Monday, August 25, 2003

Apricots on the NIle and Food Memoires

Apricots on the NileI've been reading a number of food oriented books lately. I think the one that got me started was Apricots on the Nile--A memoir with recipes by Colette Rossant. A travelogue, a coming of age story and a recipe book all in one; the author deftly weaves the story of her family, and her memories of growing up in France and Egypt with the sensual pleasures of eating and cooking. It's a wonderful slim volume that quickly pulls you in, perfect for a vacation read.

The next two books I read were courtesy of my sister-in-law Lori and I would recommend them both as well. Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table by Ruth Reichl and the sequel Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table. The books are very similar to Rossant's book in format, only they take place mainly in the US and cover a much longer time span. Respectively they are much weightier tomes as well.

The books have really gotten me thinking about my own memories. Not that I'm inspired to write my memoirs quite yet, but some of my earliest memories are of food. The only memories I have of pre-school are of hating egg salad sandwiches with black olives that we had for a snack and of making butter by riding tricycles with Gerber baby food jars filled with cream attached to the handlebars. The only other memory I can conjure up is singing my favorite song, "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree", which come to think of it is about an Australian bird eating gum drops... I remember even less of kindergarten oddly enough. What I do remember is being tremendously proud of making icing painted graham crackers as a snack for "open house-parents night".

I am still very proud of my of culinary endeavors. It's one of the greatest joys of cooking, sharing your creations with those you love.