Memory Making Meals

Since we’re such food freaks over here, many of our memories are linked to eating. When FishPapa and I were dating, we often went out to eat or cooked meals together. When we honeymooned in France, some of our most fun experiences took place in restaurants. In our newlywed years we made it a habit to bring folks home from church with us for minestrone soup or enchiladas.

I guess you could say that food is a family-wide hobby. Our kids love good eats just as much if not more than we do. They have favorite meals and restaurants for birthdays and special occasions. Special requests pop up from time to time. When can we make donuts again? When do you think we could go to CPK again?

Exploring and experiencing foods together is something we enjoy as a whole family. Two weeks ago we went to El Indio, a popular Mexican food restaurant in San Diego. The FishBoys were very excited to see that the restaurant had been featured on one of their favorite Food Network shows! It was so fun to sit outside – the temps were in the low 60s – and enjoy a nice meal. And we made a memory.

Last week we tried sushi, something they’d been wanting to taste. I don’t think we have any fans, myself included, but we explored and experienced together.

Yesterday after church we found a little French bakery where we bought several baguettes. The crust shattered just as it should, and we gave a lesson on good French bread on the way home, munching hand-torn pieces along the way.

While we’re filling our bellies, we’re also making memories with our kids. Memory is linked to the senses. You know how a certain song takes you back to a specific moment in time? The same is true with food. We’re linking memories to our children’s dining experiences. And that is why we like to make meal time fun.

This week, our meals are going to range from mundane to momentous. We’ve got a few nights of beans and rice, but also a special Valentine’s Dinner. A few years ago I heard about a family who had a romantic meal every year — as a family. Mom recreated the dishes that Mom and Dad ate on their first date and modeled to their kids an elegant, romantic dinner. So this week, Chicken Parmesan will be on the menu.

We started this tradition two years ago. Though some of the boys may roll their eyes at the sappiness of it all, if they don’t know how to set the scene for a nice meal, it won’t be for lack of trying on my part. We bring out the good dishes, cloth napkins and sparkling apple cider. FishPapa and I talk about when we met and our first date. We make sharing our love — of each other and yummy food — a priority at Valentine’s.

Our meals this week:

hamburgers, rice and bean salad
bean tostadas
PB chicken
carnitas soft tacos, beans and rice
homemade pizza
chicken parmesan (going to try this recipe this year)

What memory-making meals do you have in your recipe box?

** For more meal planning inspiration, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie every Monday.
** See Kate’s great Valentine meal ideas at A Simple Walk.

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  1. JessieLeigh says:

    Love chicken parm! It’s a romantic tradition around here too- it’s what I had from our favorite restaurant the night we got engaged. 🙂

    By the way, I love all the memories you’re all making together! I want to tag along on a few… can I be an honorary “cool aunt” for a week or two? 😉

  2. Kim @ Forever Wherever says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. We’re kinda sappy around here, too!

  3. Go get your award from me!! 😉

  4. CountryMama@The Cozy Country Home says:

    Your menu looks great! And…chicken parm is one of our favorite meals (well, mine & hubb's actually).
    No Valentines memory meals here, but one particular cooking episode comes to mind. I forget what dish I was making but it needed ketchup. We had just started dating and my husband (but dating at the time) was sitting at the island while I was cooking in my apartment. Well, I took the ketchup squeeze bottle and shook it up to mix it (like I always do) and the cap flew open and ketchup flew and squirted everywhere…all over him. His hair, his beautiful white polo buttondown (which he said he bought new for the evening!) his pants…everywhere!! I was mortified! Never made that dish again, probably why I can't think of what it was, but it's been over ten years and we still can't open a ketchup bottle without remembering that night (and holding the cap closed!!) What a memory!

  5. Delphine Durieux says:

    I’ll always remember the mexican breakfast you cooked for us in Bordeaux for Vanlentine’s Day…
    Since then I’ve been cooking mexican food really often even if it’s kind of hard to find things in france…

  6. inkelywinkely says:

    I made this social network..I am new to it. It has a chat, you can make a blog, and contribute to a forum Please check it out.

  7. I olove this idea! I am definitely going to borrow it for Saturady night, candles and all. What a fun tradition! Thank you….

  8. What a sweet idea!

  9. This is not a tradition, but just a fun memory. The day I found out I was pregnant with our first child, my sweet husband In a complete state of shock managed to bring roses and chocolates home to me. We ate black beans and yellow rice and called all our family. So now when we have that meal I remember it.

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