A bite of nostalgia


Isn't it funny how the taste of something can transport you back in time to a particular place, a definite memory?

Just like a song can make you remember a time In your life, a taste can pinpoint an experience, too. Once in a while, it's not a good memory (that's tequila for me), but usually it means you are engulfed by that warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

Retro diners and old-fashioned food labels work because they evoke those warm, fuzzy memories. After all, who doesn't want another taste of the good old days?

Root beer is one of the most powerful nostalgic tastes. When I was little, we lived in Winnipeg and my Gramps was my babysitter.

We used to go to A&W for lunch, and I would get a baby mug of frosty cold root beer with my onion rings.

I still have my mug sitting on my dresser, and every first sip of a root beer brings back a vision of the orange and brown and my grandfather's happy face. It makes me smile and warms my heart.

The sweet bubbles offer a perfect foil for the salty coating on the onion rings, and then the sweet ,juicy onion rounds it all off. Nirvana for the taste buds, truly.

Another favourite taste of my childhood is peanuts in the shell. They smell kind of dusty, and the first sensation in my mouth is of dryness, and a slightly bitter taste from the skins.

Then, the creaminess of the nuts coats my mouth and I get the satisfaction of not only making my own peanut butter, but also having worked for my food.

My dad and I used to shell peanuts on Sunday afternoons while watching The Wide World of Sports.

Do you remember that clip of the ski jumper crashing that opened the show? We used to celebrate the thrill of victory over the nuts while we watched the agony of defeat of some of those athletes.

I was surprised to remember a taste of summers as a kid when I bit into a tomato sandwich last week.

Fresh garden tomatoes on fresh sourdough bread with Hellman's mayonnaise — that combination brought back memories of family picnics.

My mom would package everything separately, so sandwiches didn't get soggy and the tanginess of the mayo with the sweet tomatoes was perfection between two slices of bread.

The only part I didn't like was how slippery it all was; the tomato slices were notorious for sliding out the side of the sandwich.

The best you could hope for was to just have the juice drip down your arm.

I'm sure you must be thinking of your own memories by now. I have one more to leave you with.

My husband just walked in the door with groceries and he is all excited about the deal he got: free cereal for spending so much money.

He picked Fruit Loops. The last time I had those was camping as a kid. We never had sugared cereal at home, but on camping trips my parents bought those packages of mini boxes you could open and use as a bowl.

Interestingly enough, it was mostly the sugary cereals that were included in the package. We are camping this weekend, so I guess I'll have to give them a try. The kid in me can't resist. (

I just wish he had bought Corn Pops, they were my favourite.)

As this summer turns into another page in the scrapbook of life, what tastes will you remember?

If you don't have something new to add to the memory banks, maybe that should be your mission for autumn.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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