There have been studies on muscle memory - how about food memory?
My family is grappling with Alzheimer's issues, and I made a trip up to Virginia this weekend. My loved one recognizes me as a safe person who cares about him but, frankly, has no idea how he might have made my acquaintance.
Until I mentioned meatloaf. On my previous trips I've always made a few and tucked them away in the freezer to be used as Gift Food is used - when you're too busy to cook or when you really need to know that someone loves you enough to spend ten minutes making sure you eat properly. He has just always had a thing for my meatloaf.
So when I mentioned it his face lit up - that's who she is! She's The Meatloaf Lady! I'm honored that it made an impression, and that there's something he remembers positively about me when so very much of his memory is inaccessible to him. It was also a good reminder that I don't want my dinner memories 50 years from now to be triggered by the smell of Smartfood popcorn while I'm doing 65 down the highway.
While I was in Virginia I stopped by my old college hangout and ordered my favorite salad. Talk about food triggering a memory! It turns out that salad is really good when you're not sleep deprived and/or hung over. Once back in Atlanta I made my own version and it made me so happy that I immediately put together another to bring to work for lunch.
And as for the rest of the trip... know how you can tell a wedding has a lot of AA members? They run out of WATER at the bar.
Stephanie's "Feel Smug About Eating Healthfully" Salad
Grilled Chicken (I used some Trader Joe's Mojito Simmer Sauce) OR Grilled Steak (I made some for Sweetie, using a little Caribbean jerk seasoning)
Sliced strawberries (they didn't seem to go with beef, so I left them off the salad w/steak. That sounds reasonable and not at all like I was keeping all the strawberries for myself, doesn't it?)
The original had cubes of Jack and Cheddar cheeses, but I'm hoping I saved a few calories by using less feta than I would cubed cheese. The restaurant served a raspberry vinaigrette with it that I didn't much care for. Your choice of dressing is going to depend largely on how you season the chicken or steak.
Oh, and I suppose it's appropriate to include the meatloaf how-to's... I've actually never eaten this myself, but when my friends started having babies I learned to make it as a good post-hospital dinner. It's entirely possible my friends BS'ed me when they said they liked it, but there's a sweet senior citizen about 8 hours away who couldn't be lying on this one.
Ground meat - 2 parts beef, one part pork
1 8-oz. can of tomato sauce
Oregano, thyme, onion powder or granulated onion, and black pepper
A few dashes of Frank's Red Hot sauce
Combine all with your hands. Shape into a loaf and put into loaf pan. Brush a mixture of ketchup and barbecue sauce on the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.