Meme, Myself and I: Childhood Food Memories

Miss Clotilde of C&Z has asked me, your humble Amateur Gourmet, to participate in a meme called “Childhood Food Memories.” My task is simple enough: share five food memories from childhood. Let’s see what I can dig up, as I lay back on the proverbial couch…

(1) My steak mistake. As a youngster, my brother and I had two little yellow plastic tables that were placed on a shaggy gray rug in front of a big brown and silver television set. This was where we took most of our meals when mumsy and popsy were out on the town. This memory doesn’t involve my brother (maybe he wasn’t born yet?): it simply involves steak. Mom made me a steak and I didn’t want to eat it. She said, “Eat all of it or you’ll get no _____.” (Some kind of threat like “food for a week” or “love in your formative years.”) When she left the room, I brilliantly took all the steak and shoved it under that shaggy gray rug. Of course, I flattened it all out so there were no lumps and when she returned I proudly declared I was done. A few days later, a foul smell snaked its way from the floor in the den to my mother’s nostrils. The steak was discovered and I was appropriately punished. Yes, the scar on my neck from the branding iron remains with me to this day:


(2) Pantsing. This isn’t a food memory so much, but it’s food-related in that it takes place outside of a restaurant. The Yankee Clipper, to be exact, on Long Island. My grandmother’s cousin Bobby (who’s no longer with us) was visiting us along with his three sons, whose names I forget. We went to our family’s favorite restaurant, The Yankee Clipper, a fish-oriented theme restaurant on the water in Oceanside, Long Island. There was a wait and so we were out in the parking lot. Cousin Bobby says to me, “I bet I can blow your pants down from 10 feet away.” I say, “No way!” He says,

“I bet I can” and I say, “You’re on.” So he stands about 10 feet in front of me and begins to huff and puff. “Are you ready?” he says. “Yes!” I insist, of course I’m ready. This guy’s an idiot: he can’t blow my pants down. “One…” deep breath “Two…” deep breath… “and THREE.” My cousins came up from behind me and pantsed me not only in front of my whole family, but a whole parking lot of people waiting for dinner. To be even more explicit, they didn’t just pants me they UNDERpantsed me and my–to use a Yiddish term–shmecky was exposed to the world. The saddest thing is that I was 16 at the time! [Just kidding, I was like 6.] [And for the record, and as a testament to my maturity, I threw a huge fit and refused to eat dinner and cried in the bathroom for an hour. But then they bought me a bike from a garage sale and everything was ok.]

3. Rainy Candy Halloween. I remember in 5th grade, on Halloween, I insisted that everyone was going to wear a costume to school. “Are you sure?” asked my mom. “Yes,” I assured her after which I made her buy for me an elaborate Joker costume, complete with make-up, which was totally hip at the time because “Batman” just came out. Early in the morning, we began the transformation and I approached school with the same enthusiasm and excitement Carrie had the night of her prom.


Well of course, upon arriving at school, no one was in a costume. I got made fun of. And worse, it started raining. So after school, there was no trick or treating and I threw a huge fit. Mom put me in the car and began driving me door to door but it was no use. I came home, a wet, miserable Joker, candyless and enraged. I would one day get my revenge on the world: finding sweet things wherever I could, turning white rice into rice pudding. Soon, though, would emerge a nemsis, dark and cunning, in the guise of a doctor who’ll test my cholesterol on August 29th at 10 in the morning… stay tuned…

4. & 5. Some happy memories… My food memories aren’t all miserable. I remember mom making candy apples once on Halloween (another Halloween memory), melting little squares of caramel in a pot and dipping the apples in… I remember going to Wendy’s with my grandmother and my grandfather at the time, Grandpa Joe, who always ordered a bowl of chili… I remember inventing “chocolate covered grapes” which involved a product you can still buy, Dolce Fruta, which is chocolate you stick in the microwave and then whatever you dip in it hardens and so I dipped in grapes, which I thought was delicious but other people thought it was disgusting… I remember trips to the Olive Garden, always lying and saying it was somebody’s birthday so we’d get a free cake… I remember this place in Florida, when we moved there, called The Rustic Inn where they gave you hammers and buckets of garlic crabs and you’d hammer away and devour the meat…

Anyway, I’m sure I can come up with much more but that’s enough for now. I’d like to pass this on to the new food bloggers who revealed themselves in the comments of my “How To Start a Food Blog” thread… AugustusGloop, Tara, Jennifer, Radish, Grommie, Nic, Joey, Mona, and Ruth. + Michael

7 thoughts on “Meme, Myself and I: Childhood Food Memories”

  1. The Rustic Inn! Wow, one of my almost-forgotten childhood food memories. Wow, I’m craving a bucket of garlic crabs right now! I can just picture the newspaper spread out on the tables there . . . alas, I am now states away in an area known for horses and buggies, not seafood.

  2. You know, chocolate-covered grapes are a totally legitimate thing. There’s a candy business here in Austin that is famous for their chocolate-covered strawberries, but they also do grapes at other points in the year and those do quite well too. I haven’t tried them myself but I’ve heard they’re pretty good.

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