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Friday, August 28, 2015

What did your childhood taste like?

This morning a box that looked full of big, round greenish pink overstuffed grapes sat on my desk. "What are these?" I asked my assistant.
"Oh, they are muscadines. Someone gave them to Ivy and with their thick skins and big seeds, she said they were too tough to swallow. She left them for us." I opened up the plastic container and popped a plump, juicy ping pong ball sized piece of heaven in my mouth.

With the first bite, as the juices burst into my mouth, I immediately recognized the unique smell, that old familiar fragrance as the musky sweetness infiltrated my nostrils. Instantaneously my mind skipped back thirty five years and I was running through my childhood backyard, wrestling the waist-high vines with the green, palm sized leaves that got caught in our shoelaces and the pockets of our dungarees. Back then us kids called them "wild grapes." I remembered biting into their thick skins, sucking the sweet layer off the inside as the slimy inner portion floated over my tongue. Since no one liked the sour inside we would have contests to see who could spit the slimy balls the farthest. Many a mud pie was made with a secret "real" ingredient that grew wildly abundant in the overgrown pastures of Eastern Massachusetts, making my backyard recipes that much more appealing.

I probably hadn't eaten a muscadine since I was seven but today I tasted my childhood again. What did your childhood taste like?

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