Food That Takes Us Down Memory Lane

Isn’t it funny how something can suddenly send you down memory lane, completely out of the blue?

Smells, sights and sounds can all bring them back to us for a moment, as can food.

I passed Marzipan Fruits on a shelf recently in M&S and it brought back happy memories of my Grandma — they were her absolute favourite.

A sweetie lover extraordinaire, she’d say, “Let’s just have the one . . .” followed by multiple trips to the kitchen cupboard! The ‘Friend’ team share their memories of the food that reminds them of their nearest and dearest…


“Home-made soda bread is always associated with my granny – freshly made for tea the day we arrived in Ireland to stay for the summer holidays. You’d have it with Galtee cheese, then the next slice you were allowed to spread with rhubarb and ginger jam.

“There would be Kimberley biscuits on the table, too. And Granny, her hair in a tight bun at the back of her head, with her red gingham apron over her dress, presided over a massive brown teapot, pressing more tea and more food on everyone. (The Father Ted writers didn’t make up Mrs Doyle’s “Ah, go on . . .” – my granny got there years before them!)”


“Cottage Pie will always, always remind me of my grandma. She made it so well and (as I’ve gone on to discover) in a completely unique way. She browned the mince then boiled it for a couple of hours in beef stock until reduced, added a tbs of Marmite then torn-up chunks of 2 slices of wholemeal bread until the remaining stock was absorbed.

“Gave it a really rich flavour – it must’ve been a post-war austerity thing! Then she’d plop on the potato and fork it about a bit, then oven bake till crispy. Having daydreamed about it all day, especially during rainy winter rugby games, she’d then leave me to it in front of Top of the Pops in the kitchen. Happy days.”


“When I eat stovies I always remember Saturdays at home when I was growing up. Saturday was washing day (my mum worked as a teacher through the week) and while she wrestled with the washing machine (single tub filled from the sink) and wringer, a pot of stovies would be simmering away on the cooker as it was an easy meal to serve to the three of us.

“Pudding would be Angel Delight which I was usually called upon to mix together using a hand beater. Strawberry, Butterscotch or Chocolate were the flavours in those days.”


“I had a childminder for my two girls who was in her sixties when she first started looking after them and she cared for both of them right through primary school. Her house was a home from home and she even gave them their evening meal – she was a wonderful cook.

“The one recipe she passed onto me was for pancakes, as my daughters raved about her recipe so much. Though Helen is sadly no longer with us, I always think of her fondly for the care and love she gave my children. Eating “her” pancakes can be quite an emotional experience, she was truly a wonderful person.”


“Homemade bread & butter pudding and homemade trifle remind me of Mum. Gran – thick (yummy) mince and homemade pancakes. My late friend – cheese mayo sandwiches. I had never tasted mayonnaise till I was sixteen/seventeen, and I thought her sandwiches were manna from Heaven.”


“On a cold winter’s day, Mum would serve up Heinz Tomato Soup with some milk in it, and a slice of Mother’s Pride bread thick with butter to dip in! The milk made the soup even creamier.”


“My 90-year-old mum loves nothing better than a pack of mussels in shallot or garlic sauce. She always says they remind her of walking with her daddy when she was very young from Greenock down to Inverkip. Her daddy would climb the rocks picking mussels for her, then they’d walk home and cook them.”

Read more from the team on our blog.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!