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Over the years, I’ve found that I connect both my good memories shared with family and friends and my sad memories with particular foods that remind me of people or things, or a certain cooking experience.
I vividly remember those Thanksgivings at my grandparents' house and neighborhood cookouts that bring back happy memories from years past and time spent with the ones I love most. Many people have heart-warming memories associated with certain foods that are as warm and cozy as the kitchen the dish was cooked in. It may be their grandma’s "famous" blackberry cobbler or their mama’s homemade macaroni and cheese. Whatever it is, if the dish were made by anyone other than that person (or someone else in the family used to the tradition), it would not be nearly the same. It wouldn’t necessarily be the flavor that's off, but the sentimental factor itself.
I am exactly this way with my family’s apple brown Betty. Apple brown Betty pairs delicious cinnamon-baked Granny Smith apples with a thick, sweet crust of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Nobody can make it quite as good as my mom or grandma. This dish reminds me of sweet, enjoyable times spent with my family that I love so much, and I’d never trade anything for those comforting memories.
Sadly, there are some foods I feel connected to by memories that touch a soft, lonely spot in my heart. It may not have any impact whatsoever on another person, but for me, it would create a mixture of both happy and sad memories simultaneously. My grandfather on my dad’s side used to make s’mores with my sister and me. Now that he is gone, whenever I make s’mores, I am very sad that he passed away--but at the same time, I am happy that I have those wonderful memories I can withdraw each time I make a s’more.
I believe with all my heart and soul that many people, including myself, have clear, special memories that they link to certain foods and traditions. They may warm the heart of one while they sadden the heart of another. Each person is significantly different in this way, which makes up a part of our originality. I will let each one of these memories be special and personal to me, and I will hold them very close to my soul forever and always.
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