I left home when I was 14 (There's a point to all this reminiscing, I'm getting there.) and had to learn to eat slightly different foods, but basically I was the cook so I could keep making the same things as I grew up with.
When I was in my early 20's I was living very close to my mom again, and we started having Sunday dinners together. My mom made a cabbage stew which I had always loved, so I asked her to make it one week.
Imagine my shock and horror when I took a big bite and it tasted drastically different than my memory! It wasn't what I had expected at all. While I wasn't mad, I did find myself upset, and I felt a little betrayed. How could she ruin it like that?
Turns out she had learned from her previous husband to add a can of V-8 juice to the recipe. Well, my tender taste buds thought that was a really bad idea. I don't think I ate any of the offending stew.
Why would I feel betrayed? I've been thinking about it. We form memories and attachments to certain smells and tastes. Taste and smell seem to get locked in.
For example, I went outside yesterday and that distinctive spring rain smell was in the air. You probably know it. It's really clean and fresh. I used to think it was ozone but I heard on The Naked Scientists that it's actually spores released by the rain into the air. That smell makes me feel optimistic and happy, maybe because Spring is my favorite time of year.
It seems that my mood can be changed by what is in the air, especially when it involves food. If it evokes good memories, like pumpkin pie or cookies baking in the oven, it's just the best thing ever. I guess that's what people call Comfort Food - stuff that evokes good memories.
I thought it was interesting that it seemed like high treason for my mom to just change her age old recipes. We had many discussions after that regarding food. I wanted to make sure she would make her pumpkin pies exactly like she used to, or not put anything funny in the mashed potatoes.
Bless her heart, she never tried to make the cabbage stew with V-8 juice again, when I was there. Now I live far away again, but every holiday season, I make sure to ask her how she is making the sweet potatoes. I don't tolerate insurrection lightly!
Do you have any foods that you need and expect to taste a certain way, especially if made by your mother/father/grandmother/etc? Has a parental figure ever changed the way they made a food suddenly? If so, did you find it discomfiting? Or am I just overly sensitive?