I discovered a flavor that reminds me of my mom (which is a really good thing). Thyme! She used it in a lot of savory dishes, I never really noticed- because I grew up with it I think. When I got married and started doing the majority of cooking I never really considered using thyme. I recently made one of her dishes that called for thyme and the taste really brought me back to the dinner table on Lindig Street. So I started using it more. It is amazing that flavor can really spark a feeling and memories. It is a great feeling for me to cook with and eat thyme, it brings me closer to my mom.
In fact, scientists say that smell (which is a huge part of taste) calls up powerful memories using our "emotional brain." So, you can feel happiness by just smelling something. I think most of us have heard/read that smells can remind us of events, people and a time in our lives. But what I haven't read much about, is if we know something tastes or smells so wonderful because of the memories associated, why not "pepper" our lives with it more? It just might make us a little bit happier, or more fulfilled.
I especially think this taste/memory experience happens around the holidays, with all the food we make that has been on the menu for years. Tradition is full of these flavors.
-What flavors remind you of something good or happy?
-Can you/do you work it into your regular menu?