Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood food. And so I sit and write with a bowl of salty homemade popcorn, just the way I used to make it growing up.
It’s the simple foods I long for most like Sunday morning white poppy seed bagels with butter and marmite, ate as I sat on our porch in the sun with the Sunday Times “Finders Keepers” challenge. I still feel the tingle in my throat of the sparkling litchi juice drunk with my brothers after gobbling smuggled-in crisps and chocolates – is there anything more delicious than the forbidden? Maybe sweet and juicy mangoes with the stickiness and sweetness they deposited round the lips, and the orange-tint they left on my little face.
Actually all my senses have been attacked and the aroma of a recent gift of hand cream is whirling me back to our weekly walk in the park (Zoo Lake) as I excitedly opened the wrapper to the creamiest strawberry coconut ice-cream. And then there was my first taste of a rice cake (brown, no salt added). “Interesting,” I thought as I experienced their chewy almost-nothingness but I quite liked them (especially with lots of butter and honey) – much to my health-conscious mom’s delight – and they soon became a fixed feature in my lunchbox.
Nostalgia! I am wistful for my childhood years and even more so, for my childhood foods. Nothing tastes as good right now – this almost identical popcorn I’m munching on isn’t filling the gap.
But I will try to really taste the new foods and the now, for the funny thing is that one day, I may just be dreaming back and yearning for my bewildering days as a new immigrant and their unique and spicy Middle Eastern flavour. Bon Appetit!