I had an episode of taste notstalgia recently. I ate a BBQ pork bao that reminded me of Sunday morning dim sum in Monterey Park, CA...but it's been 20 years since I lived in Los Angeles and I realized that I can no longer "taste" those dim sum bao. So I don't know if this taste memory is really accurate. It got me thinking about memory of taste...how long does it last?
I have childhood taste-memories of two particular things, my great-aunt's cornbread (we called it cornpone) and my Grandma's chocolate-chip cookies. For years I tried to replicate their flavors with no luck...I know that your tastebuds change as you grow up, but can the be the only explanation? It's been so many years since i tasted the "real" thing that now I'm wondering, if I tasted something that came close, would I recognize it? The cornbread was distinctive, I think, because my parents used to get the cornmeal from Lancaster county, PA, where my mom grew up. Sometime in the mid-90's I had some hush puppies at a restaurant in Chatsworth, CA (the Three Sisters) that tasted so familiar I had to ask them where they bought their cornmeal (it wasn't from Lancaster County!). But now I forget what it really tasted like...that makes me a little sad.