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Food Memories Gone Bad


Carrot Top
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Every once in a while you will hear someone say "I used to have this GREAT (some food item of some sort :biggrin: ) at so-and-so's! I loved it! It was wonderful! I got the recipe and made it and it just. does. not. taste the same. :sad: "

Often this happens with foods one has had as a child. . .

But sometimes it happens even with things you make yourself and KNOW you are making the same recipe. It just does not have the same sense of sexiness (for lack of a better word :rolleyes: ) that you remember it having.

This has happened to me several times recently with a soup that I used to LOVE. I hadn't made it for quite some time, then decided I had to have it. Made the recipe as I always used to, and :unsure: the taste did not do anything for me. As a matter of fact, it was entirely boring.

Thinking it was "just me" "just that day", I've tried it again.

Twice.

And still I can not stand this soup. :laugh:

What is this?

Do you think it is tastebuds changing? Or ingredients "not being what they used to"? Or could it possibly just be the odd trick of memory and sentiment that imbues certain foods in one's life with a taste that may be something more ethereal or more connected to emotion than "real"?

Has this ever happened to you?

What do you think is the cause of this mystery?

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Of course it could be that my cooking skills have fallen off dreadfully. . .

Or it could be that overexposure to the fast-food I allow my children to cajole me into dining (heh) upon has ruined me for anything good. . .

But still, I wonder. . . :smile:

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This actually happens to me a lot. I am religious about keeping recipes that I have made and enjoyed, with notes, if possible and now I have them all on a website. Sometimes I will make something that I KNOW I loved a few years ago, that I remember eating and enjoying and serving to guests and I just don't like it anymore. I think that my palate has changed over the years as I have exposed myself to different things. At age 46, I suddenly discover that I actually like raw onions - which I never did before.

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Okay Carrot Top I will have to "out" myself and say that a comfort food for me was my mom's tuna casserole. HEY, PUT DOWN THOSE EGGS AND ROTTEN TOMATOES, OKAY!? The woman was an amazing cook who usually made things from scratch. But she also made that infamous casserole and I not only loved it but craved it. I've tried several times to duplicate it and I just can't. It's okay, but no way does it taste the way she used to make it. I'm sure that Campbell's has changed/updated the ingredients for their soups over the years and I know that she didn't use the white albacore tuna (seems like better tuna would improve the dish).

Also, I've noticed that when I haven't made something for a while, my timing, preparation, etc. is always a little "off" even if it's something I've made many times in the past and the resultant dish shows it.

I think you're right about memory having the potential to make us look back on meals past with rose colored glasses.

BTW, what were you trying to make?

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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as an old master used to say "food is feeling"

what ruth describes has happened to me many times

excluding the psychological - emotional explanations regarding associative memories, instinctual denials and other forms of distortions of the senses

i would offer the explanation that the difference boils down to how much fun i have when i prepare a meal

when i have fun, the food tastes good

when i do it as a routine, it is just edible

athinaeos

civilization is an everyday affair

the situation is hopeless, but not very serious

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There was this lady who gave me a recipe and she insisted that I had to use a certain brand of sugar to make it turn out right. She said that her daughter in law accused her of 'tweaking' the recipe but that she knew she wasn't using the right kind of sugar. I think that somethimes things just have to be just right to get the same effect sometimes, and sometimes we don't record what it is that has to be just right.

We change, our tastes change, the way we taste things physically changes with time too.

I have some doozies of recipes that I thought were just the bomb when I was learning to cook, that now just don't pull the same weight anymore. That happens too.

Some taste combinations are great once or twice or even a few times, but just don't stand the test of time. What was the soup recipe?

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The recipe was one which started with one from Arthur Schwartz' "Soup Suppers". Armenian Meatball Soup. Then I used to add more things, including lentils - and it was the best lentil soup I've ever made.

Or so I USED to think. :biggrin:

The kids used to sort of gobble it up as if it had some secret ingredient that *only* it could hold.

Wierd.

And now I have to find a new "perfect lentil soup" recipe.

This could take years. :shock::sad::cool:

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The kids used to sort of gobble it up as if it had some secret ingredient that *only* it could hold.

Well, I guess I'd ask if the other people that used to love the soup also think the taste has changed. Or if they still love it and only you no longer do.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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It seems like our tastes, likes/dislikes, change or some times kind of ebb and flow as we age.

I like to eat certain things now, that 10 years ago I won’t even try to eat.

Conversely, there are things that I loved and now I can take them or leave them.

