting, and suddenly, I felt home.

There have been many studies that talk about how scents trigger memory. I'm a firm believer that memories carry us through transitions. They recall the familiar.

So when we arrived after this last move, I set to work creating the tastes and scents of home for our family. Oatmeal refrigerator bread was in week one. Pumpkin bread, chicken curry, hamburger pot pie, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, my grandmother's rolls, my mother-in-law's biscuits… Okay, there were a lot of carbs, but, boy, are our stomach's happy!

And our house feels (and smells and tastes) a little bit more like home.

Same story: second verse.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this pumpkin bread picture on the newsfeed of my FB while I was still in South Sudan one hungry day. It was a painful hungry sort of photo.