One of the greatest things about food is not always how good or pretty it is, but more importantly the memories associated with it. I believe that for most people their best memories of food and their favorite meals are those from their childhood. The phrase “No one makes it like Mama makes it” springs to mind.
Everyone has their favourite thing that mom used to make. No matter how hard you try to replicate it, it never tastes the same. For me, my absolute favourite thing is my mom’s Mac n Cheese. It would be a death bed request without a doubt. I have made Mac n Cheese over a thousand times at least and I would like to think that mine is pretty damn good. Yet, it still doesn’t taste quite like Mom’s. There is one and only one reason for that, it has to do with the memories associated with it.
My brother and I went to boarding school at quite an early age and our first request for dinner when we were coming on holidays was always Mac n Cheese. This was always a sign that we were home and back together as a family. It always set the tone for a good holiday. Still to this day, we both make requests for her Mac n Cheese. It is such a comforting reminder of home and all those times we were on holiday after a school term.
One of the funny things about Mac n Cheese, is that it is quite controversial in our household. My dad absolutely despises it! What’s more ironic is that he hates it because of boarding school! I’m not sure I can blame him. I can only imagine what the Mac n Cheese was like at a boarding school in South Africa in the 1950s. Powdered cheese, a sorry excuse for macaroni and in reality, no one ever actually likes the food at boarding school.
This is one of the wonderful things about food, it is so polarizing for so many reasons. Many of them simple and mostly emotional. ‘Comfort Food’ is called just that for a reason. It is made with love, it comes from a place of caring and takes you back to some of you best memories in life. As much as I love fine dining and creating new ideas, nothing beats the Comfort Food that mom makes.
I would love to hear from all of you. Your favourites, the ones that you ate just to be polite, please share them all. If you are so confident in your mom’s ability by all means share a recipe and a picture. I can put a little book together of the best dish’s moms have to offer and possibly teach a class using them!