Sweet (and spicy and salty and bitter) memories

Photo: Lily is eating chocolate/tofu/avocado pudding. I tried to give her tiny bites on a nearly empty spoon, but she scraped every last trace off of that pesky utensil.

Because so many of the ladies in my life are pregnant right now (congratulations and yowza– is there something in the glorious water out west? :)), this article (read it here: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/08/139033757/babys-palate-and-food-memories-shaped-before-birth) definitely caught my eye and raised some questions: Do certain foods comfort us because they’re some perfectly necessary combination of sweet/salty/melty/gooey, or do they make us feel better because incarnations of the recipes we love soothed the gals who grew us (I’m talking about you, tater-tot hot dish)? Might those seemingly senseless pregnancy-related food aversions impact a child’s early preferences– and, ultimately, their later-in-life tastes? And could my once-a-week-while-expecting trips to Jasmine Fusion for coconut red curry tofu or the Hip Pocket Deli for the most delicious tzaziki sauce in all of creation really explain Lily’s love of spice and garlic and salty feta cheese?

It looks like recent research points to yes– and I guess my (always in the mood for food) gut concurs. And the fact that advances in industry and technology (and a little phenomenon called globalization, I suppose) make it much easier to find edible items from all over the planet is also pretty amazing (and, of course, problematic– but my tunnel vision here is conscious :)). Kiwi in Colorado? Certainly. Rainier cherries in Texas? No problem! Hatch green chile sauce in rural Mississippi? Sure… if you’re willing to pay $5 a can. And while I’m a huge proponent of supporting local farmers, buying seasonal produce, and using natural resources responsibly, there is a piece of me that also loves knowing that there is this whole new generation of kiddos who will get to have all of these internationally-inspired food and flavor experiences. It makes me feel a little more…connected, I guess. To the rest of the world, to the cultures and belief systems that help to shape our own respective corners of that world, and to the people– both near and far– who help to make it such an amazing and beautiful (and totally tasty!) place.

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