Sarah Stultz: Make memories in the kitchen this holiday

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2022

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Isn’t it funny how certain foods — be it the taste or the smell — can bring back memories or remind you of someone  the instant you get a whiff or a bite of them?

I’ll never forget the smell of McDonald’s after walking past one in the food court every day one summer on my way to an internship at a newspaper in downtown Salt Lake City. I can be in Albert Lea, hundreds of miles away from that McDonald’s, and go through the drive-thru of the same chain here, and in an instant after smelling the food as I’m approaching the drive-thru window in my car, I’m transported back 16 years ago to that very place. 

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This week I was given a bag of candied walnuts, and when I tasted them, they reminded me of one of my college roommates, who used to make candied almonds in our apartment. Her dad was an almond farmer, so we were lucky to get to try out this treat often.

When I think of chocolate mint brownies, it immediately reminds me of when I’d meet my sister and friends for mint brownies on campus at Brigham Young University and the fond time we had there. 

When I think of chocolate, I think of my dad, especially if it’s a Hershey’s candy bar. I’ll never forget the time as a child when my dad came home with this probably 20-inch-long Hershey’s bar that he had gotten from some people at work.  Looking back now I’m not sure of the exact size, but I know that as a child that candy bar seemed massive.

This time of year around the holidays, there are many memories associated with foods and traditions. When I think of Christmas fudge, my mind immediately turns to my mom, who makes some of the best fudge around. I don’t know anyone who can make it quite like her, so it’s always a nice surprise to get her box of goodies in the mail each Christmas. As I bite into a piece, I am always reminded of how delicious it is and of some of the memories we share. 

It’s fascinating to think how something so simple can carry with it such memories. 

Here’s to hoping you can make some fond memories with your families in the kitchen or around the table this holiday season.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.