Many people’s special childhood memories centre on the kitchen and food preparation.
In New Zealand we are lucky enough to have a smorgasbord of rich culinary influences from all around the world and whether your special memory is of something sweet, savoury, salty, sour, or umami, food memories evoke feelings of warmth, comfort and belonging.
Whether you are a master baker, or a bit intimidated by anything other than your usual repertoire, creating special kitchen memories for your family doesn’t need to involve detailed and complex recipes because the main ingredient is love.
Here are five simple ways you can cook up wonderful family memories.
1. It’s just what we do
When your children are small and home for every meal, three times a day (plus snacks), it can be almost impossible to imagine the day when they won’t be. But time waits for no-one and before long you will be wondering exactly where the kids are and if they are coming home for a meal. Friends, sport, hobbies and socialising will all take them away from home and so planning to have everyone present and correct for at least one family meal a week will create a special time for you to all catch up and debrief.
Whether it’s Friday Night Fish, the Sunday Roast, or any version that suits your family, if you get into the routine and your family come to expect it (especially if it incorporates a favourite dish) you will be able to enjoy their company in the years to come.
If a weekly routine seems a bit much, creating a tradition around an annual event can have just as many memories attached to it. Matariki, Easter, Hanukkah, Halloween, Chinese New Year, Christmas, and many more are celebrations that may be significant to you and which you can create a special food tradition around.
2. Your signature dish
Even though you are no doubt catering for a variety of food likes and dislikes, creating a signature dish that (most of) the family loves, will give them the warm fuzzies and thoughts of home whenever they eat it in the future.
What is the dish that makes you most think of your childhood? Sharing your special childhood memories with your own family is a gift of tradition and belonging.
3. Share the love
It’s no secret that having kids help in the kitchen can be a frustrating exercise. If you are not one to have them measuring and pouring, pop them on a stool and chat and give them an easy job such as being the official taster, the one to grease the baking pan, cutting the beans, or pulling the herb leaves off the stems.
Once they are old enough to follow simple steps encourage them to have their own ‘signature dish’ – something they can make with little or no supervision such as an ever popular brownie, ambrosia, bacon and egg pie, or macaroni cheese.
When they have their favourite recipe down-pat, they can then start to experiment.
4. Birthday cakes
Looking back at the photos of your child blowing out candles on the cake each year is a special timeline of their growth, fashions, and hair styles!
Whether you love to put in hours creating a stunning masterpiece, or simply like to scatter a few lollies and candles, the birthday cake is the centre of any family celebration.
5. Breakfasts / weekend sleep in and brunch
Weekends or holidays can be celebrated with a leisurely brunch cooked and enjoyed with the luxury of a bit more time than your regular weekday routine allows. Fresh muffins, scones, pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, breakfast tortilla – mmm so many different, delicious possiblities!
What are your favourite kitchen memories?
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”