Saudade (sf. Portuguese) : a Portuguese/Galicean word for a feeling of a nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which has been lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never really return. Once described as the 'the love that remains' or ' the love that stays'.
what's your favourite food memory?
twice cooked pork belly, with green apple foam and a deconstructed slaw (so trendy, you mix it yourself... ooooft #instagrameatyourheartout) finished with shards of caramelised crackling
that kebab you had at 3.17am
the first time you ever ate a 'tim tam slam' with the added proud moment of not accidentally dropping any of the biscuit into coffee due to respecting the fundamentals of biscuit dipping (it's definitely 7-8 seconds, at 62.5 degrees celsius).
that one time this grandma from a culture you know so little about, invites you over and cooks you a feast with her own two hands, with about five stories laced as reasoning as to why she cooks the foods she does. (swear on earth, listening to the older generation talk about food culture gives me feels that nothing/one else in this world can give!)
the perfectly imperfect pasta dish your mother used to make when you were eight, and you were sooooo hungry from school, your body was so ready for dinner and half the pantry.
Everyone has these 'nostalgic' feelings about food. And asking the people around me about their food stories is probably one of the reasons why my heart was on extreme happiness whilst my travelling days (haha, talking like they're permanently over, even though we all know I am so out the next chance I get a golden ticket!). These feelings are exactly what defeats Anton Ego in Ratatouille, where the dish recreated by Remy reduces him down to his childhood memories of his mother's ratatouille.
Isn't that crazy? How strong our memory and senses are intertwined and tucked away, only to be unleash in the presence of the next warming food moment that comes our way.
One of my fondest food memories/ favourite food/ comfort food / everything food/ I will dedicate a lifetime to perfect my own recreation of this dish is 'kottu roti' (basically translates to 'chopped up roti'). It's a street food dish from Sri Lanka which is made by stir frying roti (that's chopped with metal blade-like utensils against a hot plate.... so loud, that if you fine-tune your ears, you can probably hear the Lankan vendors chopping away from where you are right now) the addition of some vegetables, combining the mixture with curried/roasted/fried meat, egg and a type of 'curry sauce' (usually the curry that the meat has been cooked in).
I've had this at all the cultural events I've been forced to go to as a kid (not going to lie, eating kottu at these events were the highlight due to be a giant black sheep amongst the crowd), it's the dish that if anyone mentions about cooking, my heart skips a beat, and it's the dish that I can eat today, with the warming 'Ratatouille-uest' memories how how much joy it brought me when I ate it as a 5 year old (but also today as a 5 year old in a shell of a 23 year old).
Everytime there's kottu rotti around, self control is out the door. Roti, braised/seasoned meat, egg, vegetables and spices? All wrapped into one dish? How can you not love it though?!