Flavors to Remember

Everybody eats.

This summer, we're compiling a feast. We invite patients, families and friends of Memory & Movement Charlotte to share the recipes they love - the ones passed down from one generation to the next, served on special occasions, and the foods that nourish us day after day in every way.  The flavors we remember.

MMC's summer interns will compile the recipes into a cookbook that will be available at the clinic this fall.

Do you have a recipe to share?

“Ricotta cheese cookies - a strange combination, I know, but one afternoon as a little girl my grandmother and I decided to give the recipe a shot. Heaps of lumpy ricotta cheese and flour turned into deliciously ugly cookies artfully topped with sugar frosting and rainbow sprinkles. What started as a toddler’s piqued interest in a cooking magazine has since turned into a yearly tradition. In fact, whenever I smell ricotta cheese in any form fond memories of Grandma Pat seem to pop up instantaneously.”

We’ve all had that moment when you bite into something and memories pop up that you don’t even remember having in the first place. The type of nostalgia that comes flooding back irrespective of place or time. Maybe it’s a lunch item a parent always used to pack you as a child or a cultural dish which smells of a home away from home. Food nostalgia like the scenario described above even has a name - the Proust Phenomenon - named after Marcel Proust’s novel In Search of Lost Time where he is transported back to his childhood after eating a madeleine cookie with lemon tea.

Food and memories are distinctly connected through smell. When you smell food, your olfactory bulb picks up all of the different scents and communicates directly with your amygdala and hippocampus - the parts of your brain responsible for emotion and memory. Therefore, food memories often have emotional ties like the wave of calm you feel when eating your favorite comfort food or excitement preparing a drink you used to have with friends in college.

Food is also a large part of what makes up traditions like birthdays, religious holidays, and major milestones. A Spanish phrase that perfectly captures this sense of wholeness during a meal is sobremesa. While the word literally translates to ‘upon the table,’ it is often used to describe the time after dessert has been eaten when you spend hours relaxing and talking around the dinner table. I like to think of sobremesa as a profound sense of belonging - one which we hope this cookbook brings to your family table.

With love,

Hannah Barnes a Member of the MMC Family