Tastes from childhood

A few weeks ago, Tuesdays with Laurie posted about Plans & Projects. She said that she was getting “That itch to empty the house and scrub it from top to bottom. Only putting half of everything back in and donating the rest.”

At the time, the fullness of what COVID-19 would become was not clear. “I won’t be scrubbing my house,” I thought. “I’ll be free, outside, in the spring!”

More fool me.

We’ve been social distancing for two weeks. I’ve been tackling plans and projects that I thought I’d be leaving until fall.

I cleaned my fridge. At the back corner of the top shelf of the fridge I found a jar of chokecherry jelly that I had bought at a Christmas craft fair. I’d forgotten about it.

(Remember when we could have craft fairs?)

This morning I had chokecherry jelly on toast. The flavour transported me instantly back to my childhood on the farm.

Toast with butter and chokecherry jelly
Toast with butter and chokecherry jelly

My brothers and I would pick the bitter fruit from trees that grew wild along our fences. The tiny red berries always looked so good. I’d put one in my mouth and screw up my face because of the bitter flavour.

My mother would take our buckets of chokecherries, boil them and add sugar. She’d strain the juice through cloth, and from that came a jelly with the distinctive flavour I love.

It’s one of my tastes of childhood.

There are others: fried bologna, fat green onions straight from the garden, biscuits and brown sugar.

What are your favourite childhood foods?

16 thoughts on “Tastes from childhood

  1. Ally Bean

    Quince jam. That’s a taste from my childhood. And lemon meringue pie. Another childhood food that reminds me instantly of my mother. Also, chipped beef on toast. That was a supper staple in our home. Great question.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Interesting list. The only one I’m familiar with is lemon meringue pie. I wouldn’t recognize a quince if someone put one on my keyboard right now. (It is a fruit, right?) And chipped beef on toast? I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I’ll look it up!

      1. Ally Bean

        Quince is a fruit that tastes somewhere between a pear and an apple. It look like a pear, sort of, and is incredibly hard. It makes for a good jam or jelly. Not that we made it at home, it was a store-bought treat.

  2. lynneottawa

    Fried bologna is one of mine too especially if it’s served with potatoes and carrots that are mashed together. I felt the “need” for some this week and picked some up πŸ™‚

    Strawberry freezer jam, bread and butter pickles are others that transport me back in time.

    Thanks for this great post – it was fun to think about!

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Oh yes, we used to do the potatoes and carrots together sometimes too. Usually the potatoes would be what we called “warmed over potatoes,” as in leftover mashed potatoes from the night before fried in a pan with butter. Your pickles reminded me of icicle pickles that used to show up at church suppers. Bright green!

  3. marianbeaman

    Hubby and I have cleaned out the fridge, I’ve hosed down the wicker stand in the bedroom choked with books, the ones inside a reed basket thick with dust. Then I organized the space (first aid and dental supplies stored nilly willy) underneath the bathroom vanity. Felt good.

    I remember Mother straining grapes through a cloth like one pictured here to make concentrated grape juice from the vines curling around the pergola in the backyard. I’ve never heard of chokeberry, but it looks delicious. You are a wise user of time, Arlene, and great at evoking nostalgic feelings. πŸ™‚

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Ha ha, yes, I’m trying to work systematically, room by room, but it’s not really working. There are a surprising number of distractions in this social distancing time. I was wondering if chokecherries would be familiar to everyone. I looked it up, and apparently it is common across most of North America. I guess I was lucky to have trees close at hand.

  4. Janet Givens

    We have chokecherries here, but all quite young. Our permaculture landscaper had us add them when we moved here. But we also have lots of rose hips from the wild Rosa rugosas and I make rose hip jelly In much the same way your mom made your Chokecherries. Tastes from childhood? Chipped beef on toast, like Ally (it’s salty). And scalloped ham & potatoes. Good memories all. Thanks.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      You know, until you mentioned it, I never thought that I could plant one. I’ll investigate. And two votes for chipped beef on toast – how interesting. I’m fairly certain that is not something that Canadians eat. None that I know, anyway. But scalloped potatoes, oh yes. I thought of that one after I made my list, and it’s a childhood memory for sure.

  5. roughwighting

    I never heard of chokecherries, but since I love all jams, I bet I’d love this one too. Always better when it’s a childhood flavor. Mine? Yikes, I hate to admit it, but when my parents went out on Saturday nights and left my brother and me with a babysitter, we always had turkey and stuffing TV dinners (remember them?) Awful stuff, but my brother and I devoured it. πŸ™‚

      1. roughwighting

        Funny. My dad ate bologna til the day he died – and when I used to shop for him, he insisted I buy the cheapest. ;-0 But that’s what he had as a child…

  6. Shreya Chaudhari

    Well well, the title itself turned me to check out what’s cooking πŸ˜…
    As I’m a foodie, I like all the combinations of snacks and jam. It’s just evergreen. Thanks for mouthwatering 😁


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