“Involuntary memory is a conception of human memory in which cues encountered in everyday life evoke recollections of the past without conscious effort.”
I always remember meals I’ve eaten on auspicious occasions in my life.
I can tell you the exact meal I had the night my son was born on January 9th, 1977. We had moved that same day, and were exhausted. My sister-in-law and her family graciously cooked for us, and welcomed us into their home: there was a wonderful chicken divan, a delicious salad, warm dinner rolls and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Eric arrived several weeks early, and I wound up going into labor that night, amidst a snowstorm on SuperBowl Sunday. I have often thought he was just anxious to see the new digs. Had I known he was going to make his appearance that night, I might not have eaten all of that meal, but thankfully, I was ignorant of his impending arrival, and I was able to savour the smells and delicate flavors without guilt. I not only enjoyed the lovely meal, but I wound up with a beautiful son as well.
When I met my then-husband’s Great Aunts from
I cherish the people who've touched me in my life and the special occasions and foods we share, and I relive those memories with fondness. I suppose that's why I make such an effort to recollect all the details of our times together. The Aunts and my husband are all gone now, but their impact on me remains strong.
“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” Not quite the meaning Eliot had for it in Prufrock, but it resonates with me in many ways.
(-T S Eliot)