(A reprint from my original The Gourmandista blog — June 20, 2006)
It’s amazing how foods we ate when we were children can now be just the right food to comfort us after we’ve had a bad day at work or are struggling with a problem. The food acts as a memory trigger, filling our bellies, allowing our minds to escape, and healing our hearts simultaneously. After having yet another frustrating day at work, I came home too exhausted to cook anything of substance.
I came home and instantly started making crema—cornstarch, egg yolks, sugar, milk, cinnamon stick, and lemon rind—a hot pudding. With the steam coming out of my bowl and warming my soul as I ate each bite, I relived my childhood experiences of eating crema in Abuela’s kitchen as I assisted her making Sunday dinners. At that moment, I was transposed back in time to a day when my worries revolved around boys and school. I could feel her love and sense her laughter. When I finished my bowl, I felt better. Life was put back in perspective: for now.