You know how memory is associated with taste and sound and smell? My memories get activated by taste. The most precious of my childhood memories are associated with good food. I can remember tastes from when I was two years old. One of my first memories associated with taste is actually quite a bad one, even though I remember only the good part. It's the day my tonsils we're removed. I was almost two years old, it was the fifth of december. Which is, by the way, a holiday in the Netherlands. It's Sinterklaas. Not very surprising, there wasn't a waiting list that day. They put me in a bed on wheels, which was very exciting. My mom and dad were there as was my beloved teddy bear Bobine. I got my narcosis and it tasted like banana. I love banana. All I remember is this, a fantastic party in a riding bed. I can't seem to recall what happened afterwards, but my parents told me the rest of the story. When I woke up, I was angry. All this excitement and a nice bananatastingnarcosis and then waking up with nightmarish pain. Sinterklaas (a sort of Dutch Santa Claus) came in bringing me a present and I threw it away and yelled at him. I was furious at him and my parents and went to sleep. Waking up, the first thing I asked for was my present. Which was, by the way, a supernice puzzle of Donald Duck.
France also plays a big role in my childhood memories. When I was younger we always used to go to the west coast. When we would go out of course me and my sisters couldn't read the menu so I would ask my parents, would I like this dish? They always encouraged me to try. Most of the time I did, and loved it. A great memory is the first time I ate duck. I was ten years old and we were in a superfancy hotel on the way home. It was duck breast served with peaches. It was so good, every time I think about it I get hungry again. I still love duck and peaches to death, but haven't eaten a dish like it ever again. The experiment my parents had going on went wrong one time though. We were, once again, in France and there wasn't much to choose from. There was a simple dish of sausage and fries on the menu and they ordered it for us. What could go wrong with a simple sausage, right? We got the sausage and it was made from tripe... Which is basically garbage-meat. It was utterly disgusting. We took one bite, which tasted like the garbage it was made from, almost threw up on our plates, and after a thorough discussion with my dad left the sausage for what it was. In the end we shared the dish my parents had with the five of us. It wasn't much, but we had a good time laughing about it afterwards. Until this day I will never, ever order a sausage again in France.
My parents divorced eventually, and I grew up in two new formations. Both my parents love food though and have raised us with a passion for food as well. Our holidays have always been centered around good eating, drinking and a lot of talking. My mom remarried and I've grown up in a house full of women, gaining three stepsisters and a stepmom. Most of my life has taken place around the kitchen table. We've ended up as a kind of a rude family, we're talking with our mouths full and don't let one another finish, which is kind of exhausting for guests. We discuss mostly everything, preferably with a good bottle of wine and the fire on. There's always, always, good food involved. We're ultimate gourmandes. To me, showing love and care is cooking for someone. It doesn't have to be fancy, it's all about the effort. The secret to good food is care, care for preparation, care for the person you're cooking for. Its how my dad cuts up the vegetables, handling a kitchen knive like a scalpel. Professional deformation, I guess. Its the care my moms invest in the table setting, decorating with candles and flowers and, when its my birthday (and almost christmas), with chocolate santa clauses (for real) and holly. Its care in the ingredients you choose. Love is the secret ingredient. You try your best, and that's what makes the food special. So to me, food equals love. If I cook for you, it means I love you. Even though I may not say it out loud.