-------------------------

Water Boils Roughly

Cold Eggs Coagulating

Egg Salad On Rye

-------------------------

Gregg Robinson

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Gosh, Jaymes. . .I think I follow the rule I read somewhere about "Don't feed your cat anything you wouldn't eat yourself" because I just can not bring myself to serve this to the children.

It might scar them for life. :laugh:

And besides, though my son is an eleven-year-old fulsome flatterer in the best southern tradition, my daughter is thirteen years old. Need I say more? (My ego seeks places to hide from her disdain nowadays - it would be quite fearsome to feed her this stuff. :smile: )

Hey. Maybe the cat would like it. Let me think about that.

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I like to eat certain things now, that 10 years ago I won’t even try to eat.

Conversely, there are things that I loved and now I can take them or leave them.

What things, Gregg?

Mostly I am curious about the new ones that you like that you would not even try before. . .

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I've experienced this too, but I think for me it's a blessing in disguise. Two years away from processed foods and old favorites (frozen pizza, frozen breakfast foods, other convenience foods) just don't taste right. It does motivate me to make my own, though.

Also, ingredients have definitely been changing. I recall a thread about how Lea & Perrins just doesn't taste the same these days. A lot of snack foods have been changing from trans fats to saturated fats, and that could definitely change the taste and texture of things.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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You still have not shared the soup recipe.   :smile:

:laugh: Why am I hearing this said in a certain accent?

Jeez. If you really want this (terrible, to my mind) recipe, I'll post it a bit later when I can bear to think about it long enough to type it out. . . :wink:

(Edited to blandulize content.)

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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I'm sure that Campbell's has changed/updated the ingredients for their soups over the years and I know that she didn't use the white albacore tuna (seems like better tuna would improve the dish).

So in this case you do think it is specifically the ingredients that have morphed into different tastes, changed by the manufacturer, divalasvegas?

That's a drag because one can try forever to try to re-create a memory, but if they've gone and changed the basic stuff on you, then how on earth can you do it? :shock::angry:

I wonder if other brands of soup would work.

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as an old master used to say "food is feeling"

Yes, I believe that you have to cook with love to create a dish that creates love.

And I also believe that this can be done even in the professional kitchen - that food is not simply ingredients and measurement, procedures, purchasing and policies.

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Here's the recipe, Lucy - in what I call "Elizabeth David" form rather than a standardized recipe. I don't do those anymore unless someone pays me very well to perform the (to me) dreary task. :wink:

Besides, I doubt if anyone will *really* make this after my description of my own unhappiness with it, but if anyone does develop a strange hankering to do it, PM me and I'll do my best to provide better quantities/etc.

The first part of the soup was from Arthur Schwartz' recipe, as mentioned. It is a soup made from lots of chopped onions sauteed in butter then with tomato puree and water added for the base. Meatballs are made from ground beef, egg and dill - then dropped into the soup. Diced green pepper and potatoes and rice (yes, rice AND potatoes! :shock: ) are added - the seasonings are adjusted, more dill added and it simmers away till done.

A bit too tomato-y. For me. :smile:

...............................................................

The next part of the Soup I Now Hate is yet another soup. Yes, the art of combining leftovers. :rolleyes: And it worked. Then. But not today, no not today. :biggrin:

Make a lentil soup by sauteeing minced onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in olive oil till soft. . .add beef stock and lentils. . .season with oregano, cumin, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer till done. Five minutes before serving, add some chopped parsley. This soup is good on its own, though simple - served with a dollop of sour cream on top.

.................................................................

Combine the two soups in proportion of two parts meatball soup to one part lentil soup. Add some lemon juice, some orange zest, and a goodly amount of fresh ground black pepper. Stir in some hot sauce (Franks).

That's it.

.........................................................................

Might be that I've caught the "can't stand leftovers" disease.

That's not good.

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I'm sure that Campbell's has changed/updated the ingredients for their soups over the years and I know that she didn't use the white albacore tuna (seems like better tuna would improve the dish).

So in this case you do think it is specifically the ingredients that have morphed into different tastes, changed by the manufacturer, divalasvegas?

That's a drag because one can try forever to try to re-create a memory, but if they've gone and changed the basic stuff on you, then how on earth can you do it? :shock::angry:

I wonder if other brands of soup would work.

Yeah Carrot Top I'm pretty sure it's quite futile to try to recreate this exactly. What I make--haven't made it for a few years actually--isn't bad, it just doesn't provoke the same reaction, emotionally and taste-wise, as when my mom made it. And all of the "updated" tuna casseroles really leave me cold. I'm not looking for lightly grilled tuna steaks, fresh sugar snap peas, premium pasta, folded into a shallot/mushroom wine sauce with some shredded, cave aged cheddar folded in. I want that old school flavor.

