Throughout my childhood the fridge was rarely without a tub of a homemade butter substitute called “better butter.” My mom made this by combining sticks of butter with canola oil and lecithin granules and something else, possibly nonfat dry milk?, in the food processor and pouring it into reusable plastic containers. This detail popped into my head unbidden recently and it made me feel very nostalgic and sentimental about my childhood, and also about my mom. Imagine being so concerned with your family’s well-being - and also so thrifty and resourceful — that you would make your own margarine! My mom graduated from law school when I was very small and thereafter worked at what has always seemed to me to be an almost impossibly challenging job whose cardinal virtue was that it allowed her to structure her own schedule somewhat. Now I think about how taxing I sometimes find it to maintain a decently not-gross home for myself and my cat and to cook reasonably healthy, non-retardedly expensive meals for myself and I wonder, unoriginally but legitimately, how on earth my mother did it.
Other nostalgia-inducing foods of my childhood are: yogurt topped with honey and wheat germ (we always had wheat germ in the fridge), homemade baked mac and cheese also topped with wheat germ, steamed brocolli with lemon juice and dried dill and butter, green beans with brown butter and slivered toasted almonds, pasta with toasted nuts and fresh herbs, and Moosewood tabouli.
What are your childhood nostalgia foods?