Valentine’s Day is typically about your love of another person. Here at Melibee, we are choosing to explore our love of sweets and how these evoke memories! Melibee’s Lisa Zenno approach to the subject will leave you dashing off to the sweets shop as well as visiting the cross -cultural foodie side of you!
I love sweets, who doesn’t? I almost always have room for dessert even when I’ve stuffed myself with a delicious entree course. I’ve always had an inquisitive passion for food. Many who know me call me a foodie, and I take pride in that. I’m even prouder to admit that I don’t forget flavors. I can recall flavors even if I’ve tried it only once. I can taste something and retell stories of where and when I’ve eaten this particular food. Deja vus are indescribably confusing when they’re happening, but deja manges are rather pleasant, as I get to re-experience the same emotions and feelings when I taste the memories.
This year, instead of highlighting the omnipresent heart shaped chocolates you can find on Valentine’s Day, I’ll encourage you to explore sweets by sharing some of my favorite memories brought on by sugar.
Small bonbons coated with brown sprinkles wrapped in small paper cups. I remember I was in Cancun struggling to mingle with others at a family friend’s party. The host’s wife came up to me and offered me one. I remember quite vividly how one bite of this tiny bonbon took me 10 years back. I told her, “Wow, this reminds me of my childhood.” She smiled, and said, “I know.” This family friend is part of a family we’ve had ties with since I lived in Brazil. Turned out this bonbon called Brigadeiros was a staple item at children’s parties. I recalled having great fun, listening to Xuxa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLevJh1ZJQI) dancing with pompoms, while devouring these little bonbons. The taste was exactly the same. It’s amazing I remembered it after not eating it for 10 years! The whole night was about reminiscing our Brazilian memories: a sort of re-entry into our childhoods.
There is nothing like being invited to Maxim’s, an expensive French restaurant for a 13th birthday dinner, and having the waiters warn you that your made-to-order birthday surprise was going to take 20 minutes to come out. Talk about anxiety, excitement, and surprise. The awe moment of watching the soft middle ooze out of the cake, still steamy was incredible. Guys, if you want to impress your significant other, this is the way to go 😉 Girls, this cake is not hard to make, and it’ll make anyone’s experience a memorable one.
Ice cream has always been my best friend. A pint of ice cream was present in moments of sadness, anger, frustration, and worry. Sitting side by side with a spoon in hand, my friends and I all took turns passing around our own pints of ice cream. We talked, we cried, we shared, we sometimes even sat in silence. I’ve had numerous girl talks over ice cream. I’d say it was a needed ritual in college.
Custards and I go a long way. My first birthday cake was a homemade “panbi” – a Japanese coined term, a bread biscuit filled with egg custard in the middle. I never knew what it was called until a couple years back. To me, it was always known as the birthday cake. Puddings and/or panna cottas have always been a favorite of mine. I suppose I like contrasts in temperature when I eat my meals. I’d prefer finishing a meal with a cold rice pudding, and/or ice cream, than a warm apple pie or a triple chocolate cake. The one item I can’t help but eat while I visit Japan is Japanese pudding. The silky texture with the caramel sauce is divine. Japanese pudding is essentially custard pudding, similar to flan in Mexico. Custard pudding can either be baked or steamed. I prefer steamed, but that’s my 2 cents. There are crazy amounts of variations in flavors of the pudding. It’s mind boggling. Black sesame, pumpkin, tofu, cream cheese, green tea, earl grey, vanilla, mango, jersey milk, the list goes on and on. I can admit, I probably ate at least two types of pudding a day during my stay in Japan!
I love to eat, there’s no doubt about that, but most importantly, I love the memories I have when eating. All my memories are filled with photographic snapshots of the setting, mood, flavors, and the unique experiences I shared with family and friends across cultures.
Here’s to wishing you a sweet day everyday full of joyful moments.
Lastly, what sweets are close to your heart and why? Please do share in the comment section below!
About the Author: Risa Zenno is a TCK who goes by Lisa. She works at the Art Institute of Seattle as an enrollment processor. In her spare time, she loves volunteering time for international education. She is a mentor to young peopleand tries to help out many ‘challenges’ on www.sparked.com such as creating powerpoints and helping with translations. She considers herself a life-long learner and hopes to continue expanding her interest within international education. She is also a Melibee!