Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Childhood food memories - The power of food

My parents divorced when I was around a year old. My mom and I ended up in NC and my dad settled in southwest Colorado. I lived with both throughout my childhood, though I spent most of my time in NC. When I lived in Colorado, we lived close to a small town (pop. around 1000 back then) named Olathe. There wasn't much there, but they were famous for their crop of supersweet corn. The general area along Hwy 550 is dotted with these small towns and everyone looked forward to summers and Olathe corn. It was featured in specials on local menus and I have fond memories of eating it straight off the grill.

A week ago I was in my local Kroger grocery store when I spied a stand of corn on the cob. As I neared it I was able to make out the sign, Olathe Sweet Corn. That was followed by a description of where it was from, etc. because I doubt anyone in Durham has ever even heard of the little town of Olathe. I was so excited I was practically gushing. Mark was in awe of my giddyness over corn. I had to explain. Olathe corn, wow, all the way out here. They even haven an annual corn festival now that brings over 16,000 visitors to the little town. We bought four ears and headed home.

I struggled with how I wanted to prepare the corn and decided on a corn salad so that we could savor it across a few meals. I boiled the corn, scraped it off the cob and tossed it with some olive oil, a little salt, a little red wine vinegar and some garlic powder. The corn was delicious. It wasn't as juicy as I remember it from my childhood, but it did take me back. It's funny how food has that power. Music does too. Anyone else have a childhood food that they have on occasion that takes you back?

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MamaMin said...

How nice that you found a childhood memory! My grandfather used to have a farm in Michigan and during the summer I would ride out in the fields with him on the tractor. He would pull tomatoes straight off the vine, sprinkle some salt & pepper on them that he kept in the tractor and I would eat them with the warm juice just dripping down my chin. The town that he farmed in is famous for their cantalopes (Howell) - every year they have a big festival, so I used to eat lots of those, too. And the corn he grew? I've never had it as good again in my life. Sorry - that didn't really answer the question, but just reminded of my farm summers ...

girlnblack77 said...

I'm currently living about 4,400 miles from where I grew up (Army brat!) but there was an Italian restaurant with *amazing* antipasto salad. Every time I see it on a menu anywhere, I have to try it, but I've yet to find one locally that measures up to childhood memories: lettuce, thinly sliced deli sausage, black olives, oregano, red onion, and oil & vinegar, then shredded mozzarella on top. I'm sure I'm missing a few ingredients.

The other thing I've been craving lately is a big ol' gummy lump of lemon drops, like the ones that would stick together in my grandmother's candy dish in humid NC summers. lol

As an aside, the hubbie's grandfather had a farm in Kansas as an adult, and my mom-in-law and all her sisters have memories of their dad hauling a pot of boiling water out *to* the corn and boiling it on the stalk, then standing there and eating it, fresh.

Jeni said...

Great stories!! I'm glad I'm not the only one that longs for food from my past and some those things, no matter how hard I try, I just can't recreate!

Melanie Busbee said...

Very sweet story. Makes me want corn.

I have a corn memory as well.

When I was about 11 years old, my sister called me into the bathroom to do her a favor. I assumed perhaps she had run out of toilet paper. Instead she led me to the toilet and told me to gaze into it.
"See, that's what your poo looks like when you eat corn," she explained.
I hadn't remembered asking...
Nonetheless, I didn't eat corn for about 10 years after that. Thank God I've gotten over it now, because it sure is delish, no matter what it does to your bowel movements.

Jeni said...

I find it amusing that she assumed you didn't know what corn poop looked like at 11 years old hahaha! Glad you got over the trauma and can enjoy it now!!

girlnblack77 said...

Ewww! lol! I mean, ewww!

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