Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Nigella's Mother's Praised Chicken + Question #1

The reality is: we need to eat to live. But the truth is food is often more than just a meal. Food has many functions and only one of them is to fulfil our basic need for sustenance to keep us alive.

Food brings people together and through our every sense, the taste, feel, smell and sight, food also has the ability to occupy the realm of metaphor... how food is able to trigger certain emotions and memories from our lives; whether it's a happy or a tragic story from many years ago, or perhaps, a memorable date just last week. Through consumption food 'transports' us back to those 'places'...

That's a snippet from my currently-in-progress dissertation for my postgraduate course in media and cultural studies. At the beginning of this year, when I started thinking about a topic for my dissertation, I know it needs to be something that'll interest me for certain period of time. Even though there are few other subjects I'm very much interested in, I think it makes sense that I chose to write about food... I think of food all day, then I dream about it all night...

Over the next few weeks, as part of my research, I'll be posting series of food related questions and I need your help... I feel like I should post one of those uncle Sam's 'I want You' poster... If only I know how to create one... Anyway, the question is nothing trivial, there's no right or wrong, I just would so much love to read your story...

Question number one is quite broad, "What is your earliest memory of food?", it can be anything from the food you fondly remember eating as a child; one of the first things you're allowed to cook; you know, the sort of food that takes you back to that memory every time you eat that food...

If you wish to share your experience, and I thank you, you can do it by leaving comments below or by e-mailing me (you can find the address on my profile page), or if you posted something similar before on your blog, please do send me the link. But, please... don't feel like you have to do this... only if you wish.

Yesterday I cooked Nigella's mother's praised chicken. "This may well be - indeed is - the smell, the taste, the dish that "says" family to me and my siblings, and brings our long-absent mother back to the kitchen and the table with us" describes Nigella. The chicken was tender and the broth was flavourful... served over basmati rice and good dollop of English mustard.

Strangely, for me, one of the dishes I very much remember eating when I was a kid is also my mom's chicken soup. My mom's soup is just chicken, broth, garlic, onion and goji berries... nothing as fancy as Nigella's but yet it's delicious and just smelling the soup simmering on the stove is at once comforting...

Anyway, the suitcase is packed and I am ready to go... Off to the airport... X

My Mother's Praised Chicken
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
For list of ingredients and instructions, click here.
If you want to watch the video, click here.


  1. I was thinking the same sort of thoughts that you are including in your dissertation recently, except that yours are much more succinct and well-thought-out.
    Your mom's soup sounds very unique, actually. And Nigella's looks very comforting.

  2. It was Muslim's Idul Adha (Lebaran). Our maids weren't home. My dad was going to Iraq for business. My mum was touring (pop-singing) in Korea and she took my lil sis.
    There was just the 8 yr old me and my little bro. Hell yeah!!! we cook lots of indomie and spag n bowl!! Hahahaha. I make perfect (PERFECT) instant noodle all the time.
    Enjoy Indo (Don't ever eat indomie there tho)!!

  3. I think yours is the first dissertation that I have ever actually wanted to read!!

    My earliest food memory has to be eating the maturest most gum tingling stilton cheese with my father. I'm very much a 'daddy's girl', and would eat anything he did just to please him. Pickles, anchovies, stinky cheeses on celery sticks, you name it, I would eat it, and all at the age of 3 or 4!! I'm a bit more of a picky eater today, especially when it comes to fishy/pickled flavours, but I am still obsessed with finding the strongest and smelliest cheeses I can...

  4. The earliest memory would be graham crackers in milk. My brother and I ate it often when little boys.

  5. The chicken looks wonderful!! Wish I had some of that to take to work for lunch today :)

    My earliest memory of food was spaghetti. I remember just picking it up with my fingers cause those slippery little strands kept sliding off my fork. And...I'd eat it that way now too if it wasn't so frond upon!! lol

  6. could be a reasoning why I still have a hankering for it, but my first memory of food is zwieback toast, I can remember gumming on those as a baby and the taste of slightly sweetbread to this day is just so comforting... ate it throughout my teens too... I would still eat it by the box if I could find where Nabisco sold it...

  7. This is the recipe for our Random Recipes post this month - will be going up soon!

    I think butterscotch instant whip and my Mum's chilli are probably some of my earliest food memories. We didn't ever have anything fancy but all my memories are wonderful - always a family who loved their food!

