Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Meme: Childhood Memories. It's all about food.

I was tagged for this by Boo_licious of the Masak-masak fame close to a month ago and it's been sitting at the back of my mind since! Think it's about time I start my walk down memory lane before I postpone it any longer!

This is the first time I'm doing any meme so it's a historical moment in Funky Cookies! This meme's all about the top 5 childhood memories of food. It'll be a task to limit it to 5 but I'll give it my best shot!

Interesting foreign food

My siblings and I were raised by foodie parents who believed in letting their little tykes try all kinds of new food. We stayed in Johor and the Malaysian exchange rate was at the unbelivable RM1 for SG$1 so we often made trips to Singapore. And this was where our tastebuds ran riot for Singapore held an Aladdin's treasure trove of all sorts of foreign goodies we had never seen nor tasted in Malaysia! Just some of the things we used to eat:

  1. Escargots from a tin - I didn't dare touch it!
  2. Fresh peaches - probably where our love for stone fruit started. We were amazed at how a fruit can be fuzzy!
  3. Cote d'Or chocolate bars - the fridge used to have bars of it and I loved licking the melted chocolate off my fingers! Thank goodness for the high metabolism of a kid!
  4. Licorice Allsorts - this came from reading Peter & Jane books and wanting to eat the same sweets as they did! For a while, we called them "Peter & Jane" sweets!
  5. Alphabet soup - thrilling for a kid to eat! I think we spent more time arranging the letters than eating them!

Biscuits from yesteryear

One of my fondest memories is going into the darkened storeroom/larder in the house and looking to see what biscuits could be found to snack on. My Grandma kept a steady supply of biscuits available from her daily trips to the nearby sundry shop. The sundry shop had rows of shiny biscuit tins with little plastic windows in the front showing what biscuits resided in each tin. When you've made your choice, the shopkeeper would take it down and offer you one to test the freshness of the biscuit. Once you've given your nod of approval, he would reach in and fill up a bag according to your desired weight.

This was one of our favorites - Marie biscuits or "mani pia" as my Grandma used to call it! As a kid, I used to think she called it "money biscuit" because the shape resembled a coin. It was years later before I realised that it was actually a Chinese-nized version of "Marie"! The other favourite was "Icecream pia" - thin, crispy wafers with chocolate cream in between. What a treat it was whenever we found some!

Another tea-time favourite was Kjeldsen's Butter Cookies. The famous round blue tin would make an appearance and we were told to choose one only. ONE?! Being highly indecisive, I would spend ages trying to choose one cookie from the assortment of cookies while trying to bargain for two cookies! Somehow or another, I always settled for the sugar pretzel! It must have been its unique shape!

Teochew Mee

There used to be a noodle stall selling this near my childhood home. It's basically dry noodles tossed in a combination of dark sauce, light sauce, seasoning and chilli then garnished with vegetables, char siew, fish cake and your choice of wantan or fishballs. It resembles wantan mee with one unique difference - the chilli paste is actually mixed into the noodles to give it a spicy kick! And when eating mee pok (flat thin noodles a little like fettucine), it's excellent with a good dash of black vinegar to bring out the taste!

When the stall first started its business, basic noodles with wantan costed only RM0.80 and fishballs were RM1.00! Cheap huh?! It was probably due to the fact that it was in small town where things are still much cheaper than KL. Nevertheless, it was always a treat to have it for breakfast or lunch.


We used to love a certain fruit jelly called "Square Fruit Jelly". It came in packs of 4 and was fruit-flavoured jelly in a square mould. Just peel the plastic cover off, drink up the little bit of flavoured water that would have formed at the top of the jelly and dig in! Lovely stuff when it was straight from the fridge!

Sometimes, Mom would indulge us by making jelly too. She used dehydrated jelly strips (specifically Swallow brand!) and while they were boiling, she would grate gula melaka to be added for flavouring. I used to love stealing bits of the sweet gula melaka. It melts into a deliciously sweet caramel flavour in the your mouth! Then when it was ready, she would pour it into these little plastic turtle moulds to set. My siblings and I used to love having our own little "turtles" to eat!

The Bad Stuff

And finally, what's a childhood without junk food?! Our parents didn't allow us junk food often but for a treat during outstation trips, each child would get their own Mamee snack food to munch on. It was probably a distraction to keep us quiet on the trips!

We ate lots of local chips too - kerepek pisang, kerepek bawang and of course keropok! Till today, keropok ikan (fish crackers) remain one of my favourite snacks, unhealthy as it is!

We used to eat potato chips too from this green, generic packet called "Chips" (what else?!). It was sold at a really cheap price of 10 sen per packet outside our schools. It was shaped like curved diamonds with a crispy and salty taste. I'll have to see if it can still be found now!

Well, this is just a fraction of my foodie childhood days. I was, and still am, a fussy person when it comes to food, preferring to snack than to eat proper meals! So it isn't surprising that most of childhood memories involve snacks! I had heaps of fun doing this meme, thanks Boo!

And I hope to one day leave my future children with delicious childhood memories too, just like my parents have done!

Now to add myself on to the list of 5. I've put myself up after Babe as Boo tagged her too:

I'll just tag 3 new found blog friends! Hope you guys don't mind! :)

  1. Midnite Lily
  2. Teh Tarik Satu
  3. Eternity


boo_licious said...

So many brilliant childhood memories. I like the choc wafers and cote d'or chocolates especially the bouchees.

tiptup said...

yay for the sugar pretzel!

Eternity said...

thanks for tagging me, i'm done with mine! =) it was a great way to reminisce childhood days.

midnite lily said...

okay, this one is a toughie. hmmm...

fooDcrazEE said...

yeah, i remembered when RM1 = SG1. Lots of delish food around then. That was when GIORDANO was not even known in Malaysia. *chuckle* imagine me wearing a SG10 t shirt back in 70's and early 80's playing all sort of games boys played. Mum was screaming at us " U know how much dat T shirt cost" *grin*

Great blog.

benauhc said...

hmmm... looks like I'm the last one to do this assignment. ok, time to dig into my past while trying not to grow too hungry thinking about food :)

Sue said...

Boo - Thanks for tagging me! I had heaps of fun doing it!

Tiptup - :)

Eternity - enjoyed reading your meme! :) Glad you had fun doing it too!

Midnite Lily - You have such lovely childhood memories, especially that chicken adobo! :)

Foodcrazee - yeah, those were the days!

Ben - can't wait to see yours! :)