I have no idea if trying another soup would help, but Campbells has definitely changed their formulations over the years.

Oh dammit, I can't help myself, I think I'll have to try again! :huh: I'll probably need to start with using the darker, cheaper tuna (whatever it's called). :hmmm:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I think there are three factors at work here (at the very least):

1) physiological changes: it is a fact that our sense of taste changes at different points of our life. Things taste different to a 6-year old than a 40-year old (even if you don't smoke, which is bad for the buds).

2) formulation of prepared foods as ingredients (touched on by several people above). Can you say MSG? huh, what's that? And forget about all the better living thru chemistry crap that is done to our food. All those additives with chemical formulas that resemble toxic waste.

3) guilt or unreasonable expectations...we can't enjoy foods now because we know they are "bad" for us or just because maybe we are "foodies" now and think the flavors are just not tasting right because they are one-dimensional and we've become jaded and expect more.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I think there are three factors at work here (at the very least):

1) physiological changes: it is a fact that our sense of taste changes at different points of our life. Things taste different to a 6-year old than a 40-year old (even if you don't smoke, which is bad for the buds).

2) formulation of prepared foods as ingredients (touched on by several people above). Can you say MSG? huh, what's that? And forget about all the better living thru chemistry crap that is done to our food. All those additives with chemical formulas that resemble toxic waste.

3) guilt or unreasonable expectations...we can't enjoy foods now because we know they are "bad" for us or just because maybe we are "foodies" now and think the flavors are just not tasting right because they are one-dimensional and we've become jaded and expect more.

1. No doubt. I know I have neither the appetite for, nor the stomach for, many thing besides food that used to appeal to me. :sad:

2. I not so sure about this. As far as I know, the Periodic Table of the Elements isn't divided into organic and synthetic sections. There are certainly chemicals and compounds that are harmful, but there are plenty of things in Nature that can kill us too. :shock:

I actually like MSG. Vegeta, made in Croatia, is the "secret seasoning" in many of my favorite dishes. :smile:

3. This is probably the biggest factor. We out-think ourselves. To a certain degree our tastes have matured and become more refined, but this should allow us to appreciate simple pleasures all the more? :unsure:

SB :cool:

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Yeah Carrot Top I'm pretty sure it's quite futile to try to recreate this exactly.  What I make--haven't made it for a few years actually--isn't bad, it just doesn't provoke the same reaction, emotionally and taste-wise, as when my mom made it.  And all of the "updated" tuna casseroles really leave me cold.  I'm not looking for lightly grilled tuna steaks, fresh sugar snap peas, premium pasta, folded into a shallot/mushroom wine sauce with some shredded, cave aged cheddar folded in.  I want that old school flavor.

I have no idea if trying another soup would help, but Campbells has definitely changed their formulations over the years.

Oh dammit, I can't help myself, I think I'll have to try again! :huh:  I'll probably need to start with using the darker, cheaper tuna (whatever it's called). :hmmm:

It's called "chunk light", honey.

I've got kids that have been exposed to it.  :cool:

Yeah, I was going to post earlier (but got interrupted and forgot) that using the cheap chunk light tuna probably makes a bigger difference than you might think. Not only is its flavor stronger, but its softer texture means more of it will disintegrate into the sauce. Also--did your mom use tuna packed in water or in oil? Even extremely well-drained, that would still make a major flavor difference, I would think.

Meanwhile, I'm hard-pressed to think of any specific food item that fails to thrill me the way it did when I was a little kid, but I reckon that there may indeed be a whole bunch. I just think of what my dad used to do to steaks on the barbeque, for instance, which we all used to wolf down like there was no tomorrow, and I just know that nowadays I would feel a lot less enthusiastic about those carboniferous chunks of tortured cow. :laugh:

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Chunk Light Tuna! That's it Carrot Top. :smile: Thanks.

Once again MizDucky you nailed it: she used the oil packed tuna (both my mother and I both hated water packed tuna of any variety) and I can see why that would make a difference indeed since perhaps the different fats: oil from tuna, whatever fat used in the Campbells soup at the time, the fat content of cheese (she always added cheese) and the little dots of butter on top might have come together make something quite different from what I attempted.

And as for some things I loved as a child (or younger adult even) and detest now, the main one I can think of right now is vienna sausages: loved them then, hate them now. I'm sure there have got to be at least one or two eG threads devoted to that very same topic and more loved it then, hate it now foods on my list.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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