|Too little green tea for the photo shoot because I was afraid the rice would disintegrate.|
|The drama was in the shaking of the rice ball ...|
Food has the power to evoke all kinds of memories. After all, the sense of smell is linked to the limbic system, the emotional and oldest part of the brain. Therefore when I eat or smell something familiar, it will summon the flavors of 'home'.
Many flavors make my limbic memory go into over-drive ; the 'dense' smell of methane lamps which I associate with bird’s nest mobile drink stalls ( found at wayang shows ) or the aroma of pandan and ginger which makes me think of sweet potato soup.
In the Japanese food drama ‘Osen’, the main character who is a chef makes a ‘rice ball’ by shaking a lump of cooked rice cupped in 2 bowls, something that she used to do as a kid. When formed, it is topped up with a mound of bonito flakes flavored with shoyu and hand ground wasabi and then served in green tea. It looks like a poor man’s meal but the flavors of bonito brought her happy memories.
I am unsure if there is such a dish in mainstream Japanese food but I like the story very much. It rings of romance of a different kind – being in love with the simplicity of food and the memories of old.
What about you? What kind of smells and tastes bring up wonderful memories?