Some of my most special memories of my childhood are linked to certain aromas from the kitchen. On Sunday mornings my dad would make a big breakfast, eggs, bacon, potatoes (crinkly fries dipped in egg yolks...mmm), toast and orange juice. Sunday nights my mom would make roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and peas...one of my favorite childhood meals. I used to like to mix it all together and make a big mountain on my plate. Sometimes my dad would make a big pot of Chili or homemade soup. I loved the aromas that came out of my kitchen on the weekends. I looked forward to them.
My maternal grandmother was an excellent baker and cook. She was Portuguese, born and raised in the Hawaiian islands. My favorite times of the year were anytime she made Portuguese Sweetbread! I loved going over to her house (she lived next door) and seeing all the loaves of bread, buns, and twisted rolls laying out on her table. The aroma in that kitchen was indescribable. She would make the dough one day, get up in the middle of the night several times to punch it down, and bake the bread the next. It truly was an act of love on her part. Christmas and Easter were traditional times for her to make her bread, and that was just as exciting to me as presents, or an Easter basket. Our traditional Christmas breakfast consisted of fried eggs, Linquica,Vinha d' alhos(a marinated pork), and Sweetbread. I was in heaven. I loved to toast my bread and put butter on it, with nothing else. I also liked her twisted rolls that had sugar on them. I have such fond memories of my grandmother and her cooking. I associate family, love, and nurturing with the food that my grandmother prepared. She put a lot of love into everything she cooked. We had big family meals in her dining room. Most of her meals would include white rice, which she always had a fresh pot of. My favorite "grandma meals" were, fish and rice (fish with a red sauce), corned beef and rice (canned corned beef in a tomato based sauce with potatoes and peas served over the rice), and Lentil soup. The meals would end with a pot of tea, home made cake, and conversation. It was a wonderful way to come together as a family. I inherited my love for cooking from her. Cooking and entertaining my friends and family are the way that I show my love for them. My memories of my childhood and the family kitchen are sweet ones. I only hope that my own children's, and grandchildren (wishful thinking here) memories are just as precious as the one's that I have of my own childhood.