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Chorizo & Egg. Smell & Memory

November 7, 2010

Certain types of food, particular dishes, and aromas created from cooking are all synonymous with memory and nostalgia.

When the seasons change, when the clocks go back, memories come forward. Nostalgia strikes for me with the arrival of the first cold front at the beginning of Fall, after a long and scorching hot Summer. Throw in an old Morrissey song, anything from an early Roots album, or the intro to Paul’s Boutique and I’m immediately taken back to long past days of adventurous weekends with friends. Those weekends never seemed to end. Even if some of the friendships did.

I’m generally moved by Fall: the light, the weather and the cuisine it conjures.

I’ve decided Halloween might quite possibly be my favorite Holiday. On November the 2nd, I’m thoughtful about setting up an altar to honor my relatives who have passed. This year was no exception. I lit a white candle, made sure a tall glass was filled with water. I offered sweets, a stack of tortillas and a bundle of red grapes. I wonder if they could see me doing it.

I’m romanced by the idea of spending cozy nights indoors, watching funny films or scary ones (if permitted). I usually can’t wait to bring out my vintage pea coat and wearing it with old Levis jeans and white Converses. I genuinely enjoy wearing long socks under suede riding boots (I don’t ride, but I love the boots). I love hiking on a sunny and cool day. The sound of crisp leaves that have fallen off their branch. Holding hot chocolate with leather-gloved hands. The smell of mesquite wood burning. Soft scarves tied at the neck. Apple desserts, Apple cider, and caramel Apples rolled in pecans. Red wine braised short ribs, with truffled polenta and roasted Brussels sprouts. A board game on a table, with slices of pumpkin pie and absolutely no rush to go anywhere.

This morning in the kitchen, I took a ride down memory lane. Willingly. It is a Fall memory and a pleasant one at that. I’m fascinated with the Science of smell and how it triggers memory.

I’ve become accustomed to making my own breakfast tacos at home. The concept is simply not popular here as it is in Texas. In other words, it doesn’t exist. I’m toying with tapping the virgin market of morning tacos and peddling a cart through the City (or in one locale). Maybe I’ll sing the ingredients to wake up the morning commuters.

Some kids grew up eating bacon and eggs with toast. For me, it was potato and egg on a flour tortilla with a glass of orange juice.

Barbacoa tacos were a common after Church meal on Sundays. My mother hated Barbacoa tacos. My father and I gobbled them up. And I still remember the first time my mother pushed my father into telling me what Barbacoa really was. I guess she thought that after I found out, I’d be so disgusted I wouldn’t eat it any more. I wasn’t fazed and I politely asked to be passed a tortilla, to make another taco.

On some Saturdays,my mom would cook Chorizo and egg tacos with sliced tomato on top. At the time I preferred the mixture on a flour tortilla. I later switched to corn. The smell of Chorizo cooking in a hot pan is so distinct, so delicious, and so familiar.

It had been a while since I’ve smelled it. I took me right back to my mother’s kitchen and I liked the feeling it conjured. It smelled like breakfast on the weekend. It smelled like cooler weather. It smelled like laughter and good times. It smelled like I could dig in the dirt outside before coming in to do my homework.

I know my mother enjoys a good Chorizo and egg taco, but I can’t help but wonder if she cooks it more for the smell than the taste. I can’t help but wonder if, when she is cooking Chorizo, she is also transported, back to her mother’s kitchen in Raymondville.

Chorizo and Egg on corn tortilla with Early Girl heirloom tomatoes

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One Comment leave one →
  1. NeneKat permalink
    November 16, 2010 10

    Loved this entry. Those were the days of my restless youth as well. I remember grape cool-aid and your white down comforter with Ruthless curled up on top of it. Cleaning the house in Barton Hills while you blared Digable Planets ‘I am cool like that’…..the pawned violin to go see a show, the smoke and the smell of sandalwood.

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