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Even though it’s August, it wasn’t until last week that I had two summer staples: rootbeer floats and B.L.T.s (although, in my case it was a B.A.T. – bacon, avocado and tomato). They’re nostalgic, to be sure, but still deeply satisfying as an adult. Modifications may be made to accommodate more mature palates, perhaps better (or more exotic) ingredients are used and yet the end results bring us back to very precise, very personal memories.

I’ve recently been focusing on a series of essays about food and memory with the goal of having ten completed by September so that my friend Megan and I can start testing recipes to include at the end of each essay. As of the publication of this blog entry, I have finished five.  Each one is dedicated to a specific meal:  chicken and dumplings, lasagna and scones (under the theme of carb loading), steak and frites, pad thai, and peas (used on a garden-style pizza).

As I write them, I’m drawn backwards in time to very specific memories: a square of light from the kitchen window, the color of my mother’s dress, how the air-conditioning felt after coming in from the outside. They’re summer memories for sure, and probably only special to me, but I’m curious as to how powerful they are – as if by recreating these meals, I’m remembering something I had lost.

And what about you? What meal or beverage takes you back in time and reminds you of your childhood summers?

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