Did you know that three of our five senses take us back …faster …down our personal memory lanes? They are sound, taste, and smell. In fact this post today is a testimony to this scientific observation.
Our Chick-fil-A in Summerville just recently reopened after a very long, extended period of renovation. I woke up yesterday morning wanting the mini-chicken rolls and hash browns for breakfast… I could smell them in my mind before they handed me my bag! What a great way to start the day and week!
As I was happily munching away at the kitchen table… a piano commercial popped up on the television screen … contending that they had developed a new system of learning the keys to replace ‘ Heart and Soul.’
As the old familiar melody flooded the den I found myself playing the imaginary keys to the melody while remembering my brother Ben-more musically gifted- playing the higher creative key accompaniment in the duet. The day was still young and so far I had been pulled down memory lane through smell and sound and taste!
*** Interesting historical tidbit on Heart and Soul( first created by Hoagy Carmichael) – composer who also wrote ” Stardust” and ” Georgia on My Mind.” ( 1939) Two years later… Frank Loesser added the lyrics…and decided on the name ‘ Heart and Soul.’
Today most people don’t remember the lyrics but do remember how to play the melody and can still do the duet! Carmichael and Loesser put the song in a short subject film … the film wasn’t that great but the song ( sung by teenager Bea Wain) went to Number 1 on the Hit Parade… the rest is history! An unforgettable memory for many of us learning how to play the piano.
My favorite culinary memory will always be mother’s chicken and dumplings. Mother always cut up left-over chicken breasts from other chicken casseroles and stored in the freezer along with real chicken broth, as well as, Swanson’s broth and chicken bouillon cubes.
Even though we knew the dish by chicken and dumplings… mother always referred to the dumplings as pastries. She made them from rolled homemade dough and cut them into rectangles which she slowly dropped into the hot simmering pot of cut up chicken pieces, chicken broths, butter and as a last minute touch … some cream she kept for her morning coffee. What made her chicken and dumplings so tasty was her secret of making them ” thin to win” They weren’t chunky and doughy but more like a scrumptious pasta with a southern kick.
If I ever am asked what dish from my childhood best symbolized security, comfort, and love it was ( and will always be) mother’s chicken and dumplings. The best smell, taste, and bubbling sound cooking on top of the stove in the old black iron/clad pot!
So until tomorrow… I think ” soul food” is color-blind since it also borders on the heart- it is universal culinary memories, stories, and recipes. It is our legacy given to us by those we loved and whose culinary memories still make us feel special …bringing us comfort and joy.
Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh