Tastes of my childhood revisited

Taste. It’s one of those wonderful senses that can delightfully whisk you to a time and place, often of happy memories.

Some of my most treasured memories are based on food and drink, the latter often to do with coffee. This afternoon, I rejoiced in seeing one of my favourite flavoured milks on sale, so I immediately bought not one, but two, Choc Berry Big Ms.

It was my first Choc Berry M in years; though I have gleefully be known to mix strawberry and chocolate Big Ms to try and recreate the taste. I tried – and they weren’t bad, but they weren’t the real deal either.

Suffice to say, having the Big M was great – and it brought back many happy childhood memories. Of Friday nights and fish and chips, Big M washing down a chocolate donut. Another favourite was the Coke and Mars Bar upon my return from a week-long school hiking camp and showering off accumulated grime, plus forgetting the hideous freeze dried ‘food’ we carried. Coke featured too, some years later, as I celebrated the removal of my braces (at the ripe old age of early-thirtysometing). What is it with that fizz and pop that makes it so good? The sugar, most likely! Dims sims from the school tuck shop, burning my mouth, nestled in soy sauce. A cool ale with the lads at HoneyBar on a summer’s day. The warmth of the first coffee of the day each morning.

Sunday roasts (with the good cutlery and crockery) were a big deal in our family; and as life changed and our family changed, I devoured Christmas turkey from the Webber, and kangaroo from one of those restaurants in Canberra that was there – and later – wasn’t.

Taste too brings some exceptionally happy memories of time overseas – be it endless coffees in Wellington (Coffee Supreme and Caffe L’Affare to name my favourite two) or the seafood laksa from Satay Kingdom off Cuba Street; Turkish meals from the place directly my apartment in the city where they knew me (and my order) by sight..! In North America, I’ve been blessed to have eaten at the Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar twice; gleefully supported Canadian industry via Tim Hortons coffee and breakfasts; and partaken a culinary tour in Vancouver.

My (other) grandmother’s vegetable and barley broth; Mum’s amazing birthday cakes; my mother-in-law’s incomparable chicken and leek pie – all have brought oft-given and happily proffered thanks, with good reason.

And so, to the Choc Berry Big M, sitting there now in the fridge, a sentinel to the past, but an awaiting treat to be enjoyed. One. Drop. At. A. Time.

I salute you Choc Berry M. For now, and for reminding me of so many happy times in the past – and the future.