  8. Such a delicious and comforting chicken soup, Michael. You just barely got back from Paris, and now you're off again...what a busy guy and constantly between trips, you manage to cook, bake, and post. (super hero in the kitchen)

    My earliest memories of eating something really yummy that my mom made was her famous sponge cake with the jam filling, which was really a sponge cake roll. She made that often, with different fillings, as well. It was so light and melt in your mouth delicious, I was even reminded for years later, that was my favorite, of favorites. Unrolling the roll, and licking the jam out of it first, befor eating the cake:DDD

  9. My earliest food memory is going to Cyprus when I was 4, sitting under a beach umbrella, eating chunks of gorgeous ripe juicy watermelon!

  10. Lovely bit of writing M. Really very good I love Nigellas praised chicken. Such a classic comfort food eh? My first food memory would have to be anything to do with Sunday lunch at grandmas when the whole family got together or one of the many fab birthday cakes my mum made for me as a child. I wrote more about food and me here:

  11. Actually, I'd really rather forget most of the food I ate as a kid - it was pretty horrible for the most part. Although, I do fondly remember beautifully soggy pastry on a steak and kidney (mostly kidney - it was cheaper) pie. And I would look forward to Christmas solely because I'd get to eat Tunis Cake. This was a Madeira cake covered with a thick slab of chocolate. (The last time I saw Tunis Cake for sale it had a wafer-thin layer of chocolate - due to government austerity measures I suppose).

  12. My earliset food memory is an ironic one. I was about 3 or 4--I remember it was a summer day in Virginia and I'de spent the entire afternoon riding my Big Wheel up and down hills in our apartment complex. That made me quite thirsty. My mother had bought these large quart sized cans of pineapple juice. The juice was cool and so refreshing! I drank at least a quart. But what I didn't know then is that I'm allergic to pineapple! I got a horrible hive reaction all over my body within hours. It was horrible. But memorable.

  13. my mum's soups are the best and earliest food memory i have i think. there was a variety of them though, but most often pork bones slow-cooked over a traditional charcoal fire with ginger/red dates/some kind of chinese herb.

  14. From the age of about 5 to 8, me and Sarah (twin sister) would always have a big birthday party in our garden with all of our school friends and my mam would bake us a cake. Around the cake, there would be lots of little sugar mice that mam had made too. I'd say that those sugar mice are my earliest memory of food. Enjoy home!!!!! xxxx

  15. I wanna see more of your dissertation! My earliest food memory is passing out on the floor waiting for dinner while my mom refused to cook ravioli because she was talking on the phone. Memories!

  16. It's so lovely reading every one's early memories of food. My is of a pull apart poppy seed bread my mum always promises to make again and never does. I remember watching her shape handfuls of dough, dip them in melted butter and then poppyseeds, and them piling up in the huge circular bread tin with a whole in the middle (I wonder if it would be so huge to me now?). Then I remember pulling off steaming balls of dough and dipping them in mushroom soup.
    I wrote my phd dissertation on food, too, Michael. We should chat about it all sometime if you like? x

  17. I remember making bread with my grandmother every Saturday morning. I was about 5 years old.

    I'd knead and knead and knead until the bread was black and then an hour or so later I was eating "my bread" that tasted so good. I didn't know until I was a teenager that my grandmother always threw mine away and replaced my loaf of bread.

  18. Hi Michael, I just love the title of this recipe. To answer your question, My first memory of food is "WOK with YAN" The cooking TV show during the 80's. It was a Sunday night show where me and my Dad will sit and watch him cook and chop then eventually my Dad will copy some of his recipes then I will watch him cook. Good old days of my being a kid. Such as Nostalgia :)

  19. Your moms soup is so interesting and the soup from Nigella looks wonderful.
    I have so many food memories as a child, but the ones that stick out are meat related. My parents were always trying to get me to eat meat or chicken etc. I however was a I remember once when I was very young a bologna sandwich was standing between me and beach fun.
    I won though :)

  20. I want to say thank you to everyone for the wonderful comments. I thoroughly enjoy reading your food memories. Question #2 is coming up soon. Have a great day my friends.

  21. Coming over here from Q2!

    Strangely enough, my earliest distinct food memory was baked beans on toast :-}. Not that my mother served it at home, but we had a British neighbor back then who introduced us to it whenever we kids went over there to play. It became a favorite snack for many, many years until I went to boarding school in the UK, after which I promply got sick and tired of being served it every day! LOL.