The best scene in one of my all-time favorite movies, Ratatouille, is when Anton Ego – the pompous and scary food critic whose reviews could make or break restaurants – walks in to Gusteau restaurant.
Linguini (in fact, it’s Remy the rat) prepared a simple dish of ratatouille, a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, for him. With one taste, Anton’s eyes open wide in wonder-filled bewilderment as the camera zooms into his pupils and takes us deep into Ego’s past where we see him as a little boy in a fond memory of his mother serving him ratatouille. This scene is genuinely tender, and when the camera zooms back out we see that the dish has awakened more than just a kindly childhood memory, but also the child himself long buried in Anton Ego.
Anyone who doubts the power of food to bring back good old memories should only try smelling hot bibingkas and puto bumbong and tell me if it doesn’t bring memories of something or someone flooding back.
For me, it’s the smell of toasted bread heavily spread with Star Margarine and sugar and the smell of kape puro which my father used to prepare for us in the morning before sending us off to school, that brings back happy childhood memories. The smell of M&Ms gives me the same effect too. These were definitely pre-Healthy Options days!
We all have our food memories, some good and some bad. The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of place and moment. Food is an effective trigger of deeper memories of feelings and emotions, and our internal states of the mind and body at the time. Therefore, I believe it’s important for parents with young children to create special food memories for them by spending some quality time in the kitchen. It would be so sad and tragic if your children have only “happy” memories of fast-food places.
Please share your food memories by emailing me. We’ll publish the TEN Best stories in our future issues. Cheers!
Best of health,